What you talkin’ about, Kevin?
From The Age:
Speaking from the abbey pulpit, Mr Rudd said the fires had been an “assault on the soul” for Australians.
“For Australians, the world suddenly became silent and still on Black Saturday, silent and still as we confronted the overwhelming power of nature and the overwhelming terror of fire,” he said.
“We, as Australians, were left speechless in its wake.”
Silent and still? Not on that Saturday it wasn’t. Not for the people actually in the fires, with the fire roaring and screaming over the hills towards them. Not for the people of Melbourne, listening to the chatter and urgency of radio reports all day that somehow seemed to miss the intensity and horror of it all. Not when the wind changed.
Silent and still the next morning, perhaps. When we woke to hear of whole, familiar places devastated; when the death toll kept rising and rising; when you realized that everyone knew someone. That was when all meaning seemed to leach from everyday life, that was when we became speechless.
Let’s not rewrite it just for the sake of imagery and a good speech.
I think (and hope) he meant it as a figure of speech, that the day came to symbolise the sudden silence of lost friends and loved ones, the loss of the beautiful towns and the inhabitants.
Silent and still the next day, yes, with the weight of the sheer horror pushing down on us all.
That grabbed me too. Justifiable blind panic, I would have thought.
For those of us outside Melbourne I think we did become still, stuck in front of the radio or TV, listening silently in horror, weeping a little as the picture began to become clear. I know I was silent and still that evening.