Tragedy in Japan sparks determination to help

March 11 was my mom’s birthday. She wanted snow and a call from my brother. What she got was the news that an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami had hit Japan.

Brenna Peters, managing editor, news

I found out about the tragedy very early in the morning. I got up around 6 a.m. to finish homework, and like every morning, I checked my Tumblr right away. There was a message in my ask box from my friend Julia that said a tsunami was headed toward her country. I immediately went to CNN.com to see what was happening in the Philippines. Instead, I found a live-stream of what was happening in Japan. Walls of water were moving through towns and within a minute, I was a sobbing mess.

A few of my co-workers told me that when they heard the news, the first person they thought of was me. That reaction is part of why I feel weird for caring so much. It’s not like I personally know anybody in Japan. I have friends who have Japanese friends, but I have no quantifiable connection to the country. But I feel like it’s my soul’s homeland, and watching the news over that weekend hurt. I cried each time I checked CNN’s website.

While I might care too much, it saddens me that the majority of Americans care far too little. We rushed to donate to Haiti, but we haven’t done much to help Japan. Perhaps many of us have the mindset that Japan is a first-world country that can help itself. But it can’t. According to CNN, there are more than 8,800 dead and close to 13,000 missing. No country is prepared to deal with a disaster like this.

What sickens me more than the apathy is the audacity displayed by some citizens who claim that the tsunami is revenge for Pearl Harbor. They clearly don’t know their history, as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were “revenge” enough. The words I use to describe these people can’t be printed in The Knight, so believe me, my hatred for them runs deep.

My sister even deactivated her Facebook after seeing how her “friends” reacted to the situation. I guess I was lucky that my “Pray for Japan” status was liked by 11 of my friends and that some of them empathized with me.

The disaster may be old news now, but everyone can still help. I’ve made my donation through HitRecord.org and I’m sure I’ll be making another donation soon. But I don’t think a monetary donation is enough. If I can find a way, you can be sure I’ll be heading to Japan to be part of the cleanup. If volunteers are needed, I will be there.

BRENNA PETERS

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