Friday 11 March 2011

Japan Quake & Tsunami

While the Christchurch earthquake has been off the international news radar for many days, in New Zealand it has continued to dominate news as the shattered city struggles to recover and the country as a whole counts the cost. Tonight the news of the extensive Japanese quake and tsunami, with live coverage from NHK, has hit a raw nerve. One headline announces that it has been the seventh largest earthquake in recorded history. Destruction in Japan - and potentially in neighbouring coastal nations like the Philippines - will dwarf the tragedies that have preoccupied our attention over the last weeks. The dramatic pictures tonight only hint at the human cost which will continue long after the aftershocks have abated.

What can one say that isn't facile? Much of the "God talk" after Christchurch was little more than platitudes. The raw power of nature forces us - even in our smug, sophisticated, technological age - into stunned silence.


  1. It is so devastating in terms of human toll, not to mention the innocent animals, to be so far beyond, "We're sorry for your loss". At 7:00 AM, there are already 7,000 comments on Yahoo to just one of the articles on the earthquake / tsunami.

    Be warned, though, this will be a platinum opportunity for thos religious zealots filled with self-righteous arrogance to proclaim "the wrath of God", as if insurance companies with their clauses about "Acts of God" weren't bad enough to deny compensation to those affected by tragedy.

    No doubt, there will also be a profound worldwide impact on commerce because Japan and other areas affected produce unique goods which have no other source.

    This is a global tragedy.

  2. The raw power of nature forces us - even in our smug, sophisticated, technological age - into stunned silence.

    Precisely! We snicker up our sleeves at how ancient humans worshipped the elements as gods, after having borne personal witness to the pure force of nature.

    I've felt more spiritual in a forest, on a mountain, or at sea-side (or on a golf course) than I ever have in a church. Nature is real, it's raw, and it's right here all the time. Nature is not capricious, not "jealous", not vindictive, but also, not to be messed with.

    We've been launching weather satellites since the 1960s, and still have limited understanding of what causes major weather catastrophes, or how to predict when they will strike.

  3. Becker, I don't really get your point.

    But, we have all known that these things were coming. We cannot be surprised.