“A writer lives, at least, in a state of astonishment. Beneath any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. To transmit that feeling, he writes.” William Sansom
My blog is mostly about pleasant things, such as books and writing and happy events. But to be a writer is not to bury oneself in writing, but to be a part of the world and to write about it.
Unless you happen to be living in a cave somewhere (in which case, I doubt you’ll even have the internet capacity to read this blog), or unless you are a bug scuttling about in the jungles somewhere, you would have read or watched or heard about the recent tragedy that has befallen a nation.
On Friday, March, 11, 2011, a devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan to its core.
It was the 5th largest earthquake ever recorded to hit the world. It was so big, in fact, that it shifted the entire planet’s axis by 6.5 inches and shortened Earth’s day by 1.8 microseconds.
A nation of advanced science and technology, and a country so used to earthquakes, Japan has built earthquake proof buildings that ride along with earth’s vibrations and disperse its energy. But even they were unprepared for the disasters that followed. The quake unleashed a ferocious tsunami. 23-foot high waves slammed into the coast of Sendai, and more than 50 aftershocks many of them a magnitude 6 followed.
Satellite pictures taken before and after the tsunami reveal the extent of the damage. Fires broke out in several areas, buildings collapsed and cars were tossed around like paper boats.
Now 50 men, who refuse to flee from danger, are racing against time to stop a Nuclear plant from unleashing an even greater disaster.
While these numbers are all interesting to note, the most important numbers are still rising by the hour.
The number of those who died or are unaccounted for has exceeded 15,000—more than 5,400 deaths and nearly 9,600 missing, while some 380,000 are still staying in about 2,000 shelters in eight prefectures, the National Police Agency said, based on its noon tally. Around 2,000 recovered bodies were identified Thursday in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, of which 870 were returned to their families, according to the NPA.
According to studies, the earth will be unrecognizable by 2050 due to overpopulation, and some people say this is mother nature’s way of culling the population. Other people say this is the sign of coming apocalyptic times. Still others say this is all part of the Grand Design, the Circle of Life.
Whatever this is, this is most definitely a tragedy. It is a disaster that should give us a greater perspective on the fragility of life, and the importance of making every moment count.
On July 16, 1990, a 7.8 magnitude quake struck the central part of the Philippines. I lived through that quake, and though I understood just how scary it was, I was too young to understand just how many lives were affected by it. Now that I’m older, I realize the magnitude of these things. I have friends and loved ones who hail from Japan, and they have relatives who are undoubtedly affected by this recent tragedy in some way. This recent event has reminded me just how grateful I should be for every second I am alive. And more than anything, it has given me precious perspective.
While I fret about writing a smashing query letter, and worry about rejections from agents, and wonder about whether I shall get published or not–
380,000 people have lost the homes they have worked hard to build. Unemployment is the least of their problems as they struggle to find food and water to survive, and strive to keep their composure in the face of dead family and missing friends.
I am awed by the strength and courage of the Japanese people. The amazing thing is that the stories that come out of this terrifying calamity, are stories of loyalty, of bravery and of composure.
We haven’t heard stories of looting or stealing, or killing or violence despite the hardships they face. Instead, we hear stories of compassion and kindness, of impeccable politeness, and the indestructible calm of the Japanese spirit.
Perspective is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. We must realize that it is not enough that we watch fascinating and terrifying videos of the earthquake or the tsunami. It is not enough for us to sit and watch tragic events unfold. While it is good to gain perspective and be grateful that we have the good fortune of being alive and well, it is not enough.
Thousands remain homeless and in need of food, clothing and warmth.
They huddle in the dark in refugee camps and houses, gathering around a single candle, waiting for news of survival or rescue, and taking comfort in each other.
We must reach out and help.
We must find a way to aid them in our own little way. Whether it’s going to restaurants that donate a part of their profits to the relief efforts in Japan, or clicking on the links below and giving a dollar or five, every little thing counts.
*The Huffington Post also lists other legitimate venues for sending your donations.
We cannot bring back the dead, but we can help the living.
“You must write every single day of your life…You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads….may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” Ray Bradbury
It is my hope that this blog post, no matter how simple, can at least tug at one person’s heart. If I can convince at least one soul to donate a little bit of her time and money to the Japanese relief efforts, then I’ll know that my love for writing can indeed remake a world. More than that, I will have done my share in reaching out to a nation in need.
If you know of any other legitimate organizations accepting donations, please feel free to share links in the comments section below.
* If you want to read news updates and watch videos about the disaster, here are a few links:
5,306 total views, 2 views today