I am struck by the irony of the recorded security camera shots, as the Japanese people on the inside of buildings are physically shaking while papers and dust fly and signage, glass and books fall from walls. The looks of confusion and looking upward toward the tumbling debris remind me of those horror movies I used to watch as a kid where Godzilla was stomping around and breathing fire while wreaking havoc over Tokyo. Those movies were fun and campy. Today’s earthquake videos are not.
I am also emotionally paralyzed as I watch the footage of the tsunami being played over and over again from different locations. I am floored as I watch a manned ship being tossed about like a toy in a bathtub, and a wave of debris and mud literally swallowing an entire neighborhood within seconds as entire cities burn to the ground. Viewing these graphic images from a distance on my TV with these heightened camera angles (I assume, some from helicopters) recording this disaster, I cannot help feeling removed and isolated.
Where are the people? I don’t see people in these videos. It’s not like when I watched the burning twin towers on THAT horrendous day back in 2001 when I could SEE hapless individuals hanging out of smoke-filled windows behind the bluest of skies. I watched in fascination, then horror as they waved and pleaded for assistance that was never to come. I watched as each made his or her choice to briefly fly in the freshest of air before twisting to the concrete below. Again, I was helpless.
In Japan today, the death toll continues to rise. Statistics of the dead. So clinical. So uninvolved. So newsworthy. Too overwhelming.
We don’t see the individual fear in the eyes of those on the ground being swept out of the way in a sea of death and destruction, watching as their families and friends are being torn apart by the forces of sticks, trees, cars, homes and mud as they grasp desperately at hands and legs with no time to say goodbye. We, in the States, are left with our nightmarishly vivid imaginations.
So as I sit HERE, watching the quivering ground of Japan from the air as if I’m God; I can only pray. I know that Japan will survive this disaster. I know that WE will survive this disaster. Humanity always manages to find ways to move forward as individuals, as communities and as a life force.
Until then, may we find ways to cope, ways to support and ways to heal the people of Japan.