|bodies preserved by ash from Pompeii after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius|
I said before, like many other people, that it seems impossible to write or think about anything else when so much tragedy is unfolding in Japan. I've scrolled through the photos, looked at the videos, heard the audio footage, teared up at the woman, sitting in the wreckage of her town, and felt my smallness and the preciousness of my children, our lives, all life. What can I do? What can we do? What is happening to this crazy world of ours? When does it end?
I found a list of sixty-six of the world's worst natural disasters and will copy a few here --
Syria - Aleppo - 1138
Earthquake kills 230,000 people
Famine wipes out 118,000 people
Egypt and Syria, 1201
Earthquake wipes out 1.1 million people
floods after a dyke breaks kills more than 100,000
100,000 people dead
Europe and beyond 1347-1350
Bubonic plague kills 25 million
Earthquake kills 830,000
Drought and starvation kills 9 million people
I have to think that part of the paralysis many of us feel when seeing and reading about the situation in Japan is because we are, as a people, privy to these disasters in ways that we never were before. I'm not sure the human brain can fully take it all in and then react in any constructive way, outside of literally being there. The ability we have now, through technology, to be there, is deceptive, I think -- we aren't there, really. The beauty, though, of the technology, is that it draws us a bit closer to our fellow humans and enables us, in some small way to be there as best we can.
I saw this quote today of the Dalai Lama, a man I'm certain has witnessed his fair share of cruel natural and human tragedy:
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.