Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Post-Disaster - Dawn of the bottom feeders
Our resident Badboy mentioned it earlier in his blog as well (see here), but it is something that I feel is important to bring up as well. Foreign media is very keen on simplifying things and make it black and white; still talking about the "doomed Fukushima 50 trying to keep the Fukushima plant under control even though they know they will die" because of the great dramatic setting that this scenario sets even though the connection with the reality is very fleeting.
Also, racism is something that is bound to annoy me. Positive racism is no exception. The foreign media loves to focus on how everyone is behaving calm and orderly with no looting or exploitation of the survivors of the disaster in the worst affected regions. Ok, in terms of magnitude, I think that the Japanese situation has been very mild, partly due to cultural reasons, but also due to the situation. However, stories of looting are now becoming more frequent with people returning to half wrecked homes to watch over their belongings due to a rash of looting in the partially ruined towns.
Something that I consider as bad are the other type of bottom feeders that are now coming the surface now preying on people's fears. Promoting Potassium Iodide as a miracle radiation vaccine for outrageous prices, people collecting money for "charity" (with the concept of "charity begins at my own home") and chain e-mails created just for the purpose of promoting fear with false information.
I think that the people in Japan (foreigners and Japanese alike) can and should take some pride in how calmly this crisis has been met, but to completely portray the situation as "no looting or exploitation at all" is wrong to begin with and in the longer run, does more harm than good to the image of Japan and the Japanese. When there is disasters like this, there will always be scavengers and bottom feeders around to try to take what they can get from people that have already lost almost everything and Japan is no exception.
(this week, baby Sunshine has savagely looted and extorted almost all of my precious sleeping time so I have not been completely shielded either!)