The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Lest we forget

To be swayed by the blogosphere, sometimes, is to have the feeling that the world simply does not exist outside the United States, and United States politics in particular. Certainly if I wished to compile an instant readership, that would be the direction to go: virtually all of the most popular blogs worldwide align themselves clearly with United States conservative right or United States liberal left (with a very few determined United States -- but still political -- independents), to the point where just about every Internet-connected person in the world is beginning to understand United States internal politics at least as well as its own citizens. Katarina was sudden catastrophe: but sudden catastrophe occurs in Dhaka typhoons, and Kelowna forest fires, and in Danube flooding, around the world on a daily basis; and after -- sometimes -- a brief flurry of international current events focus, is as quickly forgotten.

Such was the Bam earthquake of one year before the tourist-videocammed tsunami. Such, maybe, is the 7.6 Richter Kashmir earthquake of this day, in a region already contested and the piece of inhabitted ground held out as the prize between two nations more often warring than not and a third, quietly looming in the background.

I don't write catastrophe, sudden or otherwise, as often as I see it and remember it, or else I would be writing catastrophe day in and day out. Sometimes I acknowledge its existence in this blog, brief mention like all the rest, one, two, three blog entries and then life goes on as it always does, for in the face of natural catastrophe we humans are not yet ready to completely abandon each other: and for now and in the immediate, we still seem to have something of a here-and-now species survival instinct. War, maybe, is to some extent avertable and someday we may yet evolve utterly beyond this particular expression of the negotiations of physical power: but show me the place in the world which is immune to natural disaster. Despite all the disparities of wealth and technology and war, there is something in us that still remains subtly uneasy in the face of nature, something which despite our deepest needs for reassurance acknowledges that in the end, no amount of wealth, no technology, no military power can suffice to utterly secure even one single person in the world.

I mention catastrophe only rarely. My lack of continuing mention does not make its continuing human cost the less real.


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