After Shock

What to write? What to write? What I wrote on Monday seems woefully inadequate. Hideously, piteously, pathetically understated. While I stand by my earlier statement that the Chinese are doing everything they possibly can, with so much devastation it is not enough. The earth continues to tremble, every day bringing a fresh set of dilemmas and crises. Photos of children being pulled from demolished buildings continue to beep across my cell phone. One of them showed a pair of hands holding onto each other, forever pinned together under the wreckage. In a country of only children, the grief is overwhelming.

The foreign media continues to insinuate that China is plagued with problems (and here they provide a laundry list) because of its’ government’s political stances on various issues, subtly implying that the mega quake is God’s retribution for the Tibetan situation. Is cyclone Nargis payback for the Myanmar junta’s killing of the Buddhist monks last year? Would these same media outlets claim that the tsunami wiped out a quarter of a million people in Muslim countries as God’s way of evening the score for 9/11 and the mass graves of Iraq? Or that Hurricane Katrina is revenge on those living in the Deep South who enjoyed gambling on river boats or Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Like sorting through the devastation, one has to search for and salvage the truth. Last time I checked, God wasn’t into playing politics.

Thing 2 is home safe from his school trip. Last year’s 6th grade class went to Chengdu. It could have been him, visiting a school. It could have been me digging with my hands looking for my son. And to think I was worried about the age of the aircraft … Although Chengdu was not affected to the extent of the nearby cities, the American government is warning travelers to stay away from Sichuan province. I had forgotten how a mere 2 months ago, on our trip, we had been told of an 8.0 earthquake in Xi’an some 500 odd years ago that supposedly wiped out nearly a million people.

Our first year as expats in China is drawing to a close. In less than a month, we will be heading for home, to our very own earthquake zone. We have a disaster kit in the garage but now realize that if the garage is flattened, the kit probably will be too. Next week, this story will no longer be front page news. Global ADD will have set in, our minds inured to yet another tragedy.

I promise to write something more upbeat next week. In the meantime, CONGRATULATIONS TO LADY TEA for walking a marathon (The Moonwalk) with her mother and sister in the UK in support of breast cancer research yesterday. She’s my hero of the day.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “After Shock

  1. Tom

    It is just so horrible. It doesn’t seem to end either. I read there was a 6.0 aftershock and landslides and the dams might fail. This has nothing to do with “punishment”. Nobody deserves this.

  2. Tom: you brave soul, writing in! I know it is a sketchy little post but my thoughts are truly ajumble. I don’t even know if the govt is busting their behind but it seems like it. The devastation is so profound that some places have not been reached yet. Today I read about a lady sawing her leg off to get out of the wreckage. She had to convince the rescuers to hand her the saw. Her husband died next to her. The conspiracy theories have started, though, which even this cynical mind refuses to believe. Start googling.

  3. Dear Heart, I am thinking about you and yours and the people of China. To take in the people of Burma is past my imagination and understanding, so I concentrate on China. I do believe that all who pray for these people are helping these people and I believe that the more that pray, I think the word is expodentially, improve the well being of these people. I hope those reading your blog carry these victims in their heart.

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