If you asked resident Australians a month ago if they believed we were undergoing climate change it would be no surprise to hear some say no. Not the majority you understand: just a few, stubborn, souls who still, in the face of the evidence of melting ice sheets, softening permafrost, rising sea levels . . . deny what is rapidly becoming fact.
If you asked those same citizens today, as Cyclone Yasi roars into the Queensland Coast where the flooding rivers are still wreaking havoc, you would not be confronted the stubborn in denial. Any that deny the existence of climate change in the face of the devastation that is Queensland’s, is not stubborn; such a person is deranged, and therefore in need of care.
Heard just last weekend, on a popular political TV show, was the denial of evolution as a phenomenon because he, the deneier, a panelist on the show, could not be of the same origins as monkeys because god had put him on this planet. When challenged, by another panelist, to explain how germs become resistant to antibiotics if evolution were not present, he replied that germs adapt to resist the effects of the drug. His answer raised such a furor as to block out any sensible analysis of the use of adapt, and evolve, or if his, the one true, god cared for germs.
No amount of logical argument, or presenting of contrary facts, will ever shift such a person’s view because it’s just too inconvenient to change. Christenings, weddings, funerals, and Sunday service would all have to be re-examined if he were to entertain doubts of his god. A daunting task for him, and his family, so perhaps he is neither stubborn, or deranged; perhaps he is just lazy.
Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak has, without doubt, been stubborn. The word stems from stub, as in the remains of something longer, and implies hard to remove. To quote the Oxford English Dictionary in regard to persons or animals: Pertinacious or dogged in refusing obedience or compliance; unyielding, inflexible, obstinate: chiefly in bad sense, unreasonably obstinate. In early use, apparently, sometimes with stronger notion – untameable, implacable, ruthless, fierce. Certainly Mubarak has demonstrated all those traits over the last thirty years.
Faced with the undeniable evidence of two million demonstrators that his rule is at an end, he would have to be deranged to try to continue in office: Yet he does. He makes promises of change to a people who have changed. He is talking now to a young population. He is talking to a less tolerant, no longer imbued with the their forefather’s fears, population. Like Mugable in Zimbabwe, and Gbagbo in Cote d’lvoire, it is long past time for this old man to retire to a place of care where he can adjust to reality.
The citizens of Australia have no choice but to adapt to the situation in which they find themselves. Many will cling to their belief in an all seeing god who moves in mysterious ways. Others will endorse the scientist’s view of the climate. All will adapt to their new situation and in so doing evolve into a nation stronger, and wiser, for the experience.