:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Sunday, December 26, 2004  

Cannot quite grasp the tragedy

My mouth agape in horror, I watched people being swept away by the tsunamis in South and Southeast Asia, on television early this afternoon. Unfortunately the story was covered only for a minute on CNN. I was able to find all the known details on the internet, but I wondered how people who watch television for much of their news or don't have access to the internet, are able to grasp this story. That made me mad, but that's another topic for discussion.

I cannot comprehend the thousands of deaths that have already resulted from this tragedy. The Acorn and Vichaar have an updated list of organizations that are taking donations for the relief effort.

I recalled that only three months ago, my parents were at the southern tip of India, seeing for the first time the beautiful South Indian temples in that area. Matt Stoller of BOP posted a letter from a friend of a friend in India - some excerpts:

2 days ago, I was at the very tip of India, away out in the water visiting a temple, where you can admire the geographic glory of three bodies of water meeting and curving around the horn of India. Stunning. Millions of holiday travelers from all over India and the world. Impressive number of people...

Today, we got off the boat at about 10 am and got on a bus to Cochin at about 10:20. By the time we got to Cochin, 2 hours later, we began to get the inkling that something was very wrong.

The water in Cochin harbor was unbelievably strange and frothy, the beaches were unusually narrow and wet, and none of the fishing boats had returned. People were everywhere, lined up waiting for their loved ones and watching the strange surf. We heard then the news about the earthquake and tsunami. We heard that Alleppuzha and the backwaters are flooded. Kovalam is hard hit. Then we heard that the temple we had been on, just two days ago, is gone, along with all its many holiday travelers who come to marvel at the geography of India...


Even here, all around the horn of India far from the line of force from the earthquake, the water was able to turn back the very strong river that flows out to meet the sea. There finally came the moment when a cry was raised and we saw it, a dark line way off on the horizon, and as it came closer you could see a wall of water. Sure, wall of water, but it was only about a metre high, we thought. No problem. So no-one moved from where we were watching (about 15 metres up on a rocky outcrop, gotta be safe, right?) and there were people and touts offering their wares on the beach. But when it hit… the beaches were completely underwater, all of the people on the beach had to run away fast, we on the rocky outcrop got soaked, the touts’ carts were swept away, and the children were in hysterics. No-one was hurt, but we all treated the wall afterwall after wall of water that came, all afternoon and evening, and even now continues as I write, with a great deal more respect.

And if it could be this strange and threatening in Cochin, imagine the east coast and Sri Lanka...

posted by Anjali Taneja | 12/26/2004 06:32:00 PM | |


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