NEWS

Australia is Burning, Indonesia is Drowning, But Only One Matters

Awards season is underway, and as always these glitzy affairs serve as the perfect venue for glamorous A-listers to strut up on stage and maximize the minutes for the enlightenment of less fortunate viewers.

The Golden Globes raised awareness about women’s rights, climate change and the raging fires in Australia.

It’s true that the fiery inferno in the form of bushfires has tragically engulfed massive portions of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, due to the historic high temps and blustery conditions, which makes for a lethal combination, resulting in the astronomical loss of acres of land, and the endangered status of people and animals.

So far the death count has risen to 25, and the burning landscape won’t be thwarted anytime soon, since forecasters predict more severe weather on the horizon.

Australia is a beloved haven for homegrown celebs and American tourists, and so naturally, social media platforms are hosting retweeted and reposted images and testimonies that are utterly heartbreaking.

This undoubtedly summons empathy for displaced and badly burned victims, including the precious and lucky koala bears, who’ve been miraculously rescued from the grazed sites where many of them have perished.

Actor Russell Crowe who nabbed a Golden Globe for his performance depicting the deplorable Roger Ailes in The Loudest Voice was absent from the festivities. But he implored presenters Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to read his moving statement about how his home country is being scorched by the consequences of climate change.

During the entire telecast celebrating Hollywood’s finest, there was no mention about the deadly floods and landslides that are still ravaging the vulnerable region of Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia.

Outside of the dutiful mentions by news outlets that don’t seem to elicit notable attention, it’s challenging to remember that there’s another part of the world that desperately needs assistance in the wake of flash floods and mudslides that have killed 66 people.

A spokesman from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency confirmed that more locals are missing, and the threatening climate will remain for awhile with more rainstorms on the way.

The last time Jakarta experienced the wrath of floods due to extreme weather was back in 2007 when within the span of 10 days, 80 people died.

The flash floods and mudslides have destroyed more than 2,000 homes located in several villagers, and have shutdown modes of communication due to power outages.

There’s also the real and present danger of infectious diseases rapidly spreading because of polluted waters, but thankfully deployed health workers who are tending to the sick and injured, are also using disinfectant sprays to prevent the worst from occurring.

It’s both ironic and typical that the environmental hazards crippling southeast Australia have taken precedence over the Jakarta floods that don’t seem to inspire the humane concern from the community of high-profile “woke” individuals, who can definitely afford to raise the alarm for both emergencies.

Indonesia boasts lucrative tourism from adventurous foreigners who prefer to escape to Bali, Lombok, and the surrounding islands that provide a similar level of tranquility.

But Jakarta is a little too gritty and lacks the attractive elements of a nicely tucked away, luxurious getaway, that rouses the desires of elitist travelers, who aren’t interested in close proximity to the authentic view of the daily grind.

Perhaps thats why the graphic images of mud-soaked territories intersecting with torrents of high waters, that have left at least 400,000 locals homeless, including mothers and the babies they carry around in search of refuge, end up going unnoticed, in favor of mostly White territories, that never fail to garner the immediate embrace from prestigious sources.

Remember the massive mobilization that was impressively conducted when the Notre-Dame de Paris was in flames to the horror of the western world in April 2019?

Financial pledges were made by ultra-rich institutions that have more than enough resources to spare for the sake of a world-renowned monument in the most romanticized city in the world.

You won’t ever see that level of urgency geared towards the healing and restoration of former colonies, that are inhabited by Black and Brown humans, who are just as deserving.

Case in point the devastation of Hurricane Maria that completely leveled the island of Puerto Rico in 2017, and the appallingly poor response by FEMA, that was mandated by President Trump who threw paper towels at the locals and berated their officials for begging for help, despite outstanding debts.

We can expect that same amount of traitorousness from the U.S. government amid the latest disastrous event to befall Puerto Rico in the wake of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that has collapsed the historic “stone arch known as Punta Ventana”.

Our worth as people of color is measured by the invaluable resources that are systemically poached by westerners, who are only invested in preserving their supremacy at our expense.

This isn’t an attempt to scornfully call out the legions of celebs, who are begging for our concern and willingness to acknowledge the horrific state of affairs that the Australia fires have amassed.

We just have to be wary of downplaying the active scenes of mass hysteria in Jakarta, as flooding and landslides wreak havoc on the survivability of those who can’t escape the worst case scenario.

Puerto Rico never recovered from the mammoth hurricane that did irrevocable harm, and the major blow that has just been levied, will only add more woes to a dying territory that has been grossly neglected.

Climate change is is the global epidemic that has to be taken seriously based on the erratic weather patterns that are killing off populations and rendering victims immobile, destitute and bereaved.

The fires in Australia was also caused by the criminality of reckless humans, and authorities have started arresting those who are guilty of those crimes.

But when we shine the light on the areas of the world that are positioned for that privilege, let’s also spare some of that goodness to the places that are righteously discarded based on their expendability.

If we can’t tolerate the pictures of weary White mothers gripping their children against the backdrop of floating debris, why is it comfortable to scroll past when skin color is much darker?

 

This article was originally published by Ezinne Ukoha, Medium.com

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