Hero: Once again a natural disaster, this time on the other side of the Tasman, has brought out all measure of heroics and tales of remarkable survival, but my hero for this week is not a survivor or rescuer from the Christchurch earthquake, in fact, she’s not even a human. Last weekend a small but heart-warming story emerged of an over-the-odds survival from the Queensland floods. Danette, a stately Murray Grey heifer, was swept away when flood waters inundated the Brisbane Valley and the Lowood property on which she resides. Three days later she was found at the mouth of the Brisbane River, paddling among the debris – 95kms away from where she was lost. Volunteers managed to get her ashore and her owner was tracked via the ID tag on Danette’s ear. For some reason this story just appeals – perhaps it’s the survival instinct shared by both humans and non-humans alike. That never-give-up instinct that allows survival against some of the most unlikely odds and in some of the toughest conditions nature can throw at us. Perhaps it’s jut the chutzpah of a cow that can keep swimming for three days in roaring floodwaters. Oblivious of all this, Danette is now once again happily munching the grass in her paddock near Lowood. But what a story to tell the grand-calves.
Villain: Colonel Muammar Gadaffi. Need I say more? The vile, murderous dictator of a 40-year regime in Libya seems almost certain to be the next unelected despot of the Arab world to be deposed, but in the last couple of weeks he has deployed the military against his own people, turning protests into bloodbaths, firing indiscriminately on funerals and bombing towns in an effort to stop the uprising against him. Unlike the comparatively peaceful uprising that saw off Mubarak in Egypt, Gadaffi has ensured that Libya now teeters on the brink of civil war. He has declared that he would rather die than leave, but depending on what you’re reading at any given moment, he may be seeking asylum in Venezuela. Regardless of where he goes and how, the end of this regime cannot come soon enough.