To be fair, I love the concept that life is equal, but in fact, it isn’t in the world that we are living in. Looking back to other natural disasters, when I read news about earthquake hit Turkey or Iran with death toll in tens of thousand just few years back. In spite of images from TV, the impact to us was not that great. Coz, those places in rubbles were not too much different from before the earthquake hit. It is not true for sure, but the television image wasn’t helping much. Even for the big one that hit Sichuan few years back, kept aside the ethic feelings towards the victims, the damage of collapse building left us feeling sad, but anger was resulted upon reading the news that some teachers would escape while leaving behind the kids in classrooms, and the substandard building standards that kill so many innocents while the government buildings still stood with minimal damage. The South Asia tsunami that kills 200,000+ was also horrific. However, the television image was mainly focusing on beach resorts and islands. The visual impact was more a matter of aftermath and we could more or less rely on victims’ recount and imagine why horrible it was.
This time is different. First of all, it happens to a first world country with advance technology. The visual images are available almost real time with minimal delay. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube just made all the difference. Secondly, the scale is greater. Earthquake is huge in historic measure, and the power of tsunami….man….just make us speechless. When we see the black wave swam with cars, trucks, boats, ships and hit houses, highways, trains, and airport! The debris put things in scale, cuz we know how big those items and they just look so small from the sky. That made the damage of tsunami that much grand and terrible. In addition, the image of burning power plants, the spread of fire to engulf towns near by, swept by the burning debris, and the worst case scenario about the destruction of nuclear plants. God, that has made the whole saga much more devastating unprecedented.
Natural disasters happen everyday. The major reason that they got reported is when human beings are involved. Either they are perished or they survive in spite of odds. Survival stories are still emerging, I’m sure that will shed tears and joy. That was normal. What make this Japan disaster special are that there are so many different aspects that would not just affect Japanese but people all over the world for years to come.
On the economic side, besides the short term shocks to the stock market, what costs that would affect the economy rebuild? Would that drive commodity and raw material demands? How would insurance companies be affected? On social front, would they try to rebuild those towns? If so, how so? On the technology side? Would Japanese invent some fancy but ultra-efficient clean up machineries? How would the nuclear power meltdown affect the health, the economy rebuild, Japanese’s foods export, and future energy development? Also, would Naoto Kan be able to surge in its premiership as other world leaders in face of crisis? Also, how other countries learn from these disasters? Tons of studies can be done in those areas and more just come to think of it.
The most remarkable thing so far in this disaster is not new to me. I’m talking about Japanese people’s civility and graceful behavior. I knew that from the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Tens of thousands people died, but Japanese were so calm in such environment that put most people of other first world countries to shame. Unlike Japanese, other countries would deploy their natural guards to patrol the streets after this kind of disasters. The goal is to maintain order and safety of survivors as well as for those incoming rescue teams. Not in Japan, they are not needed. Rather than looting and fighting for supplies, Japanese help out their fellow men and women. Businesses and even gangsters would help the victims voluntarily, and people would naturally lie up for supplies. Nobody complains nothing! That happened in Kobe and now as well. Such wonderful civic behavior has been successfully implanted in the Japanese DNA. Such remarkable exhibition dwarfs people of most first world countries don’t need to even mention those arrogant and idiotic neighbors.
May the victims rest in peace, strength to the survivors and God blesses these wonderful people. I wish the nuclear radiation issue would be swept away without any long term harm. I’m confident that the Japanese people would rise again as before and congratulation again for being the Jewel of human for the rest of the world to learn and worship, in spite of such horrific happenings to their country.