Monday, March 14, 2011

Minami Sanriku, Pulverized and Silent

The first western reporter to arrive at the scene writes, in an article well worth reading, "In my 30 years as a war correspondent I have covered more than 20 conflicts and several major earthquakes, but I have never seen anything on this scale," and adds..."There is no crying, no hysteria, no anger.  It is in the psyche of the Japanese people to do what they have to do in silence and with dignity...As we look on, rescuers gently retrieve another body, cradled in a filthy blanket - all they had to hand.  The love, respect and ceremony with which these people wrap their dead - people they knew - is perhaps more touching than any tears."

I wonder if Americans will behave with similar decorum in the aftermath of disaster following days deprived of water, food, and electricity.

Update:  I have to include this trenchant comment by Mike Roddy from the discussion at Climate Progress, because it expounds brilliantly on the perils of our current energy policy:

"Mike Roddy says:
Nuclear industry propaganda has been effective even among Climate Progress commenters. Actually, nuclear power is a total joke: dangerous on multiple levels, finite, financially unfeasible, and designed to maintain control of power generation by banks, utility companies, and multinational engineering firms.

This is without even considering disposal issues- which are not solvable- and the problem of production of weapons compatible plutonium that will last for thousands of years. the only question is whether terrorists or governments will grab and possibly use those awful weapons.

Now, we’re hearing that Chernobyl was the Russians’ fault, that Three Mile Island was no big deal, and that Japan is going to be just fine, and that the alarmists need to shut up. It’s not just that they are worse than the fossil fuel companies: they are the same, because they serve each others’ purposes. Nuclear is doomed to fail, enabling people like the Kochs to pump gas, oil, and coal into our air for many more decades if we let them.

Obama could rise to the occasion here, and announce to the country and the world that the time has come for truly clean and renewable power. The people would support this effort. Between the Executive branch and the public, our pitiful excuse of a Congress could be shamed and defeated on the most important issue in human history.

Instead, the President is still saying “all of the above”, including nuclear, gas and “clean coal”. It might just have be up to the people after all.

The US has an historic opportunity to lead here. We are the ones who detonated the bombs in Japan, a country whose suffering is heartbreaking and undeserved. The Japanese are ready to go forward, and so is Germany, Scandinavia, and the rest of the world. If we don’t take this opportunity to do the right thing, any remaining claims to global leadership or even influence will disappear forever."


  1. If we don’t take this opportunity to do the right thing, any remaining claims to global leadership or even influence will disappear forever.

    Who's the "we" here? It's certainly not you and me. We don't have a say. Sure, we can mouth off, but nobody's listening, because if they were, you and I would be in deep doo doo. Obviously, we're not a threat. So far as the power structure is concerned, we don't even exist.

    Now, if the "we" is the United States, or the myth that is the United States, that's another thing, but that myth was shattered for me at least a decade prior, maybe more. The U.S. was never as the myth claimed it was, certainly not now, if ever. The only influence we now have is militarily. It's the stick from here on out. The carrot was always an illusion, but at least the illusion was proffered. No more fake carrots. Only real bombs and bullets from here on out.

  2. Check this video out. Terrifying.!5781566/this-is-the-scariest-first+person-video-of-the-japan-tsunami-yet

  3. The only influence we now have is militarily.

    As you can see, this Mike made the same mistake, and used "we" instead of the "United States." I'm not immune to unwitting identification with something that doesn't represent me in the least.

  4. "Obviously, we're not a threat. So far as the power structure is concerned, we don't even exist."

    So true, Morocco Bama. If we were perceived as a threat, they would have taken us out by now.

    In the context of Mike Roddy's comment I'd say he meant the US by "we".

    That movie is vertiginous, it made me feel physically ill. How much warning did people have before the tsunami hit? It amazes me how people took the time to film its onslaught - I think I would have been screaming and running. Amazing.


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