Rudd’s demand for ‘urgent briefings’ downright rude
It’s time that Mr. Rudd learned some manners.
Imagine, for a moment, that your house has caught fire. Imagine that some of your family members are still inside the house.
You are doing everything within your power to get them out, and to safety. At the same time, you know that some of your family members have already died.
You also know that many of the things – like photos – which connect you to those lost family members are going up in smoke.
You are exhausted. You can’t really remember back beyond the fire. It is impossible to think about the future. When you have a second or two to spare, you want to sit down and cry.
But you can’t. You have to brave the fire and get back in the house and try to save whatever – whomever – you can.
Now, imagine that at this very moment your next-door neighbour arrives and demands that you provide urgent briefings on the ashes and sparks that just happen to be flying from your house onto his roof. He is worried about his own house catching fire, and he wants to know what you are doing to prevent this.
What do you do? Do you grab the nearest thing at hand, and take a swing at your neighbor? Do you call your neighbour a long list of names, none of which are repeatable here? Or, do you simply turn your back on your neighbor, and get back to into your burning house to try and salvage what you can?
Right now, Japan’s house is ablaze. Through no fault of their own, many Japanese – many of the family members, if we are to continue the analogy – are dead. Many Japanese towns and everything in them – rooms in Japan’s house, as it were – have simply ceased to exist.
The Japanese government and the stoic Japanese people are doing everything they can to save those stuck beneath the rubble and among the wreckage.
The aftershocks – and there are many – are nerve-wracking. Everyone is exhausted. Life before the earthquake is but the dimmest of memories.
Nobody is thinking ahead. People want to sit down and cry. But they can’t. They have to get on with the job of saving people, and of saving whatever else is salvageable.
And, just to make things that much more difficult, the Japanese government must do something with a couple of nuclear reactors that – in the worst-case scenario – could raise the death toll by an almost unimaginable factor.
Now, into this nightmarish scenario steps Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. He demands “urgent” briefings from Japan on the unfolding nuclear crisis.
Japan has made clear that it will keep the International Atomic Energy Agency fully apprised of the nuclear issue. Japan will, I guess, treat Rudd with a dignified silence.
That is more than he deserves. It is, by implication, more than Australia deserves.
This sorry episode reflects poorly on Australia. I, for one, extend my heartfelt and sincerest sympathies to Japan – a very great nation with which Australia should want to be on the best of terms.
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