Who let who down?

Who let who down?

Posted on June 22, 2011
Filed Under fast, relief & aid, volunteer | 1 Comment

tohoku relief, who let down who?The talk of town in the disaster zone in Tohoku Japan is that people feel  let down. That relief efforts from the goverment were anemic. That the Red Cross misrepresented their ability to bring relief and aid to those that need it.

If I were one of the 90,000 still housed in a shelter, I would feel that way…. If I were one of the few that accepted one of the temporary housing units built for the displaced survivors only to find out that further aid had been cut off, I would feel that way….. If I were living in a tent in my badly damaged home and told that I qualified for no assistance because my house was still there, I would feel that way…

Imagine If I were a man whose workplace had been washed away but was told I was not eligible for aid because I was not a direct victim of the tsumani, I would feel that way….. If I were one of the many who waited for fresh vegetables for 60 days until a Kozmoz relief truck finally brought some, I would feel that way…. And everytime I think about the fact that the government and TEPCO concealed the fact that the reactors in fukushima had melted down within hours of the tsunami for months as they misrepresented the dangers and created tons and tons of radioactive effluent that poured into the sea, I feel that way….

To be fair, they should feel let down. Beauracracy is rampant, aid is slow to come, and the Red Cross should have used much of those bilions received to feed people imediately. After seeing the horror of neglect and lethargic response first hand, I am appalled. Completely and utterly. They should be ashamed of themselves.

However when it comes to just who let whom down… I think that the issue is a little deeper. I think the real let down here was not so much the government but people at large. I am happy to see so many have volunteered to help with the clean up. And I am grateful that so many gave money to fuel relief efforts.

On the other hand, after seeing the fiasco of Hati, people should have excercised more thought and care in how they gave. After all, we live in an age where almost everyone can access the internet on their phones. But most disheartening to me is the way that most people gave marginally and and then went on as if everything was fine and they could pretend that everything was all ok… Its not ok. The suffering is great and needs to be addressed. We live in the information age and all of these things open and notorious. Only the very dimwitted and those who choose not to know or care are ignorant of the situation.

The west has the golden rule as espoused in both the old testament and by Jesus himself. The east has the same thing espoused many times in the Buddhist cannon of the Tripitaka. And the Hindu tome the Mahābhārata has the theme repeated over and over. In fact it is the single most common theme of all world religions and cultures. So why have we chosen to neglect our fallen bretheren to this degree?

Simply because we also live in the age of advertising where the masses are conditioned as well and thouroughly as Pavlovs dogs, salivating at the ringing bell of advertisments for Lexuses, Gucci goods, Coca-Cola, and all that is constantly portrayed as absolutely necessary to attain happiness…. We work and sell ourselves into indebtured servitude to saddle ourselves with loans for cars that will be  worth nothing before we even pay for them… We put on blinders to the pain around ourselves knowing that the acknowledgement of suffering will make it impossible to ignore….

The sad realization to me is that had this disaster occured in Kyoto, where I live. I am sure that the people in Tohoku would be responding the same way and with the same apathy and preocupation that my neighbors are showing. If the shoe were on the other foot, how would we feel? Lets be different, give to those in need today, and next week and next month as well if they are still in need. It is how we would want to be treated. Its just the right thing to do.



One Comment

  1. Megan on July 6th, 2011 6:41 am

    You're right.
    We should all be ashamed.
    'Bear ye one anothers burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ.'
    Thank you for what you're doing. Thank you for reminding me to do more!
    I have just found your website.
    God bless you.

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