Who Is Megi?

>> Thursday, October 21, 2010

I have a pet peeve. Oh, well, actually, I have a number of pet peeves, but this is the one I'm going to talk about today. Here, in the US, we are completely self-absorbed. Although I'm sure it's not just an American thing, I live here, so here's where I notice it.

I don't mind it as a general rule, but it's become a real problem when it comes to keeping track of things that matter to me world-wide. Non-US stories fall by the wayside (except for the Chilean miners, for some reason. I wonder if we're fascinated because so many of our recent mining accidents have ended in tragedy, but I digress.)

I keep track of natural disasters, for some reason. I'm sympathetic's part of it. It's a reminder how lucky I am not to have had my family swept away, my child wrenched from my arms, by a the Boxing Day tsunami, or to have my family and everyone I've ever known buried under a dozen meters of mud in a mudslide thanks to Hurricane Mitch, or to have my only child (as so many Chinese children have to be) crushed in a substandard school during an earthquake. I remind myself how lucky I am and that I'm not really entitled to self-pity. If I have pity to spare, there are many who deserve it more. They're people and I grieve that they suffer.

It's also a lesson for me in resilience. So often, these tragedies happen in parts of the world where no one has much of anything, where, if whole towns disappear, there will be no one coming by with trailers and checks to take care of it. But they pick themselves up and, somehow, next time it happens, they're better prepared. Japan, though not a third world nation, is pretty much pounded by every kind of natural disaster imaginable: volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, land/mudslides, typhoons that make Katrina look like a squall. But the weather them all. They were hit by a Katrina sized typhoon within ten days of Katrina, dead on Tokyo (which is also under sea level) and they lost three lives, one from a heart attack and hardly broke stride.

Burma (now Myanmar) was absolutely devastated by a cyclone (the word for a typhoon/hurricane in the Indian ocean) in 1970 that took an estimated 300,000 lives. They've been hit again since, but each time fewer lives have been lost, by orders of magnitude. And they're poor like no one's poor here. That kind of resilience and progress impresses the hell out of me (even if Myanmar's government doesn't).

So, if you haven't heard of Megi, that's too bad. She's beautiful and deadly and, although she was a strong Catagory 5 when she hit the Philippines, she only killed nineteen people. Some of the wind has been taken out of her sails but she's headed for mainland China and she's still pretty strong. So more for to come with this monster storm. Too bad our media doesn't cover it.

And the Phillipines, though low in casualties, has a long hard road ahead what with rice crops destroyed, tens of thousands homeless and infrastructure destroyed.

I wonder why we never hear stories like that here.
Gorgeous, wasn't she?

5 comments:

  • The Mother
     

    I heard about this this morning. So somebody must be covering it.

    We do hear about the devastating disasters across the world--the Indonesian tsunami, the Italian earthquakes.

    But, yes, these events are far from home. We do have problems here.

  • Stephanie Barr
     

    It seems to me, though, that we hear about the same problems here interminably. No one wants to fix them here. They just want to bitch about them, point fingers. In these other places, they fix things.

    Ike was devastating down here, but we cleaned up and moved on. We're still hearing more about Katrina than we hear about Ike because they're stagnating.

    Maybe people would start rolling up their sleeves more instead of playing blaming games and FIX stuff instead of just whining if these were the stories making headlines.

    Look at the Yucatan peninsula and Central America. They've been hit with three or four hurricanes and tropical storms this year, usually with only a day or two of warning. I haven't been seeing that in the news either.

    But Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, oh they're getting plenty of coverage.

  • Roy
     

    It's easier to point fingers and assign blame than it is to get up off the butt and roll up the sleeves and DO something. And then the same people want to eliminate the very programs and networks that help people in emergencies like that; it's Big Gummint and Socialism and Gummint Interference, dontcha know! More blame game!

  • Shakespeare
     

    I tend to watch the news sparingly... except the BBC world news. I get U.S. news that way, but also get to find out how the rest of the world is doing.

    I also like knowing how the world views us, and though the British are our allies, their news does in many ways indicate how other countries view the actions we take.

    Megi is gorgeous... but scary.

  • Jeff King
     

    I never watch the news... never.

    I get active when it touches me personaly, it sucks to say, but it's true.

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