A day of mourning

February 22, 2009

The wildfires in Victoria are far from over. Temperatures are rising again, the land is dry, the wind blows and accidents happen.

Today thousands gathered at the Rod Laver arena in Melbourne for a memorial service for the 209 people who perished in the fires. Many speakers from politics, religious figures and representatives of the communities lauded the spirit of the survivors. The devastation triggered also the best in human behaviour. The extent of co-operation, the mutual help, the support, the kindness and assistance extended to the ones who lost beloved ones, their properties and their businesses is amazing. Also the Australian government is doing a good job.

We cannot do much here in Bangkok. As consolation I would like to share a poem from Omar Kayyam, one of my favourite poets.

Ah with the grape my fading life provide,
and wash my body whence the life has died,
and in a winding-sheet of vine-leaf wrapped,
so bury me by some sweet garden side.

Source: The FitzGerald Rubaiyat, 1859, LXVII
Omar Kayyam