Saturday, December 4, 2010

Devastation

Northern Israel is still in the throes of the worst forest fire in our history. 41 people are dead, most of them prison service trainees heading in to evacuate a nearby prison who were burned to death when their bus was trapped by the fast moving fire. Over 12,000 acres of forests - 5.5 million trees - and several villages have burned and it isn't over yet. It is December already and yet the winter rains haven't yet arrived, unseasonably hot temperatures, hot dry winds, and no rain since last spring has turned the entire region into a giant tinderbox, and this is the tragic result.

The only bright spot, if you have to find one, is the way the international community has answered our desperate call for help, sending firefighting aircraft, fire retardants, and hundreds of firefighters of their own to stand hand in hand with ours to together beat this monster back.

Israelis, and I suspect most others, have always been better at banding together and supporting each other in a crisis than they are at actually getting along each day. If only we could all remember that feeling of love and trust in our fellow man and carry it forward long after the flames have been extinguished - that would be a legacy fit for those who paid the ultimate price and laid down their lives trying to save others.

Normally on the fourth night of Hannukah I would be busy photographing burning menorahs as the Hannukah lights twinkled on my table.

Somehow this year I just don't feel like it.

9 comments:

Dina said...

You said it, Robin! Let's hope this will be a turning point and prove that it is possible to work together.
And like you, I can hardly bring myself to strike a match in this mood.

Sara said...

I agree with you and pray it may be so.

Jasmine said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. Lets hope that this devastation can be controlled and no more are hurt or killed. Thinking of you :)

Yaelian said...

Well written! So sad seeing all those beautiful places going up in smoke...

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

The first I'd heard of this was this morning; it was written up in today's paper. Apparently, a lot that's been learned here in Pittsburgh is being applied to help you guys out.

On the bright side, we'll all have more motivation to plant trees in Israel, like we did when I was a kid...

To be less flip, though, may only beauty grow from the ashes.

Hasya Ya'ara said...

I am so sorry to hear this news. My prayers are with everyone.

Steffi said...

I am so sorry to heard this.I saw it at T.V.My prayers are with all.

kaye said...

how scary, I hope they get it under control soon.

Daryl said...

Fire is so horrible, those deaths .. I cannot imagine ...xo