This blog has been critical of certain policies of the Chinese State in the past and still disapproves of those policies. Leaving that aside for the moment, this is a small gesture of solidarity for the citizens of China in their troubles.
There can be very few anywhere who are unaware of the tragedy of the massive earthquake and the accompanying aftershocks still unfolding there, or the dreadful loss of life, especially amongst so many children.
It is a hideous blow to those who have lost loved ones, parents, children, their homes and possessions, families riven. For them right now it may well be difficult to go on. Even for those not directly impacted upon by the quake there will be a mental impact.
There will inevitably be questions about building quality, codes and standards.
And no I have not forgotten about the Burmese cyclone, but the contrast between the reaction of the Chinese State and the Burmese State, in their efforts on behalf of their people is stark.
I heard a General being interviewed yesterday and he was questioned about the loss of some lives amongst the rescuers and he replied that they had been serving the people, so it was worth it. I expect something may have been lost in translation, but I still found myself tending to agree with him.
We seem to expect these days to be coddled and protected by the state from all possible threats. An obsessive health and Safety culture. It distorts our perceptions. No one is capable of doing that. If they tell you they are they are lying. If you believe it you are deluded.
The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes dangerous because it has people in it who don’t see other people as people, or are stupid, selfish and greedy - but also dangerous because there are vast impersonal forces that can snuff any of us out in an instant. And face it who of us are immortal?
Life is a battle against entropy, that sooner or later, individually we will all loose. The trick is to get ahead of the game for long enough to make a difference and springboard the next generation.
It is part of what makes us human that in the face of death and disaster people will risk their own lives to save others, without counting the cost. We often see it in the emergency services, we see it in the armed forces, we see it in individuals. We admire it. Ultimately it is a survival instinct for humanity as a whole. So the General was right.
Here then is a thought for the Citizenry of China. In the end though we may be superficially different in many ways deep down we have much more in common. Many of the differences are learned.
So this post is to express solidarity and sympathy with them.