When the news began to filter down that there was a devastating 8.9 earthquake in the early hours of the morning last Thursday, my heart went out to all the victims. And with the added tsunamis that rolled through towns and decimated everything in its path along with the threat of nuclear spillage, my first thought was to pray. No matter the place or country, you never want to hear of death and destruction of mankind.
Over the weekend, I began hearing Internet pundits and news professionals comparing the earthquake in Japan to other recent natural disasters in our time—Hurricane Katrina and last year’s earthquake in Haiti. And while both of those events were very tragic and still have scars that remain, why is the earthquake in Japan being compared to these historic acts of nature in two different countries?
I am hearing that the Japanese are not “looting” nor acting in a chaotic manner unlike the manic activity that ensued in both New Orleans and Haiti. I am not sure why this is being brought up in the wake that 1,000’s have lost their lives in Japan. Why does their crisis have to be compared to others—this simply makes no sense, especially when they need help NOW.
It is as if the commentators are saying that the type of people that Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti were all looters and the people of Japan are solid and peaceful people through tragedy. This, of course, is a shallow and one-sided view. The Japanese are generally not emotional people and have been brought up differently, than say, someone raised in the 9th Ward in New Orleans. Does that make them any better? No. Does this make Japan’s tragedy any less? No.
These are two different natural disasters in two different countries, both with different political and emotional implications—there is no comparison that is needed.
When reporting the news, I think broadcasters get it wrong by trying to minimize an event or compare histories that are clearly apples and oranges by trying to make the story “understandable”. And these comparisons do nothing to help those who are going through hell right now in Japan. As a matter of fact, it takes away from the story unfolding.
Until we finally call these supposedly responsible journalists and writers to the carpet, I guess we will continue to get one-sided versions of comparisons that do nothing but take away from the matter at hand and divide.
Readers, what is your thought process on this?