Monday, May 11, 2009

China's Unnatural Disaster

It was particularly heart-rending to watch HBO's China's Unnatural Disaster, The Tears of Sichuan Province on a Mother's Day weekend. All around me are the signs of celebration of the mother and her motherhood - which despite its Hallmark holiday status is still rather poignant. To watch greiving parents of dead children on such a day is extremely sobering. It forces you to count your blessings, treasure the children you are fortunate to be the parents of.

The film follows a group of villagers who lost their children (often the only one they had) in the Sichaun earthquake of 2007. The parents take their protest to the regional capital of Sichua after the local government officials turn a deaf ear to their demand of justice. They blame the disproprionately high death toll of children trapped and buried under school buildings to their shoddy construction and on local officials who allowed these buildings to pass inspection.

The parents fight as hard and as long as they can but the political machinery they are up against is altogether too powerful to move let alone overcome. Justice is meted out in the end (if a compensation of $8800 per dead child can be regarded as such) but hardly to the satisfaction of the bereaved parents. There is no admission of lapse or wrong doing, let alone a public apology. That these parents share their tragic story with the world or are even able to do so cannot be discounted in terms of significance but it would not restore to them what they lost - specially because the loss was not entirely due to an act of God.

1 comment:

ggop said...

I don't know why nations can't apologize to their own people for mismanagement. Did Dubya et al apologize for Katrina?