In wake of the terrible fires wreaking havoc on Australia, we present this open letter from Australia’s own PRESS CLUB, discussing the situation.
Please note: All proceedings from the orders of the latest issue are being donated to Australia.
A cursory glance at social media even at the most placid of times will invariably expose your sweet, little peepers to the spewings forth of some toxically negative rhetoric. Usually fountaining from an unqualified, ill-informed zealot. Usually about an issue with very little real life importance nor consequence. We’re in the midst of one of the largest infernos Australia has ever seen. Here on the front lines of what is our entire planet’s climate crisis the zealots goose step into formation. The airwaves of social media become polluted with unqualified, ill-informed opinions, and a barrage of negativity is hurled to and fro. Our catastrophe seems to have a large swathe of our country’s populus at one another’s throats, garrote in hand. All this at a time when should not unity be paramount?
If you manage to sidestep the primordial soup of insolent ideas for one second, the genuine humanity of Australia becomes apparent. A unity and camaraderie that I think only truly catastrophic situation can mobilise. It’s out on the streets, it’s in the bars, it’s in the schoolyards. People truly care and are trying to do whatever they can for those who have lost everything. In the music world, artists and venues are coming out in droves to donate all the proceeds of their record and merch sales to bushfire relief, but primarily – to organise benefit concerts. At my last count, in Victoria alone, there was 47 individual gigs being put on to raise money for agencies that are starving for resources.
To name a few (although the list goes on and on):
The volunteer firefighters – The vast majority of our bushfire fighting is done by unpaid volunteers, a lot of whom have been away from their day jobs for weeks now.
Animal support agencies – It is estimated that 500 million animals have perished so far in the fires.
People who now have nowhere to live – More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed by the blazes.
I’ll shed some light on why the music community reaction has been so strong, trying my best not to become the aforementioned zealot. The adequacy of our prime-minister’s response to this catastrophe has been questioned. By most. On an emotional level he seems insincere. On a governmental level, people are still literally begging for funding and resources (pump Scott Morrison Cobargo into Youtube). At ground zero things are stretched super thin. This is probably why you have a creative community banding together to raise as much money as we can. Rather than the government… who just merged its ‘Art’s Department’ with its ’The Department of Infrastructure’. In the thick of it all it’s really fortifying to see the true mettle of our music community.
Living in the city, for the most part, comes with a detachment from the very real threat of bushfires. We get the smoke blowing over our suburbs from time to and the reports on the radio of ‘another home or life lost’. Though this time, even in the bar where I sit right now, a few hundred kilometres from the nearest fire front, I can count three evacuees, one of whom lost their home. Inextricably linked to global warming, I hope what’s happening down here reinforces that humankind needs to do more.