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Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan, the Tsunami, Suffering and the Need to Stop Hating

I'm finishing off my TrafficTalk shift for this Friday, and I have spent a great deal of time when not handling calls, looking at the devastation in Japan.  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12709850

Take a good look at this footage.  Watch how that wall of water just sweeps inland; you can tell how fast it's going by comparing it to those vehicles on the roads.


In the lower left at the 2:35 mark, someone is turning a white vehicle around in an effort to escape.  You can see for sure, but I don't think they made it.


People were alive in that video, then seconds later, who knows?


Now people who know me know that a number of my books are set in Japan.  I've never been there, but I have an interest and fascination with that country, its people, its culture, and so forth.  I must go there to do research and live in that country, to make sure I'm getting my details right.


That seems not to be a priority now; I have this wish to want to go there and help, if not report on what I would view.  Unlikely that my skills would be useful as of now.  Emergency personnel are what's needed, and fortunately the nations of the civilized world are stepping up.


Speaking of which:  I was looking about on the varied news sites, the BBC, Asahi Times and Japan Times Online.  I also looked on Yahoo!, at the risk of knowing that the Internet Trolls would be out in force to post hateful, ignorant garbage as "commentary."


Well, much to my surprise--the comments are gone from Yahoo! News.  Apparently they again realized (not for the first time) that the comments section of any story has been hijacked by perverts, political nuts, religious fanatics, spammers and other morons who do not wish to debate, but to end debate.


The hate is real, and very sad.  It's hard for us to not get caught up in it.  Hate is based in fear, I think we can all agree; that said, we engage in hatred, without realizing it quite often.


On Facebook for example, I've grown tired of reading posts from people who I do consider my friends, making some pretty rank comments about politics, religion, the entertainment world, anything really...and also about other people.  It's the kinds of things you'd never say to another's face...but you hide behind your keyboards and say whatever you like.


I have friends on there who love to jump right into an argument, firing off missives, that tend to be rhetoric.  Some just love a good fight, and love to keep it going.  They get off on it.


Well, it's all hatred of one sort or another.  Perhaps we don't wish to hate others, or wish bad things on others, but a lot of us do.  I find it disconcerting.


The disaster makes me re-examine my own values.  I'm outspoken, I admit it; it's gotten me in trouble before, and it's cost me at least one or two jobs in my lifetime.  I admit to saying stupid things, things I wished I hadn't; I also said and did things I've agonized over, and hoped to learn why, and hope to never repeat them again.


Looking at the suffering in Japan, and elsewhere, let's think about the next time we want to open up on somebody, no matter the reason.  I don't know if this makes sense, but I'm saddened by what I see going on a half a world away, and wish I could do more than donate $$ to an aid fund.


We should respect our differences, everyone of us, and see each other as people, and human beings.  Let's try to be cool for once, and see what we can do to help out, without bitching about our comfy little lives, and blaming others for the problems we think we have.


Much of Northeastern Japan has an awful lot more going on than all but a few of us could say we could handle right now.  I hope that made sense; it's very hard to follow what they're doing right now to find those in need and help them.


In this country, we can do better than we have, as human beings.  Let us begin now.

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