Amongst the scores dead in New Zealand and the anxious wait for hundreds of families with people still missing there has been one reported Australian fatality.
Not by any means denigrating the suffering and loss of this person to their loved ones, but seriously The Age should one Australian fatality really be the headline of the disaster that has affected thousands? I think we are all condition by these types of headline – Hundreds dead in some overcrowded ferry crash in Asia, 2 Caucasian Tourists dead – oh no! Or even more common, no Australian fatalities *phew*.
Somehow The Age’s headline is a particularly gross use of Othering, and some of the comments I have seen on online news sites are just plain off: “we should hold back on giving them money until we fix QLD” said one reader. Australia is the 10th wealthiest nation in the world in GDP per capita (2009, IMF figures). According to the United Nations Human Development Index, Australia has the 2nd highest quality of life in the world, after Norway. When people cry poor in Australia – it really shits me off. Yes we are a remote island but don’t go thinking that we are somehow disconnected from the rest of the world.
If anything the common bond of disasters and ‘getting on with it’ should bring us closer to our Kiwi mates. If you are a generous person and wish to extend your compassion across the Tasman Sea, donate to New Zealand Red Cross and follow their tweets @NZRedCross.