The Tsunami

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The NY Times may have lots of faults, but it’s still the greatest newspaper in the world. By far. I’ve now read countless stories about the tsunami, but this epic and breathtaking article is the best. It may sound insensitive to say at this time, but one day this is going to be a very intense book and movie — the sheer drama of what went on all around the world as the tragedy unfolded is breathtaking. Terrifying, terrible, unbearable, but breathtaking in terms of dramatic intensity.

Of course, while all hell broke loose our president was clearing brush at his Crawford ranch, and took 72 hours to speak out. Our man of action and daring.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 12 Comments

I saw one clip of two desperate people trying to get to a porch of a hotel. They were temporarily blocked from the water by some debris. I was expecting them to make it to the porch, but I was wrong. The debris that was protecting them collapsed — and they were gone. It was so shocking and unexpected on my part (too many movies with happy endings) that I just gasped and then realized I had tears running down my face.

To put the astonishing deaths in perspective (for American minds), the number of people lost to date, is loosely equal to 50 sets of World Trade Centers falling on sept 11th. I know people of this blog are aware of this comparison. But, I don’t feel that most people in the U.S. truly understand the vast scope of this tragedy. Maybe it’s just the people I work with, but I’m not feeling a community of compassion. I don’t think I’ve even heard one person speaking about this when I’ve been around town.

January 1, 2005 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

Americans have a tendency to not get so interested when the victims are mainly brown people. Sad but true. On the other hand, many, many Americans have given generously and it’s certainly the No. 1 topic on the blogs this week. So at least there’s a balance.

January 1, 2005 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

#1 on the blogs, that’s good news.

It’s probably just the people who surround me — sounds snobby, but they aren’t “Globers!”

January 1, 2005 @ 8:56 pm | Comment

“Of course, while all hell broke loose our president was clearing brush at his Crawford ranch, and took 72 hours to speak out. Our man of action and daring.”

I hardly think that even the evangelicals expect him to part the waters or create a rainbow.

Unless you’re an Indymedia reader and think he’s an earthquake machine hidden away somewhere.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/12/303223.html

January 2, 2005 @ 11:31 am | Comment

Peter, he could have SAID something. Don’t be an ass — I never said he could stop the earthquake. But he could have expressed sympathy as nearly every other leader did. Face it, he screwed up big time and this yet another big embarrassment for the US.

January 2, 2005 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

Richard,
I agree with your comment that the Prez could at least have issued a quick statement. More evidence that George W. is only a mediocre politician. I totally disagree with your snipe that Americans tend not to get interested when the victims are brown. Last Thursday morning, to break the tedium of running up my local mountain, I went down to Yongsan garrison to run with the troops. (Something I get away with as a retired soldier) In any event, it was zero-dark-thirty, and as I wandered through the ranks looking for someone I knew, I overheard a lot of comments from American soldiers that the news media was concentrating too much on the tourists, and not showing enough of the locals who had suffered the most from this disaster. While there were some Singhs, Parks, Chens, and Nguyens in the ranks, the majority of these troops were representative of “middle america”. Assuming that their comments and concerns were representative of their families and communities, your comment is grossly incorrect.

January 2, 2005 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

Lirelou, in an earlier post I commented on this. There’s always going to be anecdotal evidence to prove eitgher side, but here’s what I wrote in response to a commenter who was surprised so few Americans knew anything about the Nanking Massacre:

“I was never taught about the Rape of Nanking in school either. This has to do with something called “the ethnic phenomenon,” and it actually merits a whole separate post. I’ll try to explain it as best I can.”

“The ethnic phenomenon dictates that by our very nature, we have a different level of sympathy and empathy with people of our own ethnicity than we do those of other ethnicities. This is clearly manifested all the time. The average American, for example, will have much more of an emotional reaction to news of a train derailment in England that kills 30 than they would to news of a ferry in Bangladesh sinking and killing 300. (These ferry tragedies always appear in the back of the paper in a very short story; the European accidents often go on page one.) No matter how atrocious the Nazis were, I do not believe the US would ever have considered dropping a nuclear weapon on Germany. The horrific firebombing of Dresden is still looked at as one of the most terrible thing the Allies did in the war — a tragic mistake. And more American have empathy for those German families who were incincerated that night than they do for the Japanese families who perished in numbers far greater in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Due to this single fact, that they were Asians who were butchered in Nanjing, the sympathy and interest level among most non-Asians plunges. Of course, this is not a Western sickness. It applies to most ethnicities I believe.”

“For anyone skeptical, just think about how the most powerful nations have reacted to AIDS in Africa and genocide in Rwanda. They express their deep concern, of course, but they haven’t been moved to do very much about it. When crises involving even a tiny fraction of those numbers occur in a country of the same ethnicity, the reaction is altogether different. Sad but true, this is just a part of human nature; we tend to watch out for our own.”

January 2, 2005 @ 6:49 pm | Comment

Yes, I agree with you again Richard.

It is also worth noting the fact that the United States and its so-called “coalition of the willing” have in the last 600 days or so murdered an estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians (also a HUGE number of victims) – this figure was published not so long ago in The Lancet (the world’s most prestigious medical journal), and although it was reported in the Western press, you had to really look for it hard, as it was usually hidden away somewhere around mid-paper.

Once again, we are not encouraged to empathise or to sympathise with those innocents whom we knowingly slaughter. They are largely hidden from us, ignored by the corporate media – de-humanised by being dismissed as “collateral damage”.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 4, 2005 @ 1:09 am | Comment

Absolutely true, just as the peasants of Vietnam were generally ignored, and the list goes on and on.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:09 am | Comment

CHINESE COMMUNITIES URGED TO PROTEST ABOUT RACIST TSUNAMI SONG

The Chinese Community in the United Kingdom have been urged to show solidarity with Chinese Americans in New York and protest at the cruel and racist ‘Tsunami Song’ aired on Hot 97, the hip hop radio station in New York.

Chinese Americans have been demonstrating outside the Hot 97 radio station in New York after the racist song attacked the tsunami affected countries. Chinese American councillors of New York City Council have also joined in the demonstrations.

People in the wider wider Asian Community in the United Kingdom have been appalled by the song and they have been denouncing the cruel and racist Tsunami Song by Miss Jones and Todd Lynn aired over Hot 97, the hip hop radio station in New York.

The news of Hot 97′s racist tsunami song is filtering through to the tsunami hit countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, South India. People are incensed at the song which goes beyond human decency. The governments of the tsunami hit region have been urged to take the matter up with the US Government as it insults the deaths of so many tsunami victims.

Chinese Americans and other Asian Communities have joined hundreds of Asians in the demonstrations in New York supported by New York City Councillors.

Here are the lyrics:

TSUNAMI SONG

Date aired: Morning of January 18TH-27TH 2005 (multiple airings)
Station call letters: WQHT-New York (Hot 97)
Offending DJs: Miss Jones and Todd Lynn
Offending lyrics:

“There was a time, when the sun was shining bright
So I went down to the beach to catch me a tan
Then the next thing I knew
A wave 20 feet high came and wash your country away
And all at once, you can hear the screaming chinks.
And then no one was save from the wave.
There was Africans drowning, little Chinaman swept away
You can heard god laughing, swim you bitches swim.

So now you’re screwed, it’s the tsunami,
You better run and kiss your ass awake, go find your mommy
I just saw her float by, a tree right through her head.
And now your children will be sold in child slavery.

(Imitating Micheal Jackson)
“Oh on, please not the kids. I’ll pay for all the kids.
all the little Indonesian kid, the little Asian kids, the Chinese kids.
the black, oh well, not the Black kids.
the White kids, the Puerto Rican kids.
I love them all. I’ll pay for everything.
I promise I won’t touch them.”

Chinese Communities all over the world wishing to protest are requested to write to their local American Embassy and to -

HOT 97
395 Hudson St. 7th Fl.
New York, NY 10014

HOT 97 E-mail
hot97@hot97.com

February 3, 2005 @ 6:55 am | Comment

British Parliamentarians have raised the issue of the racist Tsunami Song aired over Hot 97 the hip hop radio station. The song was blatantly racist and was a slur against the tsunami victims. Sri Lanka lost well over 40,000 people in the disaster. Over 2 million have been made homeless. No one is laughing in the tsunami hit countries

Hot 97′s Tsunami Song laughed at the deaths of tens of thousands of people who perished as a result of the terrible tsunami of 26th December 2004 which devastated Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South India, Thailand, Maldives, Andaman Islands and even affected Malasiya and Myanmar. It was the world’s worst natural disaster.

Asians all over the world joined with people in New York, protesting against the racism of Hot 97.

US President George Bush has been urged to take action against Emmis Radio and Hot 97 for bringing America into disrepute.

Emmis Radio have only suspended Miss Jones for two weeks despite her racist outbursts and being a willing singer of the Tsunami Song. People in the UK are calling for the resignation of Miss Jones. Others have even called for the resignation of Richard Cummings, President of Emmis Radio for ignoring the cruel song which was aired for over a week on Hot 97 radio.

Now British parliamentarians- of all parties – have deplored the Tsunami Song in an early day motion tabled in the House of Commons in the Palace of Westminster.

EDM 638 states:

HOT 97′S RACIST TSUNAMI SONG

‘That this House deplores the racist Tsunami Song aired on Hot 97 radio station in New York; calls upon Richard Cummings, President of Emmis Radio, to take firm action against those who aired the song beyond the temporary suspension; and commends the heartfelt tsunami song composed by British Sri-Lankan Nimal Mendis….. ‘

The early day motion was sponsored by the highly influential British Parliamentarian, Linda Perham MP for Ilford North.

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=638

February 6, 2005 @ 1:44 am | Comment

I want to start off by paying respects to all that perish in the tsunami. But how can people be so heartless about these kinds of events? That is nothing to joke or poke fun at. I mean, who in their right mind sits down and makes a song up about that. Get a fucking life. Shit like this makes me embarrassed to be American sometimes…and the government wonders why half the world wants to blow us up. And to the person that commented about Americans not caring when it comes to brown skin, so true. Look at Hurricane Katrina…ridiculous!

September 14, 2006 @ 12:20 pm | Comment

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