My heart goes out to the people of Japan, but in particular the Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture following the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami. They have shown such amazing grace and resilience under very trying and appauling circumstances.
But to watch such composure as I have done over the last ten days is a lesson not to be forgotten. The Japanese spirit of indomitability is legendary. And exceptional.
We have not seen any looting, disorderly conduct, or panic. We have seen a Nation and a People rise up in unison to bring back a semblance of normalcy where nature’s fury left death and destruction. Watch them come back and re-build with a vengeance. Kobe was not too long ago.
But as is human, I cannot avoid comparing Sendai to the tragedies in Rwanda, Katrina or even Haiti. What a contrast in human behavior. But why ? I leave the answer to the professionals more qualified than me to decipher.
But this much I know: poverty should not be an excuse to anarchy and desecration of the human spirit. Sendai had similar challenges as did New Orleans, the Rwandan refugee camps in the DRC following the 1994 Rwanda genocide. And to push the envelope, Haitians (world’s poorest) to some extent.
Sendai is a lesson to all humanity, and a badge of honor to the Japanese. This is all summed up in the story of an old man who went to look for his daughter who worked at the airport. She had survived, and the old man was given the good news that she was well and alive. Old man smiled, but added, ” if she was dead I would understand. Such things happen.” How poignant.
Japan, I take my hat off for you. Your spirit and decency give hope to the human race. This too, shall pass.