I am sure that my Japan-side readers caught this piece in the Japan Times. It’s about an elementary school that lost most of its children in the tsunami last month.
The saddest and maybe most embittering part, is that many schools in the area struck by the disaster fared better than this one. And so, the people there, who lost in terrible, terrible ways, have this emptiness, of children gone. But too, are the nagging questions about how it all specifically happened.
As a community, I remember the local, or regional loss that we all felt in 9/11, 10 years ago–which is our reference point for some great tragedy happening out of nowhere. Although the talk, all the high-minded talk, was about how everyone was affected by the event. But that really wasn’t true. There were people who lost, really lost. And then there were those around for whom it was all very upsetting, and very angering, but they did not experience 9/11 the same way as those who truly lost.
That thing got played and played, over and again, for the first half of the 2000’s. Maybe longer, since I left New Jersey in 2005. I am certain that the true victims of 9/11 found at some point, that the difficulty of putting their lives back together were coming from the people who kept on and on about the 9/11. I am sure that was the case for the children who lost parents in 9/11. These yahoos going around saying, “WE MUST NEVER FORGET!!!” as if the rest of us were all stupid or something. Did they really think the victims, and those of us in that place, around the time of 9/11 were ever going to forget?
So in Tohoku, I bet already there is this feeling that the tsunami was a thing that they had happen to them; and the way other people are talking about it, is nothing like what they are feeling. Maybe it is a little bit different a circumstance in Japan, because a tsunami can pretty must hit any coast. The earth just has to move the wrong way. I would bet, though, that the people who are the tsunami’s true surviving victims realize that all of the showy “caring” people around, for the most part, don’t have a clue. Some, in some ways.
I guess this is what you do. You pick up, and you try again. I am sure of it. This is what the people there are doing, and what people do after the tragedy hits. They do it from their own world, which we can only look into.