When I saw the awful images of the Japanese tsunami and it's aftermath on TV, I can't begin to describe how I felt - utter bewilderment, loss and desolation, sorrow and grief at such heartrending and devastating scenes. We're lucky in the UK that most of the UK press reports have been factual and informative, but some of the media has been less professional - intrusive and sensationalising reportage, hyperbole and speculative, unsubstantiated rubbish aimed solely at grabbing headlines in order to make money and improve ratings
This is especially true about the nuclear situation in Japan, which is particularly at risk from ill-informed opinion and biased scaremongering. Indeed, in an article entitled What the Media Doesn't Get About Meltdowns, The Atlantic struggles "to find reliable, real-time public information about the rapidly changing Japan nuclear power emergency, amidst a sea of confusing, conflicting and often limited information emanating from sources across the world", and notes that "the media covering the Japan’s nuclear power situation, on the ground and around the globe, face a challenging array of often-unconfirmed information and speculation"
So I did a quick search on the internet for the facts. And what did I find? Page after page of sites that were basically just links to other sites - there's probably a name for this type of site (I can think of a few, but they're not repeatable), but basically people are actually using the tragedy to get traffic to their sites. Can you believe that? I felt certain there must be something positive I could do to help. So when I posted here yesterday it was with the intention of getting the known facts about the tragedy across to as many people as possible, without exploiting the victims, and to increase awareness of the urgent need to raise donations to help the relief effort
I've always donated all my profits to charity, and it's usually cancer charities that benefit, but right now it is the people of Japan who are in the most urgent need of help. Anyway, I sold a necklace and bracelet earlier today, so another donation to the Red Cross is now on its way. The support I've had so far has been really encouraging, and the kindness shown by some has been overwhelming - for example, my very talented fellow Brit Sue, of SoozJewels, has very generously offered to donate some of her gorgeous lampwork glass beads for me to make jewelry in aid of the relief effort. Sue has written a Help for Japan blog post about what some of our fellow crafters in the UK are doing to support the cause. So, from very humble beginnings, my little campaign is now gathering momentum
And in the meantime, I came across this excellent blog post: Some Perspective On The Japan Earthquake written by Patrick McKenzie. Patrick lives in Gifu, Japan and runs a software business and his clear perspective on the situation is both enlightening and reassuring: "The overwhelming response of Japanese engineering to the challenge posed by an earthquake larger than any in the last century was to function exactly as designed. Millions of people are alive right now because the system worked and the system worked and the system worked. " Patrick's article also clears up a lot of the nonsense that even now is being aired about the nuclear situation
As I write, another explosion has occured at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant although the reactors are said to be undamaged. The Tokyo stock market has plummeted, while food, water and fuel are in short supply in some areas and part of Japan is without power. Yet as the search for survivors continues, there are occasional snippets of good news, as these photos of rescues show. Some people are lucky enough to have been reunited with family members thought to have been lost to the tsunami, and there is the wonderful story of 60 year old Hiromitsu Shinkawa, who was rescued several miles out to sea after surviving by clinging onto part of the roof of his destroyed home. Please keep the people of Japan in your thoughts and prayers