I know this is not Sci Fi Scale Modeling related, but I need to write this. Japan was recently struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake which brought about a tsunami from hell that virtually wiped out villages from the map. Death toll is estimated to pass well over 15,000 people and tens of thousands more are displaced. And as if these disaster were not enough, the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor is in danger of a nuclear meltdown, casting radioactive cloud over the food chain and further poisoning the land. Everyday the people there struggle to make sense of the disaster and to try to move on with their lives. Compounded with a cold front and a blizzard, victims grouped together despite their misery and despair.
When I read about such things and looking at all the images, I can't help but wallow in disbelieve and grief. I can't help it when I get very concern for my fellow Japanese friends, some whom may have lost their parents, sisters, brothers, children and friends. How are they going to cope? Are they going to be OK? The sheer magnitude of the damages and loss is so huge that its so amazing the Japanese remained calm, with no massive riots and looting reported, and citizens patiently lining up for food and fuel. The few cases that was reported only shows the desperate conditions the victims have to live through. It is truly a beautiful view of the Japanese culture amidst the ruins and devastation.
Hence I was appalled seeing that there were still people who reverted to "Karma" justifying the Earthquake and Tsunami that wiped out Sendai, and other villages in Japan as divine retribution. Reference to the Japanese soldier's atrocities of Nanking, and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour, started surfacing in forums and Facebook. It got me so flabbergasted. I am trying to understand how some people could wish ill toward these Japanese victims, all because of the sins of their grandparents. Did not Jesus say "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? It is divinity we are talking about here, right?
The pain and suffering that occurred during World War II is without any doubt a dark chapter in human history, when there were no rules of engagement and chaos and fear ruled. Survivors had to live through the ordeal for the rest of their natural lives. My own parents lived through the Japanese Occupation when they were children, and told me various stories of inhumane cruelty. So I can understand then if victims of WWII despise the Japanese so much that they will never forgive Japan. After all, what they did caused scars to run very deep. But wait, didn't the comfort women from both Korea and Thailand got together and prayed for the victims of the Sendai tsunami? I mean come on, these women were direct victims, and yet, they still could find forgiveness and compassion within their hearts. So if they could do it, what does that speak of those who can't and wasn't even there in WWII? How long do you wish to carry this hate?
In my attempt to understand why some people feel this way, I listened to their rationale to justify their hate and only found grim descriptions of what the Japanese soldiers did to the people of Nanking during WWII (not disputing this historical fact of course). I do agree that the Japanese soldiers involved then, along with their superiors and commanders, are guilty and liable for their atrocities. They will answer to God for their deeds, but here's a whammy. Te new generation of Japanese don't even know what happened during the war. It was kept from them. The ordinary senior citizens were also kept in the dark, being fed lots of propaganda by their own govt then. How do I know this? Make friends with the Japanese. Talk to them. The ordinary people are no different from you and me, and you'll be surprised at what they were taught in school. Does this make them guilty?
As for Pearl Harbour, I can see mentions of "Never Forget" statements referring to the Japanese surprise attack that got America involved with WWII. Payback is a bitch no doubt, but exactly how many times must the Japanese pay back? Japan lost the war, they lost their country, they lost their humility, and they were at the receiving end of two atomic bombs. That's what they got for stirring the hornet's nest. And now the recent tragedy is karma for their attack on Pearl Harbour again? Would it satisfy those that keep saying "never forget" over and over if Japan literally sank into the ocean like Atlantis, and totally disappear from the face of the earth? Only a sadist would wish ill on the unfortunate. Think about it, did any Japanese commented that America deserved the Hurricane Katrina tragedy that nearly devastated New Orleans? Well, we are on the topic of karma, and surely something must have happened to warrant that disaster if these people want to use karma to warrant their claim for this one.
It makes absolutely no sense then to say this is divine retribution. Remember, a lot of the Japanese today are as innocent as you and me. And a lot of us were not even around during WWII. At most, we can lobby to force the Japanese government to acknowledge their wartime atrocities and apologise, but no one have any right to say this is divine retribution.
A good friend of mine summed up this situation aptly. Japan literally lies on top of the ring of fire, and the country will no doubt experience many earthquakes and tsunamis. They have been experiencing it as early as when that land was colonized, with historical records indicating that some of these were worse than the recent 9.0 magnitude earthquake. This means that Japan will continue to experience more earthquakes and tsunamis by virtue of their unfortunate location. To say then that the recent tragedy were divine retribution only reflect on ignorance and arrogance. Kind of make that person looks silly.
As for me, I rather not dwell on hate. Nothing good ever came out of hate. It'll eat you up bit by bit, consume anything and everything that is positive, making your life miserable to the extent no one wants to be near you. Life gets shortened and whatever joy escapes you.
So I leave it to the individual what they want to believe. Life's already too short to waste on hate. In the here and now, everyone have the chance to make this world a better place to live. All they need to do is have a heart. Life without compassion only leads to destruction. I've said my peace.