Not long after, on Friday March 11th, 2011, Japan suffered from an enormous 8.9 magnitude earthquake which in turn triggered multiple aftershocks, tsunamis, fires, power outages and even threatening system failures at a Japanese nuclear power plant.
I have refrained until now from writing on the topic because I feel very strongly about the subject... but after the kind emails, Facebook messages, and so on that I have received from friends and family... I decided that I would like to say a few words.
First, I would like to record this in my blog - for me. To remember...
Secondly, for those who have inquired about my health, safety and welfare - thank you.
Please know that I am completely fine.
More importantly than both of those points, I am sincerely heartbroken for the people of Japan. I do not pretend to know what it is like to experience such hardships. I can only imagine, and that will never match the true reality.
I am located much closer to Japan now than I would be if I were still in the US. I read the news and keep up with the latest updates as much as possible - and enough to know that life goes on unaffected here in Taiwan. We had little to no tsunami damage and we are well beyond the area that may possibly be affected by the nuclear radiation. We have had no increase in radiation levels in our country, and even passengers traveling to and from Japan are now routinely scanned at each airport for radiation levels - the results show that none have been exposed to any levels dangerous to human health. Watching the news is frightening. It reminds me that I am grateful to be alive, to be healthy, and to be able to say the same about everyone near and dear to me.
However, I am personally offended by the American media who have turned the story into a frenzy of fear and anxiety in the United States. I am here, so nearby... and yet I read stories about the Americans who have started taking Iodine pills? Who fear radiation in parts of the United States?
This is not happening to You.
It is instead about a country that is now 1/4 uninhabitable due to natural disasters. It is about 8,000 graves and counting that will be dug in a very short period of time. 8,000+ families mourning. 13,000+ families still crying themselves to sleep at night because their loved ones are missing and may never be found. Survivors who saw their loved ones swept away into the ocean. It is about hundreds of Japanese workers who are risking their own health, happiness, their lives, to ensure that the radiation levels never reach other peoples beyond their borders..... The Japanese have stayed strong, brave and dignified in these scary and horrifying times.
In my heart I wish that I could go there. That I could do more. [I have already looked into this as much as I could] But the reality is, I cannot. I can respect them. I can mourn with them. I will continue to pray for the Japanese people and their ability to move forward and overcome the devastation that has befallen them.And I can donate money - because I want to help, and that is the one way I am able.