I admit, I don't know much about what happened in Pakistan last year, though I recall commenting that I wasn't surprised that the world was hesitant to respond with aid because of the country's ability to take care of itself, unlike Haiti, and the concern that the corrupt government would channel the support funds inappropriately.
I know what happened in Haiti, though I was honest to goodness shocked by the amount of attention it received, mainly from Hollywood, with George Clooney telethons and a remix of We are the World.
I knew nothing about Christchurch until I saw a Buzz that morning, and I have not made much effort to learn more.
I understand the uprisings in the Middle East and their political and oilitical effects on the rest of the world...
But for some reason, I actually care about Japan, and I get the feeling that it's not just me.
Perhaps, because this time, people are truly starting to realize that this particular natural disaster, at least, actually does affect all of us, in a lot more ways than we initially realized.
Some of us tend not to care all that much about the world if the tragedies do not directly affect us. Haiti remains in turmoil, but Charlie Sheen is more important right now. (Good thing Sheen is actually going to Haiti shortly. That should bring lots of attention to the people still in need there.)
The online game I regularly play announced that it would be shutting down for a week (probably more) in response to Japan's request to cut down nonessential energy use. Most of the community offered understanding and kind words, but there were those who were angry and voiced their concern. Worse, there were those who thought to highly inappropriate jokes. Elsewhere, the negativity is far worse.
I think, since, those people have found their own circles to run with, having realized how unwelcome they are elsewhere. Or perhaps the shutdown of a mere game has alerted them to the fact that the events in Japan can effect us. Perhaps they are realizing that the nuclear situation there can have effects on us all the way over here. Perhaps they have noticed some of the tsunami damage on the Pacific coast.
Perhaps, they, like me, have realized that a country that seems so organized and that has actually been preparing for disasters since the last one rocked their country has been so shaken, literally and psychologically, by this. Is the world paying attention because Japan is a world leader? Is the US paying attention because scientists are predicting that Mother Nature could strike there, next? And we know California won't be ignored the way New Orleans was...
I do hope the world takes note of how Japan is handling the situation in their typical stoic, organized and honourable manner. I have heard that even the Yakuza are doing their part for their country. There is no such thing as looting and vandalizing. There will be a psychological aftermath to all of this, but there is something to be said about the Japanese culture in the face of disaster. There is no fanfare. They are just doing what they have to do, including the 50 remaining workers at the nuclear plants.
We've been watching and listening to the news on a daily basis and I think my eldest does understand the gravity of the situation as aftershocks continue. Today I will show her this article about a 4 month old baby found alive and unharmed. A little bit of hope.