I don't normally rant on here - I save that sort of thing for the home front. However, and you knew with an opening sentence like that there was a however coming, comments on a news story on the CBC website yesterday had me incensed to the point of ranting and almost raving. And I figured I should get it out of my system before Laurent gets home.
A look at the IRIS website shows that there have been numerous earthquakes around the world in the past two weeks. Many have been minor or in regions where damage has been minimal but several have caused loss of human life and habitation. Here in Italy there have been tremors the past 14 days in the L'Aquila region just north of us - the last one on Monday evening a full week after the first. As most of you have seen that the devastation has been incredible.
The CBC was reporting on a series of quakes (5.5 and 5.1) in a rural area of Afghanistan about 80 kilometers east of Kabul. Though the figures were nowhere close to those in Italy two villages where badly hit with 22 dead and about 200 homes (mostly made of dried mud) destroyed. And because the area is isolated and mountainous aid workers were having some difficulty in getting to the region.
What absolutely stunned me were the numerous vile comments made by readers. A number of people - Canadians mostly - were making statements that showed a level of ignorance and lack of compassion that astounded me. People in my country - my country that I have always been proud of for its caring and understanding of the world - were saying things that make me ashamed of being a Canadian.
It's God's punishment for their treatment of women," countered by "They don't believe in God, they believe in Allah." or ""Hehehehe!!!! Good ole earth quakes eh!!! The country and the people are straight out of the stone age." or "Canada send no aid it is allah's will." and "Hope there are more earthquakes to come but its a good start. Mother nature has its way of dealing with the weak." And one bright soul remarked on the stupidity of constructing houses of dried mud in an earthquake zone.
I am wondering how many people left this sort of comment when the earthquakes hit us here Italy? Not many from what I recall, most of the comments were of support and concern. But surely if an earthquake is God's punishment on one people it is his punish to all people. Or because we are a Catholic Christian country was it not a punishment but a terrible misfortune?
Yes, much about the treatment of women is not right in Afghanistan but I find it strange that the God these commentors invoke takes his anger out on two small villages in the mountains. Surely that vengeful anger (very Old Testement almost stone age) should be directed somewhat higher up the chain? And to the person who wrote "They don't believe in God only in Allah," Allah is the word for God in Arabic, as in Italian they use Dio, in French Dieu or in Russian Бог . In fact if you did a bit of research you would find that an Arab-speaking Christian and Jew would use Allah when referring to God. And in Malta God is referred to, in a Christian context, as Alla. Oh and by the way the Allah that is prayed to derives from the same God that Christians and Jews worship.
As for the use of dried mud to build houses - if you want to get picky bricks are nothing but dried mud. And as surprising as it may seem there are places in the world where they don't have a ready supply of wood or reinforced concrete to use in building. And even those materials, as witness the modern buildings lying in heaps of rubble in the Abruzzo, don't guarantee that a structure can withstand the force of an earthquake. And as for not building in an earthquake zone, tell that to people living in California or Ottawa for that matter.
And having just experienced an earthquake and 8 after shocks I can only say to those who wish it on others, I sincerely hope you never find yourself wakened from your sleep to find the world around you heaving and rolling. It is a very frightening experience. Or even worse, as the people of L'Aquila and Afghanistan have done, I pray to God/Allah/Бог that you never have to watch as a relative or loved one's smashed body is removed from a collapsed building which was once your home.
And I am left wondering what punishment God/Alla/Dio has for those who lack compassion or understanding?
19 aprile - Sant'Ermogene