03/16/2011 § Leave a comment

to acknowledge march 11, 2011 as the day of 9.0 earthquake, tsunami and now nuclear reactor failure in japan.  the 5th largest earthquake in world records since 1900s.  im grateful my family and friends in japan are OK, but the situation as a whole remains touch and go.

if the thing wasnt so current, i would make the point to compare japans ability to deal w the crisis as compared to developing countries like haiti.  the situation in japan is heartbreaking and catastrophic, but it underscores that death and disparities from natural disasters are as much economic in nature as they are environmental.  japan will probably have 10,000-20,000 killed in these events.  i could only imagine the death toll if japan wasn’t the 3rd largest economy in the world and didnt have such a highly developed physical and crisis response infrastructure.  on the flip, it also demonstrates the dangers inherent to nuclear power in wealthy countries and should stoke our rejection of obamas insistence on promoting nuclear options in the US.

all that being said, the situation has sapped some of my energy.  talking to family members, they are experiencing rolling blackouts (up to 6 hours a day), bottled water, staple foods, batteries and gas are all gone.   some people are going to work normally while others are fleeing the country.  to make the comparison without trivializing the reality, it reminds me of an iraqi man who was interviewed during the war and described the surreal nature of living in a war zone.. once the immediate crisis is averted, you need to reengage in your everyday activities: go to work, take kids to school, cook dinner, get some exercise.  yet, throughout the day, you are reminded by the aftershocks, the barren grocery shelves, the train stoppages and the collective news fixation etc that the existential narrative of your people was ruptured and will be forever changed.

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