Bushfires still ravage the State of Victoria in Australia. More than 170 people have died in what is our worst natural disaster or so called because it is believed the fire was deliberately lit. Our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called this ‘mass murder’ and I believe he is right.
Good will come out of this. It always does.
In the meantime please join me and thousands of others in spairing a moment or two for the many families affected and all those working desparately to bring the fire to an end, and if you can donate blood or money to the Red Cross
I've had a private conversation with Ian about this, and he invited me to post this publicly, as it might encourage further discussion ...
I disagree with the comment about mass murder. It's not mass murder; it's arson. There's a big difference between arson and murder. In fact, so far it's only alleged arson, and should be treated that way until we learn otherwise.
Rudd is an opportunistic politician who'll grab a quotable sound bite, so I'm not surprised at this sort of comment from him. I didn't see him say this, but it has been widely reported. Assuming he did say it, it's grossly irresponsible. It may have echoed the sentiments of the nation, but that doesn't make it right. As a leader, he has a responsibility to be fair, not to pander to popular opinion. It's the easy road to take, but hardly the sign of a strong leader. Especially when he had the opportunity to do the opposite - that is, to urge people to act with calm and reason.
It's totally inappropriate - and even dangerous - to inflame (pun not intended) opinions with incorrect labels. Already, bloggers and Facebook users are trying to incite hatred and violence against the alleged arsonist. Hardly surprising when the Prime Minister himself sensationalises the issue in this way.
Even leaving aside whether this is the right thing to do in a society that supposedly upholds the principle of innocent until proven guilty, it's more likely to harm any prosecution case.
I agree with the rest of Ian's post. I'm sure good will come out of it, and yes, let's spare thoughts and money for the many families affected by this horrible tragedy.
Let's hope it also eventually leads to better, stronger and wiser leadership.
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