Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Dignity in Disaster

Day after day more and more horrific images are coming out of Japan. First we saw film of the earthquake, the largest ever to hit that country and one of the largest to hit this planet in recent history, all filmed by residents of one of the most camera equipped and technologically aware nations on Earth as they escaped from what, at that point, seemed to be the worst of nightmares.

Then came the film of the real nightmare. Who amongst us did not watch footage of the black swirling mass of the tsunami without a frozen sense of total horror? It moved like something monstrous and alive, full of boats, people's homes, their cars, their lives and with more, we did not want to imagine what more there was, but we knew.

Filmed from above we could see cars, like scuttling ants trying in vain to escape that relentless mass of black debris but failing, and vanishing as we watched. A tiny figure, seemingly walking, why not running? Was he or she oblivious to what approached? Could they not hear it? it must have roared, and then the figure was gone, lost within that black monster devouring him together with his world.

If merely watching it was hell, what was it like to be amongst it, amongst the destruction and death, to lose everything and everyone in an instant of nature's fury?

What happened in Japan was of truly biblical proportions, one of the mightiest and wealthiest nations devastated in moments by a force greater than mankind commands. Now, on top of it all they face a potential nuclear disaster.

Who can not feel for the Japanese after what has happened to them.

I am aware some readers, those who remember the war, or who's parents fought and suffered in the Far East may feel differently, but for most of us the Japanese, certainly the modern Japanese, have not harmed us. They do not hate us like so many others elsewhere in Asia or in Africa who needed our help after the 2004 Tsunami, or the Pakistanis who still exported their terror to us whilst we rushed to send them Aid during the floods which ravaged their country.

The Japanese may visit our country, but they do not seek to take it over, and very few kill our sons or rape our daughters on our streets.

The Japanese are different, and no more so than in the dignified manner in which they are dealing with this disaster, in particular there have been no reports of looting as happened in so many other countries after similar disasters.

Remember what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or in Haiti after last year's earthquake, rape, murder, looting and all sorts of mayhem followed those disasters. Although on a far smaller scale, and much as it pains me to say so, even Britain is no longer immune to bad behaviour in disaster situations, given the number of cars which were broken into after the flooding in the west country a few years back, but then Britain is no longer the country it once was. Even in Christchurch New Zealand there was one incidence of looting, albeit it seems the perpetrator had numerous mental disabilities (and he didn't exactly run away with TV sets and designer trainers).

However, in Japan there have, so far been no such reports. An article at The American thinker written by Thomas Lifson suggests that this may be due to the still homogeneous nature of Japanese society, something which have long ago lost. Whatever the reason, their behaviour has been very different to what we have seen elsewhere.

This blog offers our deepest sympathy to Japan in this their darkest hour in over half a century. As a nation, they are a dignified people who paid their debt for what went before over sixty five years ago, and have done nothing in the ensuing decades to deserve what has now happened to them.


Dr.D said...

Japan will recover from this remarkably quickly. Their cultural homogeneity will be a great asset in that recovery because they will all be largely on the same page as to their objectives in rebuilding.

A similar catastrophe in a Western nation would leave us very seriously divided about what/how to rebuild, and as a result it would be a much slower process. Witness the non-rebuilding of the World Trade Center Towers in NYC.

It seems to me that this is the worst disaster we have seen in modern times, bar none. Japan is handling it remarkably well, a tribute to their skill and preparedness. Few nations could do as well. The loss of life will be very high, and the economic loss will be very large. But within a few years, there will be no visible damage, I expect. We will continue to pray for the Japanese.

CRL said...

Haiti is also quite homogeneous. The problem there is *who* makes up that homogeneity.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

I have to agree I found the argument challenging. However, it was an interesting article and the contrast with Haiti is very marked

(For a start, the Japanese haven't made hugely inflated claims about the death toll.)

Anonymous said...

The average IQ of Japan is said to be about 107.

There is immense explanatory power in this, if it is true, in understanding their national and individual reactions to this catastrophe.


Ade said...

I used to do martial arts, the Japanese people are a truly civil people, sadly,I feel events are being downplayed in this disaster and the Japanese will suffer for years to come.