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Disaster in Japan Yet Another Example for Solnit

March 14, 2011

As you all may know by now, Japan was hit with a devastating tsunami this past Friday, March 11th. Triggered by an earthquake that registered with a now updated magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale, the catastrophe in Japan has some experts estimating that it will eventually be the costliest natural disaster on record.

But with all of the horror and misfortune occurring on the Asian island, a sense of duty to come to the aid of Japan is being felt by countries all over the world. Just like the earthquake in Haiti and of course the tsunami in Indonesia and surrounding areas, nations from all over are coming to help the people in need-even longtime rival China.

When I heard of the disaster, I was immediately taken aback by it. These kinds of horrific acts don’t develop over time. You simply wake up one morning to a news story with such frightening and unimaginable images that it leaves you to wonder what kinds of disasters the Earth is capable of.

In her “The Uses of Disaster” essay, Rebecca Solnit mentions how people come together after catastrophes and show remarkable cooperation and togetherness in times of need. The current troubles in Japan are a perfect example of how not only the Japanese themselves are in a unique state of togetherness, but how people from all over the world are realizing that such a horrific event could happen to anyone and that help is necessary. The following is a quote from Solnit that praises our world’s dependence on one another:

Disaster makes it clear that our interdependence is not only an inescapable fact but a fact worth celebrating.

With the media always around the corner, gone are the days of disasters only affecting the people directly involved. Such traumatic events are now global tragedies with the world being as interconnected as it has ever been. In the end, though, disasters such as this one make us sit down and think about how fragile everything is. Because in reality, it could be gone within a matter of minutes.

Works Cited

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/14/world.quake.response/index.html?hpt=C2

http://www.cnn.com/2011/BUSINESS/03/14/japan.quake.economy.monday/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2011/03/world/hires.japan.faces/#

11 Comments
  1. cfrankel permalink
    March 14, 2011 9:11 PM

    I completly agree with this. The disaster in Japan is a perfect example that portrays the ideas of Rebecca Solnit. According to the New York Times’, there are already fundraisers set up by the American Red Cross, Americares, CARE, The Salvation Army, and more to help the victims in Japan. The United States is one of the main countries giving aid to Japan right now by sending helicopters and destroyers from their military bases. We are also sending an aircraft carrier that has the capability to act as a hospital and convert seawater into drinking water. The immediate response of the United States and fundraising organizations proves Solnit’s theory that we help each other in time of disaster.

  2. cfrankel permalink
    March 14, 2011 9:11 PM

    I completely agree with this. The disaster in Japan is a perfect example that portrays the ideas of Rebecca Solnit. According to the New York Times’, there are already fundraisers set up by the American Red Cross, Americares, CARE, The Salvation Army, and more to help the victims in Japan. The United States is one of the main countries giving aid to Japan right now by sending helicopters and destroyers from their military bases. We are also sending an aircraft carrier that has the capability to act as a hospital and convert seawater into drinking water. The immediate response of the United States and fundraising organizations proves Solnit’s theory that we help each other in time of disaster.

  3. ankitchowdhary274 permalink
    March 15, 2011 1:55 AM

    I agree with your views Boris. I want to post a link in support of your argument which is as follows:

    http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=14276

    This article talks about how an Apple Store in Tokyo went ut of its way to help employees, their friends and family and all those who sought it in their time of need. It further goes on to show how technology today can be exploited for the general benefit of others.

  4. Pierre Gerondeau permalink
    March 15, 2011 12:09 PM

    I definitely agree with your post, Boris. The disaster in Japan confirms Solnit’s theory that shows how horrible events can bring people together, and unite them in a common cause. You also bring up an interesting correlation to different types of media and how they relate to hearing about/being able to help in times of disaster. Constant online news updates and new media outlets let news spread quicker, and allow for people to aid in the recovery sooner rather than later. Like you said, disasters don’t just affect the people involved, but the whole world, and more people than ever can participate in the aid/recovery.

  5. timothyhall permalink
    March 15, 2011 12:09 PM

    Boris, great post. I don’t have anything to dispute, only something to reinforce. Though I’m against a lot of the implications and effects of globalization, e.g. the loss of singular culture, a Mcdonald’s/Starbucks/Nike store opening in rural southern France, et cetera, the worldwide effort to aid the places affected by the tsunami is a great example of its positive effects. It’s truly amazing how despite global politics all corners of the world can unite behind one in a time of struggle.

  6. Emily Slaga permalink
    March 15, 2011 12:21 PM

    I totally agree with you, Boris. What’s happening in Japan is a perfect example of the point Solnit tries to make. In times of disaster, everyone tries to help. What’s interesting is that in her writings, she notes that this happens when the synthetic part of our lives are destroyed (media, work, focus on technology, etc). Obviously, all of the first-hand help in Japan is a perfect example of this. What’s neat though, like you pointed out, is that our lives across the world haven’t really been affected and we still have technology and whatnot, but we use it to help. For example, there’s a number you can text from your phone that donates $10 to the Red Cross for aid. The $10 just gets charged to your phone bill. I think Solnit implies that it’s the technology and superficial things in our lives that prevent humans from acting or seeming compassionate, and that only when these things are destroyed in disaster, do we really see people come together. But with modern technology today, like the form of donation through cell phones, it shows that though our lives weren’t directly affected, we can still show compassion. The things we rely on, such as technology, can actually help us show compassion and our true nature as humans.

    • Emily Slaga permalink
      March 16, 2011 10:18 PM

      Also, this is a little random and fun but I just read an article that reminded me of this blog post. It’s about how even dogs are sticking by each other and looking out for each other in Japan right now. They’re staying by their hurt buddies and not leaving their sides. Maybe dogs are like humans, and in a state of disaster, are there for each other and become extra compassionate.

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/dog-in-japan-stays-by-the-side-of-its-ailing-friend-in-the-rubble

  7. Shane Malone permalink
    March 16, 2011 12:44 AM

    I also agree with what you have to say in your article. Just as everyone else is saying that after a disaster like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, people do indeed come together. Also as was stated in this post, other people come to the aid of those in need. According to this article
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/16/us-japan-quake-aid-idUSTRE72F0ZZ20110316
    102 countries have donated to the efforts in Japan. This is a great example of just how much people do want to help each other.

  8. Brian Fisher permalink
    March 16, 2011 4:58 PM

    I completely agree with you global perspective of a natural disasters affect on a nation and the consequent actions of others willing to provide help. No one group is more helpless to provide aid to a situation than those directly affected by a disaster. Likewise, unaffected individuals have a moral responsibility to do whatever it takes to re-develop the grief-sticken area as soon as possible. If we all abide by this moral responsibility, natural disasters such a this can begin to re-develop at a substantially faster rate.

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