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Rated: E · Editorial · Drama · #1761068
The huge earthquake and subsequent destructive tsunami in Japan

The huge earthquake and subsequent destructive tsunami that swept Eastern Japan on March 11 provokes all types of speculative talk. A Japanese friend said to me, “I wish that, as in the USA, some guys; willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the many, take the heroic action to prevent Fukushima's nuclear plant from spelling their deadly fumes.” This is the bigger challenge Japan has ever faced in modern times, and yes everybody in the country behaves with dignity and orderly, but its hard to swallow that some, foreign and nationals, still believe in action figures.

Yes, many westerners show their sympathy, and the basic human impulse to help. Yet many use the disaster to promote their stubbornness. In my facebook blog, some left me messages along these lines: 'The earthquake represents a punishment from god because Japanese are non-believers (i.e. infidels, atheists, etc.)' 'It is a punishment for hunting whales.” “It is the price they must pay for their technological dreams.” But as far as I am concern, the Japanese have no evil to be punished for.

However, many moral mongers blame the Japanese for being a forward-looking society. This innovative orientation toward life is considered ‘human arrogance.’

The closed-minded folks presume that seeking control over nature via science and technology should be judge with Torquemada's fury.

For those risk-avoiders, earthquakes are reminders that humans are nothing but puppets of nature that provoke god's destructive fury. And that any disaster proves nature’s revenge against human endeavour and ambition. And they equate the Japanese earthquake to film fantasies.

I know some Japanese friends see too many of those films. Regretfully many foreigners too think that by questioning the designs of god, and be proud of better life, seek the truth, and overcome the challenges of nature, humans ignore nature's might. Others told me: “surrender yourself to the will of god, because you are irredeemably under his control.” Get a life, others!

I refuse to align myself with the 'puppets of nature' as many western societies see themselves. From this perspective, the achievements of the Japanese, particularly after World War II, count for nothing. The anti-modernism in which Japan’s catastrophe is framed has gained followers over some decades. Stop the earth that I am getting off.

Human creativity expanded the gap between people and nature. For some, the attempt to understand nature through technology is a ‘hideous’ idea as wrong as humanity. Many environmentalists too regard the attempt by humans to manipulate nature as a misguided attempt to dominate forces beyond control. From this standpoint, the tragedy afflicting Japan – with all of its technology and nuclear power – is apparently against nature's will. Delusion mongers think their arguments clincher.

On the day the earthquake occurred in Japan, many were ready to point to Japan's wrong deeds. That Japan was not respectful of climate, that it happened because they hunt whales, that Japan fell from god's grace, and other bull non-sense.

History shows that tragic events bring the best in people. We humans, from everywhere have learned valuable lessons from the catastrophes we face, and have demonstrated that far from being ‘puppets of nature’, we can overcome the worst setbacks.

Yes, disasters are terrible events that feed on feelings of hopelessness, recrimination and disorientation. And if we are too close to the destruction, we also feel overwhelmed to learn anything from the experience. But that is why it's useful to step back and consider what we can learn from disasters.

Disasters are as bad as they get, but often they are less destructive than we fear or imagine. And even with the most destructive, we have managed to find an opportunity. Time and again, our fears of natural disaster have served as a catalyst for the rise of human ingenuity.

Almost everybody knows that Japan, after the Hanshin earthquake on 1995, improved its building designs and infrastructure that potentially reduced deaths this time. Without a doubt, the Japanese catastrophe of March 11th, 2011 will help, around the world, to learn lessons on how to do things better in the future. And the better thing the international community should do is to stop the film fallacies and finger-pointing, and provide Japan with the physical and moral support so much needed now.

Finally, if you believe in god don't you dare forget the ten commandments.

Better yet, remember that the country which follows them by default is Japan.
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