Friday, 18 March 2011

Japan versus Haiti

Besides the news on raising nuclear alert levels following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week, the other bit of news that seems to be taking center stage is how Japan is receiving far less in aids/funds compared to Haiti. Really now people! How naive do you have to be to be comparing the two nations? Haiti is the consequence of exploitative neo-liberal bullshit propagated by industrialized nations working to increase profit margins. Japan is the epitome of self reliance and sustainability. It is considered a future super power.

What also has been bothering me is the fact that around 3,500 people are dead from cholera in Haiti. I distinctly remember reading that cholera was spread by UN relief workers who arrived in Haiti from Nepal following the earthquake in Port-au-Prince. But I can't seem to locate the article now. The forecast for Haiti is grim. Researchers are predicting a death toll as high as 10,000 by November this year. The numbers are ironically similar to what is coming out of Japan.

One of the things that always upset me during days as a news person was how news is all about viewer/readership. News organisations are corporations too. News of nuclear radiation (and threats of it reaching as far as the US West Coast) will help hike the price of air time/page space way more than news of damage and destruction from the tsunami. Death tolls and damage is already  'old' news. In a world like this what chance does a country like Haiti stand?

I am not belittling what has happened in Japan. In fact I want to know how the relief/rescue efforts are going? I want to know more about how people can contact their loved ones in the afflicted parts. How are the people faring? Is nuclear radiation the only threat? Are they safe from the cold weather that has hit Japan?

All of this also makes me wonder if it is because the audience, which is you and me, want this kind of sensational, depressing news. Would we listen/read more if the news was more positive? This whole Haiti/Japan business has been bothering me for a few days now. I don't feel better for having gotten it off my chest. But writing about it will probably help me get through the rest of the day. I will be back to pondering this later today much to the annoyance of my Hubby.

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