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Daily Archives: February 16, 2009

Four Corners: Two Days in Hell

This is on right now. It is a must see. In time there will be full transcripts up, and more. Do not miss it.

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Update 18 February

The transcript is now up.

…QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: In Kinglake, built on an escarpment, the fire was unstoppable.
RUSSELL REES, CHIEF OFFICER, COUNTRY FIRE AUTHORITY: The fire’s gone up the slope into Kinglake, which is on a bit of a plateau, and it would’ve spat bits of fire everywhere. You know a splattering on a, on an enormous landscape scale, you know, like just enormous. And we knew that whatever resources we had, whatever they were, no matter what they were they could not have stopped such a fire.
QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: At least 39 people died in the Kinglake inferno. But there were miraculous escapes. When Ken Williamson and his second lieutenant pulled up at this house, they found a family fighting to save their home.
KEN WILLIAMSON, CAPTAIN, WHITTLESEA CFA: We noticed two men here with a hose, a garden hose, just a garden hose battling against all odds to try and save this house. And I said to Tim, we’ve got to pull up and get these people out.  Tim run down there, just then the wind changed and it was really roaring, and the next thing I know Tim’s running up the driveway here with two little girls in dresses under his arms, out of breath, put them in the car, the next thing I see, Mum and Grandma and a couple of puppy dogs, we got them in the car, everyone’s sitting on everyone’s knees, flat out down to Whittlesea, drop them off, flat out back up the hill to continue our work, unbelievable.  We expected to find these two gentlemen, you know, probably deceased, but remarkably we come back and they were still squirting water, unbelievable.
QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: Again and again, neighbours risked their lives to save neighbours…

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, best viewing 2009, current affairs, humanity, TV

 

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If there’s a catastrophe anywhere the Jihadists have done it…

So clever! Why, you’d wonder if we could ever win against such a cunning and resourceful opponent.

I mention this because it is surprising how much internet space is being devoted to this pet theory, aided and abetted by some who should know better. The whole thing is best put in perspective by Anorak, a satirical site, which is actually telling the unvarnished truth about what some have been saying. See Australia Fire: Warmists, Jihadists, Terrorists, Arsonist, Religionists And Opportunists.

No matter, of course, that the police disagree.

…"None at all, absolutely nothing, zero," Superintendent Ross McNeill told AFP.

"We usually rank possibilities on a scale of 0 to 10 – this would be on a negative scale," he said.

McNeill said he was aware of last year’s report, which said US intelligence channels had identified a website calling on Muslims in Australia, the US, Europe and Russia to "start forest fires"…

What would the police know? After all, bloggers are much better informed…

So far no-one seems to want to credit the Jihadists with the Queensland floods.

flood

I mention this because I have been engaging in dialogue (if that is the right word) with another blogger whose post popped up in the WordPress.com list. See my comment here.

Update

Hat tip to Bruce for this.

Irfan Yusuf posted COMEDY: Herald-Sun writer exposes marsupial jihad… on his main blog (not the one I have in my Google Reader) yesterday. He quotes, and I quote in turn, some apposite responses.

This is an unnecessary and dangerously incendiary article. How stupid and pointless to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment at a time when emotions are running high and there’s so much good will and community support to be celebrated.
Posted by: Deborah Bartlett Pitt
9:53am today

Don’t fall for this people. The general Muslim community want nothing to do with these lunatics. As arsonists walk amongst our community, idiots walk amongst theirs.
Posted by: CFA Volunteer
12:05am today

It is very likely, no doubt, that certain “jihadist” web sites may have “rejoiced” in the tragedy. That of course is sick, but on the other hand is rather analogous – very analogous – to the “it’s God’s judgement” school of thought some Christians have been foolish and tasteless enough to embrace. The “jihadist” rejoicing, however, in no way proves cause – which would in fact be post hoc reasoning.

As for Sheikh Haron, I suspect this nasty piece of work is heavily into self-aggrandisement. I’ve downloaded and read his “claim of responsibility” addressed to Kevin Rudd. If, that is, we believe he is real. Austrolabe makes a good case for his being a fake. Some in the comments question his mental health. Austrolabe is a Muslim site.

Enough said! That last comment cited by  Irfan, and his whole post, pretty much nails it – not to mention the assessment of the police.

Not unrelated, see Legal Eagle in a top post reminding us of the obvious: we have a legal system in this country, not lynch law. See Publication with prejudice.

…Our legal system works on the basis that this guy is innocent until proven guilty. That’s a fundamental retributive principle: we can’t punish someone unless we know beyond reasonable doubt that he deserves to be punished. We have to have a trial presenting all the relevant evidence before we judge him. We can’t just say, “He was a kooky scrap metal guy who was always lighting fires in the backyard, so he must have done it.”

By assuming this guy’s guilt without knowing all the evidence, the vigilante groups may have exactly the opposite effect from what they want. They may cause his trial to be derailed, as the defence barristers will be able to argue that he has been unfairly prejudiced before the trial even began. Do they really want to make it very difficult to prosecute this guy? Seems to me that they need to calm down and think logically and carefully about it. The same goes for the media: they need to be responsible in the way they report information about the accused.

Update:

I do think that vigilante group perpetrators should be charged with contempt of court if possible. Their behaviour is highly irresponsible, and an example needs to be made.

If ever we forget such principles we’re sunk!

Related: Four Corners: Two Days in Hell (my next post). For all posts on this topic on this blog see bushfires.

Update 18 February

I have decided to link directly to the post and thread which triggered this post. It has been at least reasonably civil, but I have reservations about our national tragedy being hijacked, in a way, to feed a particular interpretation of world events, especially given the evidence for that is so thin. Speculation is OK, I guess, and people will believe what they will. But in this case it really is a distraction. I doubt very much it will figure in the police investigations, our own national security assessments, or the Royal Commission.

You can read the post and thread and make up your own minds. The blogger concerned comes from North Carolina; he also participates in an interesting thing I hadn’t seen before called Where I Stand.  I even agree with some of the opinions expressed there, but would like this one to be wrong: The Left and Right will not find a way to live with each other in a civilized manner. What do you think?

There is to be a National Day of Mourning on Sunday 22 February.

Some of you will like this sermon by Dave Groenenboom; it’s a matter of your perspective, I guess, but I offer it as a contribution. I won’t analyse it or critique it; I do admire its spirit.

 

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Last night I was 15 again…

On Compass last night was a documentary that really took me back: Billy Graham Down Under. Radio National also covered it.

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1959 Billy Graham Crusade gathering at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Source — Australian heritage photographic library.

I wasn’t there, but did go to the Sydney meetings with Sutherland Presbyterian Fellowship – even if the minister expressed a few doubts about the phenomenon, though he broadly supported it. I also went independently with some school friends, including one Jew, being 15 at the time.

From Compass, where the transcript has now appeared:

Narration
143 thousand people had crammed into the MCG and another 4,000 stood outside listening to hastily rigged up speakers. They had come from all over the state and they wanted to be part of the action.
Judith Smart – Historian
I was eight at the time. I was a member of the Malvern Baptist Sunday School. The Baptists were very evangelical and they decided that they should take all the Sunday School to the Billy Graham crusade.  We weren’t close enough to actually see Billy Graham but his speech was quite astonishing.

No, I didn’t go forward when the call came. I had already done that at a Fellowship Camp at Otford a month or two earlier. Oh, and in Sydney I was close enough to see the man quite close, comparatively speaking, in at least one of the meetings.

It was all rather amazing. Sydney had never seen such crowds, particularly for a religious gathering. On the last day the overflow filled the stadium next door as well as the SCG itself.

One of my teachers did mutter something about Nuremberg rallies, I recall. We thought that quite out of place at the time.

My trip back to 1959 did produce a Ninglun’s Specials entry: Memorabilia 15: 1959 — or thereabouts where you will find some quite wonderful super-8 footage of Sydney in that period. Not mine; a YouTube member posted it.

Much water has gone under the Harbour Bridge since then!