Evening clouds

Evening clouds
Sunshine and Clouds

Friday, 18 March 2011

Aftershocks and fallout

Having not written too much of late I was keen to get back into the rhythm of making a comment; the last week has been dominated by human tragedy. The ongoing tragedy of humans treatment of one another - as evidenced in the Arabian North Africa region, as well as the devastating effects of a natural event as we've seen so well demonstrated via all sorts of media, from Japan.
My links with the Middle East as we in the western world refer to it are pretty tenuous; I had visited Israel for sight seeing over 20 years ago; I have looked across the Straights of Gibraltar at the coastline on the other side. I have little feel therefore for what normal day to day life is like, as I suspect many westerners do, despite it's proximity. It occurs to me as a politically naive person, that oppression must have been going on a long time. Yet it's taken til now for governments to realise that the relationship we've had with such countries is complex and double edged. If we weren't so dependent on oil would we have had the same relationship? I'm sure political and economic experts can and have argued about that, and will continue to do so. However it would seem where economic interests are less complex, we are happy to ignore dictatorship and oppression; Zimbabwe and Mugabe being a prime example. I think the UK government is afraid to tell the Saudi and Bahrain leaders to stop attacking hospitals, and shooting their people. Oil and economic principles really get in the way of a positive ethical stance - that's political life I guess, but makes it no less acceptable. The end to this situation is not in sight yet; it may get bloodier before it gets settled.
In Japan we have more contacts and have visited the country; I understand why there is no panic at present, yet there are some political and practical difficulties. The relationship of government to the nuclear power industry is being questioned; how much this has this led to the situation at Fukushima will debated long and hard; the lessons must be learnt globally too. In the context of difficulties over oil prices and supplies the debate itself on nuclear energy becomes critical.
In the meantime we have now been able to establish contact with all those we know in Japan; they are alive and saying they are ok; however we hear of young children so traumatised by events they are not eating. That leads to the question of the priorty the Japanese government seem to be giving to getting food and water distributed. Are things much worse and they are saving face by downplaying this?  The long term psychological effects of the earthquake and tsunami are going to be with us for a couple of generations at least; any serious radiation leakage will be with us much longer.

No comments:

Post a Comment