When I came home on Friday night and found my husband (husband 2 for ease of reference) watching footage of the tsunami in Japan, I was horrified by the sheer devastation. I had been out drinking decadent (and delicious) hot chocolate with my husband (husband 1), my girlfriend and a dear friend after work and gym, and generally having a fantastic evening.
I stood behind my husband (number 2) and watched the tsunami, listened to the news reports, and watched in dumb horror the destruction occurring to my brothers and sisters to the north (and in winter when everything is going to be so very very cold).
As it happens, my husband (number 1) and I had organised to travel to his brother’s 50th on Saturday, and so that morning piled into the car to drive to Albury for the party. We stayed at a gorgeous B&B, went to the party (and my FIL didn’t upset me even once – a new record!), travelled home via a friend’s place (where we had tea, scones and deep and meaningful conversations) and eventually got home Sunday night (thank the FSM for Labour Day in Victoria).
On return I turned on my PC and started talking to my sister, while catching up with the news and finding out how much worse the devastation of Japan was. She shared two links with me, the first a collection of quotes from arsehats suggesting that aid should not be sent to Japan because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbour – or that the earthquake was return karma for bombing Pearl Harbour. Now for everyone who doesn’t have a grasp of World War 2 history (because clearly that isn’t important to some people), the Japanese did not start WW2, and the US retaliated for the bombing of Pearl Harbour with the ATOMIC bombing of two CIVILIAN cities (not military targets) – an actual war crime. So if Japan was to be paid back in any kind of karma for Pearl Harbour, that nuclear bombing certainly was it and then some.
The whole karma payback for Pearl Harbour thing is also incredibly US-centric. It certainly doesn’t address anything other grievance that other nations may have with Japan, and given some of the atrocities that occurred during WW2, there are certainly the potential for a lot of that.
The second site my sister shared with me was Karma Japan, a site that started collecting racist and bigoted commentary from Twitter mostly regarding the earthquake in Japan. Many people apparently suggested that Japan deserved an earthquake because they killed dolphins and whales. Clearly every other nation that kills dolphins and whales doesn’t deserve earthquakes and tsunamis. Karma Japan has also published positive commentary from those who are condemning bigotry and racism, and provides counter argument to the hate and ignorance.
My favourite article of all on the earthquake and tsunami that has hit Japan (yes I am serious) is this from The Age, “World Rushes Aid to Japan“. I am happily stunned by the generosity of past enemies and poor nations (well provinces) towards Japan in her hour of need. In summary:
- China’s Red Cross pledged one million yuan ($A150,000) to its Japanese counterpart
- The Afghan province of Kandahar announced $A50,000 in aid
I feel that I am unable to even grasp the magnitude of this event (and the aftershocks and the possible nuclear meltdown). It’s going to take Japan a long time to recover and rebuild, just as it will take Christchurch a long time to recover and rebuild. I wish there was more I could do other than donate money to the Red Cross.