Friday Wrap - 8 December
Bushfires have been raging around Victoria in what had been predicted as a vicious early start to the bushfire season. ABC New Online reports that fires are threatening a number of communities in the state's north-east, while firefighting crews spent another night preparing the Gippsland region for "the anticipated fire crisis." The news has talked about a possible firestorm, with the hot, dry weather forecast for this weekend, and towns coming under ember attack. If you live in the areas threatened by bushfire, I wish you well and safety.
While Victoria burns, Melbourne bloggers will fiddle (but hopefully not with themselves) and drink and maybe dine and all that. There will be a grog blog tonight from 6 pm at the Standard Hotel in Fitzroy for Melbourne bloggers and friends. (Sorry for the late notice.) The event will not feature live blogging. Barista organised this paper bag, so he has more details.
Tomorrow, Saturday 9 December, there will be nation-wide rallies calling for the release of David Hicks from Guantanamo Bay prison and for his return to Australia. He has been imprisoned in hell for five years! While charges have been laid, he has not had a trial – fair or otherwise. Justice delayed is justice denied. Details for rallies across the country are available from GetUp.
The Melbourne rally will be at Federation Square at 2 pm on Saturday. The speakers at Melbourne's rally will include Major Michael Mori, Hicks's US Military appointed defence attorney and probably his most outspoken and articulate advocate. The rally is organised by Civil Rights Defence - in co-operation with 3CR Community Radio, Amnesty International and Liberty Victoria.
After raising donations from supporters, GetUp commissioned a billboard calling for Hick's return to go up in Sydney. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that its intention was to be in PM Howard's face each morning. It's hoped this will be one of many billboards.
Sunday, 10 December is Human Rights Day. It may end up like other Human Rights Days in previous years where we forget about it until we're accosted by an Amnesty International supporter selling badges, candles or signing us up for donations. Alternatively, we can use this day to mark a hugely significant milestone in the development of not only our fundamental covenant on human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also our very concept of what our rights are and thus what it means to be human. It would also be a good time to take stock of how far things have reversed in places like Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom since Eleanor Roosevelt helped to hammer out agreement in the UN over the Declaration after World War Two.
Oh, and there's 17 more sleeps till Christmas.
[Image: fire-crews ensuring a fire in the Adelaide Hills in mid-November didn't flare-up again, by stephentrepreneur]