By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Griffith Review 35: Surviving
Edited by Julianne Schultz (Text Publishing, $27.95, softcover, 261 pages)
There appears to be a new political urgency in Australia, together with the rest of the world, about managing natural and man-made disasters.
In thought-provoking correlations, Julianne Schultz says that an apparent increase in the frequency and severity of these “random acts of nature” has changed the” implicit contract between elected officials and the public”.
This trend is nothing new. It’s “not a modern phenomenon; regimes have often collapsed as a result of catastrophic acts of nature, but the pace is now quicker, the urgency greater and the level of expectation higher”.
In hindsight, historical records and official reports provide insight to the true state of affairs.
Julianne adds weight to her points of view with specific examples including the Queensland premier’s “compassion and resolute evocation of the intrepid spirit of Queenslanders” after the 2010-11 floods.
Handling a disaster response is never easy. However, behind the formal investigations, economic collapse, memorials of natural catastrophes and personal traumas are accounts of optimism and rejuvenation of the many who are rebuilding their lives and communities.
Some of Australia’s best authors and journalists unravel the complexity and impact of such disasters including Matthew Condon, who recreates the timeline and lessons from the 2010-11 Queensland floods; Sally Neighbour explores the conflicting narratives behind the Christmas Island tragedy; and Sophie Cunningham uncovers the human cost of Cyclone Tracy.
Their inspired writing takes you on an extraordinary journey in which the authors capture remarkable battles and haphazard brushes with fate—and live to tell the tale.
Surviving is a personal quest. This compilation also provides an opportunity to learn how to be better prepared to adjust, subsist and even flourish after adversity wanes.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.