Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mythical perceptions of nature and survival

Mythical perceptions of nature and survival

Al Makin, Yogyakarta | Mon, 11/08/2010 9:56 AM | Opinion, The Jakarta Post
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Keep in mind that the victims of natural disasters in Indonesia, such as the floods in Wasior, Papua, the tsunami in Mentawai, West Sumatra, and the volcanic eruption of Mount Merapi in Central Java, were not sinful people.

They did nothing wrong. Nor did they commit adultery or any other evil deeds. These disasters were not God’s punishment.

Thus, insensitive remarks made by Tifatul Sembiring, the current communications and information Technology Minister, are absolutely unsympathetic. He said moral “depravity and decadence” had led to the natural catastrophes. This is simply a delusion.

Once again, the victims, like all Indonesians, are innocent people, but were plagued by misery, and because of this we have to extend our hands to help them. Condolences should be conveyed. Those who were drowned in the flood, swept by away by mountain-like waves, and burned by hot lava and ash were not punished because of their wrongdoings.

Remember that the most devastating disaster in the country’s history was the tsunami that hit Aceh five years ago. But that happened neither because the people were rebellious to the central government in Jakarta nor because they failed to enact Sharia law as they do now. In this case, religious norms and ethics are not the root causes.

It is true that certain natural catastrophes, such as global warming and flooding in Jakarta, were the consequences of mischievous human behavior. Man has somehow contributed to these miseries. We mankind are not committed enough to keep the balance of our ecosystem.



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