(This entry is being written at 11:00 AM March Tenth 2013 in Denver time, but at 2:00 AM Japan Standard Time, if my Mac's clocks are correct, which they may not be. )
Two years later. . .according to the Japanese National Police Agency, fifteen thousand, eight hundred and eighty one people died, Two thousand six hundred and sixty-eight people are still missing. I can’t even approach what this number means in any sensible, respectful manner. Expressions of sorrow are useless, and any attempt at trying to make sense of the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami just leave me sandblasted with grief.
Eighteen thousand five hundred and forty-nine people, gone. How many thousands more feel this loss, the emptiness of their family, friends, and loved ones missing? I can’t say. I don’t know. and to be honest, in the light of what happened, my feelings are mostly irrelevant. I think everyone who knows me can figure out that this tragedy bothers me very much, but really, I didn’t lose anyone I knew. None of my family died. What right do I have to grieve over eighteen thousand strangers? I don’t want to co-opt the events. I lend my efforts, my voice to trying to make a difference, to try to get the folks who think nuclear energy is really safe to wake up and see maybe it’s not as safe as we like to think. The lost people of Tōhoku deserve a better memorial than anything I can give them, but there are still, still politicians who are trying to push ahead with dangerous policies that disrespect the lives lost, in my humble opinion.
Thankfully there are still people out there giving voice to the truths of life after the disaster, people like investigative journalist-author Jake Adelstein who keep companies and politicians like TEPCO in the hot seat with measurably useful coverage. There’s Abiko Free Press and the Reconstructing Japan project, which is the sort of follow-up to the Quakebook project I was involved in. They recently announced something new(ish.) There’s also the APRICOT Project, which I don’t know that much about beyond the fact that they are a volunteer group offering free counseling to the children of Tōhoku. There are countless other efforts doing a much better job than I ever could of staying committed to meaningfully telling the stories and helping the people affected.
As for me? 3.11.2013 will be a day of silence, I think.