Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two sides of the Japanese - in the face of disaster

The Japanese people have been universally admired for their behaviour in response to the earthquake and tsunami.  They have been calm and composed; they did not panic.  They try their best to handle the situation and to help each other.  They line up to buy things and to wait for help.  They were particularly courteous to foreigners.  People from many countries admit that they may not be able to behave in such a positive manner should such a disaster strikes their own country. 

The actions of the workers and firefighters trying to contain the nuclear power plant disaster are particularly acclaimed.  They are obviously risking their lives, to prevent greater harm to others.  Some have already died.  Many of them have surely been exposed to tremendous amounts of radiation.  Many will be sick, and will die.  Some of them may have been ordered to stay.  But many seem to have volunteered.  From the point of view of a so-called “greater good”, it can be said to be better for a few to suffer to save many others.  But how can one human being order another to be sacrificed?  Even if that person volunteers, it is very hard for another to accept that offer.  Yet the scenario is playing out right in front of our eyes.  Although the details are sketchy.

It is in difficult situations when the quality of one’s character is evident. Come to think of it, that is exactly what Jesus Christ did.  He offered his life for all of us.  All this is possible because life goes on beyond this world.  Otherwise it will all be futile. 

I also notice that there is no mention of any high level officials, either from the Tokyo Electric Power Company or from the Japanese government, on the front line at the nuclear power plant.  It seems that the people taking the greatest risks are relative lower level staff.  That seems to be an indicator of the situation over there.  There are two sides of the Japanese.  The people on the street, who suffer the most, have been behaving admirably.  But the people in power, who are making the decisions, do not inspire a lot of confidence.  The information released are sketchy.  Help is arriving slowly, if at all.  The leaders do not seem to be very knowledgeable about the situation, and seem unsure what to do.  Suffering people can endure a lot when there is hope.  But for how long can they maintain their composure when they realize that it is a false hope?


No comments: