I really haven’t thought about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan until tonight when my friend in New York chatted about it with me on Skype. I told him I had been to the 731 in Harbin and the Nanjing Memorial Museum and really found it hard to muster a lot of sympathy.
But that is just my own controversial opinion.
And then watching the Youtube videos of the tsunami literally rolling over cities and farms and the earthquake swaying high-rise buildings like trees on a windy day was sobering and disturbing because such icons of the modern, developed world aren’t supposed to be that vulnerable.
Watching a video of minister du jour Naoto Kan and the Parliament sitting through the earthquake, I thought about what was going through the mind of this Mr. Kan–as both a leader and a man. Was he thinking about going home to check on his wife and kids? Was he thinking about the cost of repairs and how much damage this was going to do to his homeland? Was he wondering if this was it for him?
And was the PM sickened and humiliated about being subjected to an earthquake again, for it must be difficult for an island nation with no natural resource to be subjected to this relentless punishment by mother nature. Through hard work, dedication and discipline the Japanese people can make the world’s 3rd largest economy but they still must experience and endure endless earthquake and tsunami attacks.
And it’s more than unfair. It’s terrorism. And what a terrorist. The earthquake can strike anytime and almost anyplace and take everything and everyone. All people of the Pacific rim know this.
Living with that kind of terrorist threat 24/7 would be difficult for a people wanting to show their children what an honorable and successful people they are–safe, secure. Stable. You don’t want to teach your children about the terror they must live with every day. You don’t want to tell your children of the danger in their daily lives.
As I watched the determined face of PM Kan, I felt a genuine pity for him and the Japanese people, in a way that reminded me of the frailty of the human race. Living life with dignity is not always a choice. For some of us all the time and for all of us sometimes, it’s a luxury.
Our perfect world is unnatural.