The reality bites
I’m delighted to see The Border Mail giving such prominence to the issue of climate change and the global efforts to reduce the carbon emissions that are responsible for it.
The IPCC report released this week shows that the vast majority of nations now recognise the dangers of not acting immediately to cut back on the burning of fossil fuels. That the emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, and particularly from coal, is the prime cause of the global warming and climate changes we are already experiencing is no longer in dispute, even by our own government.
But faced with this reality, and the IPCC’s “demand” that coal-burning must cease entirely by 2050, the Coalition government is simply repeating the same nonsense about Australia’s emissions as before, while being allowed to get away with it by the Opposition and the media.
This includes the scandalous suggestion from Environment Minister Melissa Price that new coal-fired power plants could be built, as well as scare-mongering over jobs and the price of electricity.
In the COALition’s future world we would look back longingly to the time when those were our worst worries.
I hope that The Border Mail will continue to lead on this issue, and start holding our leaders to account over the real threats to our health and livelihoods.
David Macilwain, (WATCH member), Sandy Creek
We pause to remember
Seventy-five years ago, the Thai–Burma railway was completed on 16 October 1943, costing the lives of more than 2800 Australian Prisoners of War, including some 700 at Hellfire Pass.
During World War II, the Japanese sought to maintain their armies in Burma and began construction of a 420-kilometre railway between western Thailand and Burma through harsh jungles and mountains. Construction of the Thai–Burma railway began in October 1942 and by the time the line was finished, around 270,000 Asian labourers and some 60,000 Allied POWs, including Australian, British, Dutch, and American troops had worked on its construction.
The most notorious site along the railway is Hellfire Pass, where prisoners were required to drill, blast and dig their way through solid limestone and quartz rock. Shifts lasted up to 18 hours during the most intense period, a regimen that continued for some six weeks.
The Pass was named both for the brutal working conditions and the eerie light thrown by bamboo fires as skeletal figures laboured by night, reminiscent to some of Dante’s Inferno.
Private James ‘Snow’ Peat found strength in these difficult conditions by thinking of home, and those waiting for him: “I had a wife and little girl. And the will to live. I said ‘I’m not dying in this bloody place, and that’s all there is to it’.”
This attitude, and the resilience and determination shown by Australian POWs during the Second World War epitomises the Anzac spirit forged more than two decades earlier during the First World War.
We remember the some 75,000 Asian labourers who died alongside the Allied prisoners while working on the railway and we honour the service and sacrifice of the some 12,500 Allied POWs who died, including more than 2800 Australians. Lest we forget.