Wow! I have been so terribly busy with work during the last two weeks, I haven't been able to write a single post here. But, when I saw this story a few minutes ago, I nearly blew a gasket! Sometimes Americans can look so stupid!!
Some background: Australia is home to nearly a million feral camels that roam across much of central Australia unchecked. In fact, V. and I saw quite a few on our train and bus trips across the Northern Territory and South Australia in 2003. Camels are NOT native to Australia. Like many other introduced species, they came over with 19th century settlers who thought they would be ideally suited for Australia's environment. They were right! In fact, their population is doubling nearly every 10 years.
As stated in an excellent piece in The Australian a few weeks ago (and quoted in the article at Punch), camels
maraud Aboriginal communities, trample fence lines, attack standpipes, destroy water tanks. They roam unchecked across the plateaus of the Western Desert, fanning out from creeks and riverbeds, creating a wasteland inside the wilderness, eradicating native plants, leaving nothing for the remnant wildlife. They are hardy and perfectly adapted to their new environment.
So, the Australian Federal Government is going to spend $18 million on a program to control the camel population, at the same time recognising that it is practically impossible to completely eradicate them from the continent.
This is all seems quite reasonable...except to a few 'journalists' back in the USA. On a recent segment on his CNBC show, Jim Cramer (the buffoon whom Jon Stewart so masterfully handled earlier this year) and Erin Burnett went on a lengthy rant about this supposed 'genocide' of camels. In the process, they called Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a 'serial killer,' and claimed (incorrectly) that Rudd is launching air strikes against the camels (to which Cramer chuckled something like, "does Australia even have an air force?").
To put it mildly, Australians are outraged by this story, particularly because it comes from a couple of American 'journalists' ranting about something that they clearly don't understand. I have to say that I join them in this outrage. I do wish more of my fellow countrymen would get it together and begin to gain a better understanding of other nations and cultures.