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28 December 2004

Words fail me

The tsunami. Possibly 50,000 dead in a few days time. A disaster that cuts across nations, continents even. When things happen on this scale, you wonder why we humans bothered to tote water uphill, plant seeds, invent language, make art. This would probably have happened anyway, and then there would have been fewer people in the affected areas to die, and none of us in the rest of the world would have known about it. It almost makes you want to be an innocent pre-verbal being. Because what can you say or think, with this great big brain of yours? You can't even rage against man's inhumanity, because this is apparently God's inhumanity. I shall read Job, and try once again to understand. Speaking of words, that word "disaster" is interesting. The "dis" is obvious, the "aster" is like in asteroid or astronomy. Well, more like in astrology. The stars are not working, or not working the way we think they ought to. They have thousands of astrologers in India and consult them for marriages, trips, career choices. Indonesia is full of superstitions that govern thought the way TV governs our thoughts here in the developed world. But no one saw this one coming, did they?

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