Thursday, 24 March 2011


I haven't posted about the recent earthquake and tidal wave that hit Japan because I couldn't really think of anything appropriate that I could say about it. It was almost too overwhelming for comment from the opposite side of the world.

The way in which the Japanese people have responded, particularly in the areas directly devastated by the tidal wave, does, I think, set an amazing example to the whole world. They have just got on with things as best they can, responding to four different tragedies (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster and the consequent economic problem,) any one of which would have been a big enough challenge on its own. This report on the BBC news website gives some idea of the response of the people, as do the "In pictures" linked at the bottom of the report.
Japan has never lost its sense of community and in dark times it is shining through.

This nation's great disaster has brought out the best in its people.

My own reflection has been that the Japanese have set the world a wonderful example of what should be intended by the term "social cohesion". It means the ordinary, every day care that we should have for our neighbour. My additional thought has been that this example of social cohesion is not something for which provision could have been made by legislation. It has occurred in circumstances that have been beyond any concept of legal jurisdiction, though the preparation for earthquakes that is part of Japenese life has clearly played its part. This example of social cohesion has occurred at the level of a personal turning from self towards neighbour.

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