Tuesday, November 1, 2011


In 2001 I was the Executive Officer of the Victorian Basketball League and at the end of each season our Champion and Runner-up in both men and women came together with the winners of other Leagues to compete in the Australian Basketball Championships to determine who was the best team in the country.  It was September and on the Tuesday prior to the weekend of the Championships the date was one that would go down as one of the most infamous in history, September 11.   That same week Ansett Airlines here in Australia collapsed and that meant that the teams could not get to Bendigo in regional Victoria to compete.

The Championships were cancelled that year and there was a major hue and cry from many people about what a tragedy it was.  I wrote an article for the VBL website that week and said in part that there were thousands of people who would go to bed that night never seeing their mother, father, son, daughter, husband and wife again.   I told people to get a grip and understand what true tragedy was and it wasn't about the cancellation of basketball games.

In the past couple of days we've seen another airline, Qantas shut down for a few days and the ranting and raving of people stranded around the world and unable to get home.  There was a photo of a bloke in the Sunday Herald Sun who refused to give his name but who was displaying such anger and hatred in his expression that it looked as if he could have gotten hold of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce that he would have ripped his throat out.

And at the same time that the Qantas Board made the decision to ground the airline on Saturday there were a company of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan who were being slaughtered by an Afghan soldier they had  mentored.  Three brave young Australians and an Afghan interpreter were killed and seven other Australians injured.   This act had it's genesis on that same day more than ten years ago and it sickens me that I sit here now having to write the same thing that I did back then.

I don't give a stuff about an airline going bust or being grounded.  It's an inconvenience for all those people delayed.   The sun will come up tomorrow and other planes will fly.  But again we have young wives who won't see their husbands, children without fathers, Mums and Dads who will wake to nightmare again tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

Get some perspective people.  Understand what really matters.  RIP guys may you never be forgotten.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Very, very true Laurie. I've been reflecting on similar too.

I know of the man you speak and his anger who was at the airport. I couldn't believe his vitriol as I was watching. It was totally unbelievable. I also heard another woman interviewed on radio who was spewing forth about Qantas and would never fly with them again and on and on and on it went.

Yes people were inconvenienced but from what I heard from a hostess who came into the shop on Sunday (who works for an airline off-shoot of Qantas) the unions had been pulling rolling stoppages at short notice for ages. One plane here, one plane there. Those people were disadvantaged on the day 'their' plane was stopped too. But of course we didn't hear about those, as it was done on a minor scale stoppage I suppose you could say.

Of course we would all be pretty upset if 'our' plane was stopped but sometimes for the greater good sacrafices have to be made.

I also was witness to unbelievable anger when I did a market at Camberwell on Sunday. Sometimes you have to see things to really believe they go on. Stallholders being so intolerant, aggressive, angry beyond belief. All over other stall holders attempting to set up their stalls and manouevering cars etc. I truly could not believe it. I have done many markets but this last Sunday have never seen such nastiness. And why? It's crazy. Weren't we all there to do the same thing? Why not give a hand to that person who was struggling with their car instead of screaming obscenities.

I was in a different place this time (and hopefully won't have that place again!) and witnessed four separate incidents of nasty aggression between stall holders.

Human behaviour is very interesting.

Anger and expression like we saw re Qantas or I witnessed on Sunday reflects a totally selfish attitude of these people. It's disgusting. So many people certainly have a long way to go on understanding what life is really about and that we are here to help fellow man and not just take.