Cross post for Global Voices: Victorian Bushfires stir compassion and conflict
The grim toll of the Victorian bushfires now has 201 confirmed deaths, including a volunteer firefighter, and 1834 homes destroyed. There have been moving, controversial, bizarre and even innovative responses in the blogosphere to the tragedy.
Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, reflected popular reaction to news that some of the fires were deliberately lit by talking of “mass murder”. Following the charging of one man with arson causing death, Facebook groups emerged that published his address and other details that had been suppressed by court order. These have apparently now been removed by Facebook. One group has this message:
Brendan Sokaluk, you will pay. you will be found out. and you will suffer. and when that day comes, Australia will have another Public Holiday to celebrate.These pages have stimulated an intense debate about issues such as the right to a fair trial. Some even fear that the lynch mob mentality and surrounding publicity may hinder the chances of a conviction. A warning: much of the comment on these sites is very disturbing for a whole range of reasons.
BRENDAN SOKALUK, THE VICTORIAN BUSHFIRES ARSONIST WILL BURN IN HELL.