Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Major world events in my lifetime include the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela released from prison, September 11th and the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The horrific scenes on our TV screens, websites and front pages of the printed media will live long in the memory of the tsunami and the near quarter of a million who perished.

Now, when I hear of an earthquake, especially in the Pacific I feel pensive. I awoke on Friday as the BBC were reporting the earthquake as breaking news. The magnitude of the quake indicated there could be severe damage.

By the time I got home the true horror of the tsunami was being played out on 24 hour news channels and the people of Japan have been on my mind since then. The pictures that have made their way on to our screens the last few days show the immense power of water and how it sweeps all before it. Cars tossed around like they are made of balsa wood. Houses like dolls houses. Even aircraft and ships.

Of course there is the ongoing drama surrounding the nuclear power plant. We can only hope meltdown doesn't occur.

There are countless thousand stories of human loss and misery. Each tale so tragic. Every one moving me to tears.

But, there is something about this tragedy that is different. A measured response by the authorities. Orderly queues in line for bread, water and fuel (taken for granted only a matter of days ago).

The people  of Japan have such dignity and purpose. They are a credit to themselves. They are a credit to the human race and can teach us all, and I include me in that, a big lesson in dignity, humility and decency.

Japan is going to take years to get over this. The mental scars will never heal. The clean up operation is almost unimaginable. The economy is going to take a hit.

The land of the rising sun may be a leading developed nation, but it still needs - and deserves our help. The people deserve it.

They are an inspiration. They are in my thoughts.

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