My initial reaction as regards to the news of the massive earthquake yesterday afternoon just off the coast of north east Japan was one of shock. I also felt somewhat afraid:
"I've never heard of a magnitude 8.9 in all of my life", I though to myself.
My heart goes out to the Japanese people.
Massive as the quake was, my friends, and the huge 10-meter high tsumani waves that came in its wake, it is currently being reported this morning that the damage as regards to human life is comparably less worse.
This is all thanks to Japanese foresight and ingenuity. Their building code did its fundamental job of preserving the basic integrity of structures thus sparing the lives of those other citizens who would have suffered greater harm had their authorities been less vigilant and less diligent in their duties.
The loss of lives for a calamity of this scale would (or could) have run into the many thousands.
Truly, my friends, we are only able (as well as enabled) to effectively learn our lessons from mirroring the experience of other nations exclusively in a climate of peace. Thus, we should be just as vigilant, just as diligent as they. For we too, exist with Japan in the Pacific ring of fire. And our Responsible State too, alongside Japan, exists with the same mandate to preserve the promise and the dignity of our citizens.
I realize we have found ourselves on opposite sides with the Japanese during WWII but the past is most certainly the past. We can neither live in the past as human beings nor build upon it as human nations. We have to address the issues, where they exist, in the prevailing climate of the present time as if the past has truly passed us away forever because it has.
Once you have made the choice for peace - at a time, times and half-a-time - there can be no more looking back. If we are to throw off the tyranny of war and to pass over the oppression of its shadow there can be no more division in the heart this time. The justice that we serve (and that serves us) is not animated by anger nor served by division.
Now, there was a certain amount of fear in my own nation about the news received yesterday of the earthquake and the consequent tsunami in Japan. Everyday people were talking about it. This fear is healthy. No nation desires to be hurt in its soul by a disaster of this magnitude.
It was unfounded as well. We did not sustain any damage at all from the tsunami waves that ripped all about the Pacific rim as well as the Island nations all across it. We should be thankful and glad for ourselves and fear God Whose pleasure it is to save and to strengthen us.
There was even a certain amount of religious suspicion that blindly invoked the wrath of God upon our kindred Japanese nation. Now, was God punishing Japan then? No.
The burden of these times is one of expectation and not of judgment. If it were not, would any nation survive? Which of us is not guilty of war in the heart? Indeed, we should be thankful and glad for ourselves and fear God Whose pleasure it is to save and to strengthen us. Let us pray then to God for the strength to persevere in our choice to follow the path of peace.
Let us be always reminded of this, brothers and sisters. Let us always be reminded in our heart of hearts that these are the times - the favorable season for peace - when we should be rightly guided by the brightness of our hopes - dreaming as nations together this time - and not find ourselves sunk again into the dismal depths of despair, utterly mired in the poverty of war and division, caught in the gravity of the void. Indeed, all of this, my dear friends, should help us to overcome the inertia of the last 2000 years - together this time.
Having said all that, Japan has still sustained massive damage. And it is really a terrible thing indeed. The clean up itself, it was further reported, could run into the billions.
I bid us all, my honorable compatriots, to pray for the victims of this latest tragedy to befall our one family of nations. And to do all that we can to extend to the Japanese nation our sincerest sympathies and willing help.
Then we must do all that we must, as far as we can, to carry on with the task of peace-building set before our hearts and our hands by God. That we may in the near future realistically look forward to being more enabled, empowered and equipped to extend such a help to our fellow citizens abroad (as in the case of our merchant mariners who are still being held against their will by pirates in Somalia) and even to our fellow nations whenever and where ever necessary - most especially here, in our own region in Mother Asia, our own local neighborhood with ASEAN.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.
Randomness of Nature