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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Floods. Tsunamis. Riots. Plagues. Quakes. Blasts. Terror strikes. Icons demolished. Lives destroyed.

13 years in the tragic business of news, one imagines one has seen it all. So that the next time, one looks at the blood and the gore and the senseless violence, one shall not be numbed into disbelief.

Natural disasters one can understand. Though their recurrence in some parts of the world simply confounds the story. Indonesia being the case in point. Yes, it sits on the Ring of Fire. Yes, the tectonic plates are prone to move, but must the country and its people suffer so much?

Yesterday, another quake struck the island of Sumatra. In one deadly shake it left over 70 people dead. That story was just about unravelling itself when a plane burst into flames at 7am local time in the popular town of Yogyakarta.

As the first pictures came in, the raging ball of fire was all one could see. There were no numbers of the people on board. One look at the plumes of smoke and you knew surviving it was difficult. After an hour of waiting, it was confirmed 140 people were on board. Among others, the passengers included Australian journalists and diplomats who were on their way to Yogyakarta to cover part of their Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's visit to Indonesia. They were in the business class section - the worst part of the plane as the fire spread there first and they were the last to be evacuated.

As I pen this I dare not look at the death toll which now stands at 49. I've seen pictures of the charred bodies being pulled out of the wreckage, some of the survivors remain in critical condition. The look of pain on their faces is enough to break the hardest of hearts. The thought of the stories they planned to tell, the stories that will remain untold, the stories that should not be forgotten but will be the minute the next disaster strikes.

They don't call life a 'ring of fire' for nothing.