The extent of the damages, caused by the earthquake and tsunami, are slowly being revealed. As I’m writing these lines, the outcome of the Fukushima nuclear power plant failure is uncertain and there are less and less optimistic voices.
The reaction of the outside world to all these events is quite different compared to other recent events of this magnitude. Let’s just think back to the tsunami of December 2004, or the more recent earthquakes of Haiti and Chile.
The Canadian Red Cross has collected far less money for the Japanese disaster relief than during the Haiti quake. People are hesitant to donate, after all Japan is a rich country, a G7 member and it’s probably the best prepared nation to face earthquakes and tsunamis.
There is another factor too that can have a big impact on the donations the Red Cross or other NGOs are receiving, the media with is TV and photo cameras are covering differently this event. While in Haiti the news were filled with images of people in tents, even weeks after the quake every night the evening news was almost entirely all about the victims of the earthquake, the people.
In Japan, just few of the images are showing people, mostly focusing on the spectacular shots of the tsunami and the explosions at Fukushima. We won’t see women crying, kids screaming and men rioting, instead we are shown soldiers and rescue workers in uniforms working tirelessly to find survivors, clean up the mess or being busy to sacrifice their own health to cool down melting nuclear reactors. We’ll also see man in suits discussing in Vienna how to handle the PR coup the nuclear industry just got, or finance ministers trying to get back the market to green.
When I hear in the news that soldiers at Fukushima had to stop working because the levels of radiation is too high, I wonder where the technological miracle of Japan and the Western World in general is? To what good is to have robots able to play a violin or play soccer if during a nuclear crisis, human beings have to be sacrificed? Where are all the wonder robots, the transformers and remote controlled gadgets? Why can’t we leave music, painting and sports for to humans to do it? These are all activities that need soul, while going close to a melting reactor should be rather left to robots.
Why engineers have to work on building drones to kill people, instead of building tools to save lives? Imagine a drone that could be used for aerial firefighting, it could work non stop for days and could go to places you wouldn’t send anyone. I’m sure there are brilliant engineering minds that could come up with many other solutions to build a better World, why are they employed to do the wrong gadgets?
In Japan our entire civilization shook and now it’s melting, so don’t hesitate to do the right thing by helping.