13.3.11

This corrupt landlocked country

The earthquake in Japan is a horrifying reminder of how pitiful human endeavour stands when nature throws a blow. We strive constantly to mould our environment into a perfect world – perfect for humans - but we are, in the end, a minor irritation that has existed for only a fraction of our planet’s history. Whatever we do, however much we pollute, irradiate and warm our world, short of blowing it to smithereens, we will be seen off eventually and we will become the dinosaurs of a new species, the dust of future deserts and the molecules of tomorrow’s chemical soups.

That said, it sad to see the residents of one of the most technologically advanced societies reduced to fetching water to flush their toilets and queuing for drinking water. It may be a reminder of how precarious is our position as human beings but it should also remind us of the importance of a government and civil service that fulfils its designated duty.

A Facebook friend joked “See why I still got to love this corrupt landlocked country” (Zambia, in reference to the Japanese Tsunami.) Our Zambian government watches, uninterested, as slums and substandard housing grows in its towns and cities and yet washes its hands of the victims of the government’s ineptitude and ennui. The conditions that cause flooding and water borne diseases are never addressed, action is only taken when lives and livelihoods are already lost and losing popular support looms. It is safe to say that if Zambia ever suffered an event of this magnitude, we would be doomed. 

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Photographs; New York Times

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