Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"The endless scream in the breaking news"

Just heard that my step daughter's best mate in Sendai is alive. Nothing had been heard from him since Friday when the earthquake and tsunami destroyed much of the city. But he has just been sighted in a shelter in Sendai. 
Through the power of email and Facebook my step daughter, who is on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean, found about his sighting from friends in Japan and then she alerted me.
I pray for my step daughter's mate and all the people who have suffered so much in Japan at such terrible times. 
Like people the world over I have been overwhelmed by the terrible tragedy in Japan and the destructive power of the forces of nature and the earth on which we live.
So many terrible stories and images are emerging from the multiple catastrophes in Japan, and now, a few days later,  the full extent of the unfolding crises in the nuclear reactors and the realization of the scale of the devastation are becoming obvious.
Yet also emerging are stories of human endurance and survival, human compassion and solidarity, and ultimately the power of the human spirit. 
But it is hard to do anything but feel complete and utter despair at the horror of it all. And the terrible realization and question that has dogged me since Friday- is this an apocalyptic vision of how the world will end?- humankind and human civilization overwhelmed by the forces of nature and the earth, and our own hubris, in the form of forces we have unleashed- climate change and nuclear power.
This poem by Mahmoud Darwish, perhaps my favourite poet, was bought to my attention by Charandev Singh.
"Her voice carries her higher and further than
the seashore. She screams at night over the land
The echo has no echo
...so she becomes the endless scream in the breaking news
which was no longer breaking news"
...- Mahmoud Darwish

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