I'm in a strange state of restlessness and anxiety today: I'm meant to be preparing for an Australian citizenship interview and test next week, I'm also doing research for my latest writing project and thinking a lot about my time in Bosnia as a result, and I can't help drawing some heart-rending parallels between news of Australian bushfire devastation and those thousands of people who've been dispossessed by the raging bushfires. I want so much to be associated with and believe in this wonderful, astounding, breathtakingly beautiful country that is currently being ravaged and yet I'm appalled by the lack of leadership or genuine care shown by its Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
Outside smog obscures any view from our house, and although I'm far from the fires ripping through Australia like some apocalyptic front line, the scent of smoke seeps beneath the door reminding me that elsewhere the fires burn on and I'm fortunate -, but for geography, I might instead at this moment be fleeing for my life leaving all my treasured possessions behind. I'm reminded of my time serving in the British forces in Bosnia, more specifically in July 1995, when busloads of refugees from Srebrenica arrived in Tuzla. It was eye-opening and pitiful and heartbreaking - I know for a fact that the media is not able to convey even a fraction of the loss, grief and devastation these fires are causing.
Watching Scott Morrison's bungling attempts to gain media advantage - forcibly grasping the hands of people who have just experienced first hand the terrifying and destructive impact of the Australian fires, and so clearly want nothing to do with him - only adds insult to injuries. I've been horrified that this is the person leading the country. What leadership? Where was he when he was needed? What genuine care has he demonstrated? What were you thinking about at the ballot box Australia? Or was it that the insidious Murdoch-Coalition-Coal industry affiliation generated their own affective smokescreen to beguile and mislead voters? Already I've read articles that attempt to deflect blame on the Greens, but only serve to highlight the woeful lack of backbone in the political beast.
As far as 'smoke and mirrors' are concerned any magic about the political leadership has been debagged: the ubiquitous smoke from Australian fire has awoken a great many angry voices who refuse to be quietened, and the mirrors have most definitely shattered. If there were anything to laugh about, it might be funny, the clown in the suit, unable to adequately judge or respond to the situation, even when he is there on the ground (having - like a sulky teenager - reluctantly dragged his sorry backside away from his Hawaiian holiday). Amateur. Plodder. Scott from marketing. The rocks are being thrown fast and hard. Hopefully a few will hit their target and other politicians will sit up and pay attention as well. Scomo's political integrity is ashes.
Australia needs and deserves fresh hope. I'm hopeful of gaining my Australian citizenship and enjoying all the rights, freedoms, liberties and privileges that that encompasses. Apart from anything else, I want to be able to add my vote and voice to other people's to demand the next government has a real leader with 2020 vision, rather than this fumbling muppet-puppet of the coal industry.