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Re: [xmca] Bush fires
I followed Mark's excellent link and found this article, a riveting
report of a family that barely escaped. It gives a sense of the speed
and horror of these bushfires, and a reminder of the meaning of life.
Thanks for your superb report, Andy.
On Feb 9, 2009, at 7:11 PM, Mark Chen wrote:
I never know what to say, but I thought that others might be
photos of the tragic devastation:
On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 6:37 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com>
Just a short report on the bush fires in Victoria for people on
in inner Melbourne we are 100% safe, and because of the strong
triggered the real devastation, we don't even see smoke here. But
very emotional because the news is all around us. So far the death
173 but may go much much higher. The whole state is a smouldering
outside of the city.
Most of the dead died in their cars vainly trying to outrun the
which have been driven by strong winds, and leaping forward by
igniting tinder dry foliage and spontaneous combustion after 12
drought. Many people have left their homes, their animals and
their spouses, with hardly a shirt on their back, later having
Despite all the grief, it is remarkable the spirit that is awakened
people by a struggle against a natural enemy like this. Capitalism is
temporarily suspended as people whose neighbours have lost
everything away - supermarkets give away their stock, hotels
people for free, people give away their cars if they can spare it
course most of the firefighters are volunteers.
Once people start to get back on their feet and start to see if the
insurance companies actually have the money to pay for these
losses, I am
sure capitalism will return with a vengeance.
The commercial media try as hard as they can to turn it all into a
against fire bugs. Really, about 50% of fires have been ignited
deliberately. But people are just not interested at the moment.
Blame is not
something people are willing to contemplate ... yet.
The fire culture in Victoria is "Fight or Flight." I.e., every
to notify well in advance whether they are to be evacuated as soon
is a fire threatening their home, or, they will stay and defend
in which case they get advice but when the fire comes, the
the flames and wish the resident good luck.
But this fire has been different. It is just so big, so
so fast, that people have been caught unawares and unable to flee,
stayed to fight and found that it is impossible to save their
house, but too
late to flee.
Unlike the midwest USA where people live with tornadoes and have
underground bunkers, we have not had this culture. Some people did
bunkers and some of these survived, but some didn't too.
These practices will have to change.
Strange tensions too around the fact that police are sealing off
where people have died to count bodies and secure things etc., but
are left homeless and stranded in the meantime and this is generating
Also, as in previous fires, you see whole streets of houses (indeed
townships) leveled, and then one lone house, with perfect white-
weatherboard, an English garden, etc., etc., as if nothing had
Very trying on the emotions such things.
Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/
>+61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
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Mark Chen | PhD Candidate | Games ethnographer/researcher
Ed Tech/Learning Sciences | University of Washington - Seattle
My games research and life in academia blog: markdangerchen.net
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