I am disaster-ed out

First it was the September earthquake in Christchurch. Okay, big drama, but no one killed. That was an easy one. Then there were the floods and hurricanes in Australia, big in Queensland and also in New South Wales. Knew a few people there, but not many dead, although I marvelled at the damage, and wondered how people would ever get their lives back to normal, and occasionally wondered how the country could afford the recovery bill.

Then it was 22 February and another earthquake in Christchurch. This time a lot of people are dead, and there’s lots more damage. A very democratic disaster; everyone had a story to tell. Hard for the media to muck this up. Just apply the number one rule of disaster coverage. If it moves film it; if it talks interview it. They did, and we got wall to wall coverage. I swear I now know whenever anyone uses a chemical toilet in the eastern suburbs.

Okay, we are just coming to terms with that, and whammo, it’s Japan. What does it take to move a big disaster off the front page? You’ve got it: an even bigger disaster. And there’s no doubt about this one. Thousands of people dead. Massive damage; lots of human hardship and suffering, and the prospect of a nuclear meltdown to provide added drama.

But how do you top that?  Well start a war of course. No doubt Gaddaffi is a bad chap, although he recently became a friend of the west after many years of virulent opposition, much vitriolic rhetoric and harbouring and funding terrorist groups of various kinds. Now he’s our favourite bad boy again. No real explanation of what he has done, but he’s on the black list.

Even as our sympathies are being engaged on behalf of the struggling freedom fighters opposing his regime, we get a UN supported no fly zone. That sounded fine. Allied planes would tackle any Libyan aircraft which tried to attack the rebels. But no. That’s not what happened at all. Three nano seconds after the resolution is passed in the Security Council, allied warplanes are taking out everything in sight.  The no fly zone turns out to be a covert policy for overthrowing Gaddaffi, and perhaps it’s really all about the massive Libyan oil reserves.

Who knows!  I’ve got disaster fatigue. I have given financially and emotionally. I’ve supported those who have been affected. I have watched the coverage conscientiously, and been a good citizen. I have cried, emphasised, laughed and been moved, worn red and black, and stood quietly when asked.

But enough. My emotions need a rest for a while. I’m tuned out, out of contact, headphones off.

 And all of this without even mentioning Pike River, the appalling weather, the dreadful Hurricanes, the abject Black Caps, my cat who had lost his collar again, the imminent end of daylight savings, and the prospect of another winter. Stop the world; I need a three day disaster free weekend.