The other day while we were watching news reports from Japan, my husband wondered aloud when the Blame Game would start. That’s what usually happens after a disaster of that magnitude… well actually after a disaster of any magnitude. We have a day or two or three of collective horror and sadness, and then we have to find someone or some entity to be the focus of our anger. We need to vent that emotion, strike out.
Surprisingly, the Blame Game has not started, but the media is busy noting all the ways this disaster is having bad effects for all of us. News sources are leading with stories about the nuclear melt-down and how that will affect people in far reaches of the world. Then there are all the stories about how the disaster impacted the stock market, and oil prices, and commodities trading.
What happened to the stories about the people of Japan? The families that lost loved ones. The people standing in line for hours to get into a supermarket that may have nothing but empty shelves. The heroic rescues of people trapped in rubble for days. The people who voluntarily stopped using non-essential electrical appliances.
And perhaps the most profound new item, at least to me, was about the fact that there has been no rioting or looting by the Japanese people. Perhaps it is because of the strong sense of community that comes from their Buddhist tradition, but whatever influences such restraint and respect for others is most commendable.
I’m not saying that those other stories are not important. They certainly are. I’m just saying that I wish we could really hold up these positive stories as an example of “grace under fire.”
If you would like to help the people of Japan in some way, here is a Web site that has a list of organizations that are providing relief and looking for donations. There is even one man, an American writer, Jason Kelly who is collecting socks. That may sound a bit silly, but he believes that “All human being are comforted by a clean, fresh pair of socks.”
3 thoughts on “Responding to Japan Disaster”
I agree with you. The cooperation of people who’ve lost everything and everyone, the sharing and the lack of rioting and looting has amazed me. (Which is probably a sad commentary on our own society.)
Most of the survivors have lost everything and everyone. I can’t imagine the horror of that. And to deal with what may be a nuclear disaster as well is mind-boggling.
Helen, when I first heard about the fact that there was no violence or looting on the news the other day, I had to stop for a moment and just let that sink in. And you are right about the sad commentary. In fact, I think I said that Westerners could learn a lesson from the Japanese people. Of course, my television screen was totally non-responsive.
Carol, I agree that this is mind-boggling. I can’t even focus on it for long periods of time or I lose my ability to put it out of mind and get some work done. Much like my emotional reaction after 9/11 and other horrendous tragedies.