Two days into 2020 and the country is in the grips of wildfires that are unprecedented despite all those who continually say that Australia has always had fire. We have been transfixed as images start to come out of what the communities and our fire fighters are grappling with. We have seen images of children on the water the escape the flames and fire fighters trying to escape the radiant heat coming into the truck by putting up the fire blanket against the window as they are driving directly through flames.
We have heard of gut wrenching loss of life by fire fighters and people protecting their homes. Have heard of the enormous loss of wildlife and the growing number of homes lost. These fires are enormous in their size, destructive capacity and power. They are creating their own weather systems and they are so hot they are reducing vehicles to melted metal.
This is not the norm and this is not cyclical or seasonal, as the coal-touting sycophants would have us believe. This is a direct consequence of colonisation and the ignorance that came with it – the force that invaded, dispossessed and destroyed all while feeling the moral and intellectual superiority that we have come to know is a hallmark of whiteness.
This system was built on colonial privilege, it has been reinforced by whiteness and it protects its own. Until the entire system is dismantled, including the corporatocracy that is labelled as democracy, we will continue to be fed lies that benefit the few at the expense of the rest of us. They would have us believe that this country was settled and this land has been developed – that this is progress – but the truth is far from convenient for the invaders.
They tore up grasslands with their hooved animals and changed the soil beneath it, they tore down trees and planted their crops that needed more water than the arid country could provide without disrupting the balance, they removed the green and replaced with grey buildings, skies and outlook. In the name of ‘progress’ this country and the countless ecosystems surviving within it have been systematically destroyed.
They say that they brought science and technology and given we didn’t invent the wheel (which they did not either for the record) and yet – they use it merely to remove natural resources and decimate. They ignore the real science when it is used to demonstrate that they are wrong and their destruction will soon be irreversible. They ignore science when it comes to their capitalist agenda that is then cycled through wealthy religious organisations that are supposed to be about faith and belief but appear to be little more than a tax haven given what little is done in communities in comparison to the millions that they do not have to pay in tax.
They are the other that set the agenda and tell us how we are to feel about it. They are the powerful and the greedy. They are the toxic that want to maintain their power over us through their systems of governance and frequent use of financial control over us.
They are the men in suits sitting in positions of power, making decisions for our future based on personal greed with no credentials to be making those decisions beyond some poor marketing experience.
The only people qualified to manage country, make decisions that protect ecosystems and put community interests above corporate interests are First Nations. The system of governance brought across by colonialists seeking to reinforce their ideology of whiteness and its capitalist agenda has failed and here we are – we know the answers and still the masses continue to vote for the failures.
This destruction cannot be dressed up as something we go through to prove our resilience – this country is losing all resilience – we have irreversibly destroyed entire ecosystems because of greed that is enabled and encouraged by a government that forgets its place and purpose.
Despite countless forums, media programs, scientific reports compiled over decades of independent qualitative and quantitative data to underpin the findings – we are told that these wildfires are about how we respond ‘as a community’ and they are ‘about resilience.’
Nope. Just nope. They are not about resilience – they are a devastating realisation of all the warnings that were ignored. They are the consequence of failing to heed to warnings from First Nations all around this country, failure to indigenise land management and implement it with control of the First Nations that can read country. The conditions that our fire fighters are dealing with are worsened by the funding cuts to the National Parks and Fire Services and the disrespectful refusal to attend summits with fire chiefs to discuss the issue in time to take preventative action or at the very least have resources in place to respond to these fires. Instead – our government is reactionary and so transparent in their cowardly attempts to once again fail at marketing by trying to dress this up as an example of resilience.
This is not resilience – this is devastation that was entirely preventable but for your ignorance and greed and now that there are many angry Australians seeing you for what you are – the message from us to you and your ilk is that we are coming for you.
While he holidays and attends the cricket – people and communities suffer, ecosystems burn past the point of regeneration and we are left wondering how we are in the position of having such an inept government at the State and Federal level.
As Tex Perkins said, ‘The Honeymoon is over’ and we have a charred country to heal once it stops burning, so get the hell out of the way and hand the reigns to the people who care more about community and country than coal.