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Spanish-Speaking Bloggers React to Earthquake in Japan

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake which shook Japan on March 11th has provoked reactions from Spanish-speaking bloggers from all over the world.

Photo by Roberto Maxwell (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The blog Recursos de Autoayuda [es] (Self-help Tools) comments on the reaction of the Japanese:

Hay algo que me llama la atención de los japoneses tras semejante desgracia: la dignidad y calma con la que interiorizan el dolor. Se aferran a su código interno de conducta (disciplina y orden) y se ponen manos a la obra para salir adelante. Es un pueblo que durante milenios ha estudiado como canalizar su energía interior (el Chi) y por naturaleza son muy introspectivos. Esto se nota en la reacción de Japón tras el terremoto. [El énfasis es del autor]

One thing which strikes me about the Japanese following such a great disaster: the dignity and calm with which they internalise their pain. They cling to their internal code of conduct (discipline and order) and they put their shoulders to the wheel in order to get through. This is a population which has studied how to channel its internal energy (the Chi [es]) for millennia, and which is introspective by its very nature. These characteristics are evident in Japan's reaction to the earthquake. [author's emphasis]

Nora, in her blog Una Japonesa en Japón, [es] (A Japanese Girl in Japan) recounts what she has experienced in the last few days and her opinion on the difference between reports appearing in traditional media sources and the reality on the ground:

Los que vivimos en Tokyo y los alrededores, sentimos el terremoto y lo pasamos mal, muy mal, pero hay gente que quiere transmitir lo que no es, que confunde la situación de las ciudades verdaderamente afectadas con la tranquilidad que hay en la capital. La situación en Tokyo no es del todo normal, siguen las réplicas, tenemos cortes de luz, los trenes funcionan en horarios determinados para ahorrar energía, pero no es lo que dice la prensa amarillista ni lo que están transmitiendo algunas personas. Espero que sepan a quién leer y qué leer, y espero que puedan informarse bien.

Those of us living in Tokyo and the surrounding area felt the earthquake, and we were really, really scared, but there are people who are trying to make more of it than it really was, confusing the situation of those towns which were really affected with the calm which exists in the capital. The situation in Tokyo is not completely normal, there are still aftershocks, powercuts, fewer trains are running to save energy, but it's not what the tabloid press and some people are making out. I hope people know who to read and what to read, and that they can inform themselves properly.

The blog Nipoc published an open letter [es] sent by Spanish citizens living in Japan.

Somos un grupo de españoles que actualmente está viviendo en Japón, nos hemos propuesto escribir esta carta pública a los medios con la intención de criticar la forma en la que el periodismo está tratando las noticias sobre el terremoto, el tsunami y los posteriores problemas en la central nuclear de Fukushima y Japón en general

We are a group of Spaniards who are currently living in Japan, and we have decided to write this open letter to the media in order to criticise the way in which journalists are dealing with news on the earthquake, the tsunami and the subsequent problems at the Fukushima nuclear reactor and in Japan in general.

Juan Cruz, in his blog Mira que te lo tengo dicho [es] (I've Told You A Thousand Times), explains the debate surrounding nuclear energy:

El accidente nuclear que ha venido aparejado a la tremenda consecuencia del seísmo y del tsunami convierte ahora el debate sobre ese tipo de energia en un endiablado conflicto que no se liquidará tan solo con las seguridades científicas acerca del control que se establece sobre los peligros que entrañan estas centrales.

The nuclear accident which has come about at the same time as the terrible aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunami transforms the debate on this type of energy into a thorny conflict which will not be easily dismissed with the assertions of scientists that the dangers presented by these stations are fully under control.

In 1986, the greatest nuclear disaster in history occurred in Pripyat, Ukraine: Chernobyl [es]. However, 300 families who decided to return to their homes now live there. The case of Chernobyl has once again become a subject of discussion following the Japanese earthquake, where the risk of fire in nuclear power stations near Fukushima has revived the debate on nuclear energy. The journalist Alvaro Colmer Moreno in his blog Frente al escritorio [es] (In Front Of My Desk) shares an article which he wrote for the newspaper La Vanguardia [es] in April 2006, in which he recounts the story of Chernobyl and the current situation:

Y, sin embargo, ahí vive gente. Algún tiempo después de que el gobierno decretara la evacuación sin condiciones de los 350.000 soviéticos que vivían en la ‘Zona de Exclusión’, varios centenares de personas decidieron regresar a sus antiguas poblaciones aun a riesgo de perecer a causa de la radiación. En un principio, las autoridades sanitarias prohibieron tal retorno e incluso instalaron una alambrada alrededor del área afectada. Pero la gente se las ingeniaba para regresar a casa y al final, viendo que aquello se convertía en el juego del gato y el ratón, el ejército permitió que esos ciudadanos volvieran a ocupar un territorio a todas luces contaminado.

And yet, people live there. Some time after the government ordered the unconditional evacuation of the 350,000 soviets who lived in the ‘Exclusion Zone’, several hundred people decided to return to their former settlements despite the risk of death as a result of radiation. At first, the health authorities prohibited return and even constructed a wire fence around the affected area. But people managed to return home and in the end, realising that it was becoming a game of cat and mouse, the army allowed these citizens to occupy an area which was obviously contaminated.

Natural disasters happen all over the world. Every year extreme weather events remind us that nature is alive. Rain, floods, the La Niña and El Niño phenomena, earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Every year, Bolivia suffers flooding with the February rains, and 2011 was no exception. In Brazil, Global Voices, through Debora Baldelli tells us about the events of early 2011. In Argentina, in the province of Santiago del Estero, nature also attacks provoking flooding and avalanches, according to the blog No queremos inundarnos [es] (We Don't Want To Be Flooded) created by a group of neighbours who are trying to reduce their vulnerability to these natural phenomena.

A child in his home- photo: Laura Schneider

After reviewing news of various disasters around the world and most recently in Japan, the question which arises is: faced with a disaster, would you abandon your home? Exactly this question is also posed by Omaladed on the blog Historias de la ciencia [es] (Stories Of Science) where he explains the effects of radioactivity and whether evacuation is justified or not:

la probabilidad de contraer cáncer de aquellas personas pasó de ser del 20% al 21,8%. Ahora os traslado la pregunta. Si os dijeran a vosotros que la zona en la que vivís que en lugar de tener un 20% de probabilidades de contraer un cáncer es de un 21,8%, ¿abandonaríais vuestras casas?

The probability of contracting cancer rises from 20% to 21.8%. So I'll turn the question around. If they told you that in the area you live in, you had a 21.8% chance of contracting cancer instead of 20%, would you abandon your homes?

Photo by Roberto Maxwell (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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