We Tremble Not Of Fear

On September 30th 2009, an earthquake of 7,6 Richter Scale magnitude hit the Indonesian city of Padang, Sumatera Barat.
The aftermath was simply devastating. Many buildings collapsed, trapping a lot of people inside. The mortality count is currently nearing 500, only 3 days after the incident. Rescue workers are still on the lookout for more survivors, but the prospect is rather bleak as most have been trapped under the rubble for several days without food or water.
Lately, Indonesia has seen far more of its share of natural disasters, with earthquakes being the most frequent. Java, Bali, Celebes and Sumatera have all experienced earthquakes with magnitudes above 5 on the Richter Scale.
Some people connects the occurence to the predicted 2012 apocalypse, calling it the signs of the end of days and the result of mankind’s declining morals. Thus, they say that we need to be more diligent in our prayers to stop all these disasters from getting any worse.
Some people say this is the result of global warming, and man’s irresponsible exploitation and complete disregard for nature. That it’s a punishment for mankind, it’s going to go further downhill from here and there’s nothing we can do about it.
I personally believe that this is simply nature being itself. That the universe is just working as it always has.
However, attributing the cause of this disaster to nature doesn’t mean that we should forget or even give less regard for it.
We are the guardians of planet earth, and therefore we are to some extent also responsible for everything that happens on it.
Maybe the earthquake wasn’t the problem, but rather because we were too unprepared for it. Indonesia is a country more than half a century old, with a history of kingdoms centuries old, and we have known for ages that this location has a large potential of eartjquakes. And yet, buildings aren’t required to fulfill the certain prerequisites needed to withstand earthquakes. Maybe the devastation should be attributed to us, because we have become too greedy and disconnected from our fellow man. Government projects are finished with inferior quality because the funds are embezzled by officials, or building project budgets marked up and largely allocated to the builders instead of for purchase of high quality materials. We sometimes focus more on the aesthetics of a building instead of it’s safety, preferring form over function. But it is not too late to change. It is never too late.
The school of life requires us all to learn from each and every day. As long as we are still alive, there is always still something that we can do to make our lives -and the world- a better place. It may seem utopic and unattainable, but we might as well try anyway.
Right now, our fellow man needs us. And everything we do to help, every little effort, counts. No action is too insignificant, no donation too small.
Let’s remind ourselves that beneath the exterior of the callous and robotic proletarian salaryman, there is a human being. It is no longer every man for themselves, for no man is an island.

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