Two Disasters

Within a week of each other, two disasters had hit two places on a grand scale, in Burma where over a hundred thousand died or are missing in the wake of cyclone Nargis, in China where tens of thousands perished in Monday’s earthquake.

We decry Burma’s junta regime for its verrry slow response to the tragedy, for its self-serving but clumsy attempts at whitewashing its image, showing its military distributing aids to cyclone victims, its generals visiting the victims in two or three or places, one even patting a child who cries, broadcasting these video images to disprove the accusations of its being a bumbling, fumbling, incompetent regime, for its idiotic insistence of holding referendums in spite of this great misfortune that happened to the country, referendums meant to legalize its hold to power, for giving much air time to dishing out criticisms of its critics, for walling its people in and for stalling foreign aid workers who come with their aid, for reason that we now understand as its way to keep from the world’s eyes scenes that could prove the regime’s incompetence and its inhuman treatment of its own people—scenes of countless bloated bodies floating on its river and littering its delta landscape, reminding you of one big countryside cemetery, maybe smaller than Texas, but still big, or one big countryside funeral parlor, where the odour and the stench of death will forever remind you of your failure as a government.

On other hand, we praise China for its quick response to aid the victims of the quake.

We have here two nations engaged in a program to cosmeticize its image before the world. One bungled woefully.

While we have the downsides, we also have the upsides of these tragedies. For the upsides we appreciate the neighborliness and love shown by civilized nations of the world toward nations in need. The aids and other forms of donation just poured in, and keep pouring in like downpours from heaven. For we indeed are a global community, separated maybe by hundreds of miles of distances and by quirks of geography, but in the aftermath of tragedies we tend to forget those separations and those quirks in order to attend to the needs of neighbors.

We have even forgotten that our colors and languages are not the same. Some people out there must have believed that deep inside humanity is the same.

Maybe this is one legacy we can leave our kids. That at one time diverse communities in the world had responded as one. God be praised for that.


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