Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Spectrum of Humanity

If there is one thing surviving a natural disaster (or two, although I don't mean to boast) teaches you, it is that humanity spans the gamut from the zenith of nobility to the nadir of venality.


Having lived on this planet for 54 years now, I long realised this was the case but extreme events serve to throw this concept into the full glare of the philosophical spotlight.


Here in Christchurch, we have seen countless acts of selfless heroism and everyday decency. We have been helped by neighbours we didn't know beforehand and strangers who came from all over New Zealand and all over the globe to help us simply because we were their fellow humans. I had a long talk with a man called Kevin who delivered to me a composting toilet at no charge. Kevin was a builder from Lower Hutt and he told me that when he saw the earthquake happen on TV, he didn't think just putting $10 in a bucket was enough. He got on an Interisland ferry and brought his pickup truck down filled with his tools and he started helping in any way he could. People like Kevin bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye and I'm not ashamed to admit that. People like Kevin and all the people who have helped myself and my family in ways small and large since the earthquake make me proud to be part of the human race. Their daily acts of kindness magnify like a rippling pool and all decent people who receive this kindness go out and propagate that kindness to others. Decency, love, compassion and kindness spread in a way I wish they could spread everyday in every corner of the world.


If only this love could spread out to Libya and everywhere where people are struggling for basic human dignity.


At the other end of the spectrum, those who could be exported to Libya to act as human shields and cannon fodder for the freedom fighters struggling to overthrow the madman, Gaddafi, are: the looters who take advantage of abandoned homes and businesses in Christchurch, the heartless profiteers who massively hiked up the prices of basic commodities or much-needed items such as generators (some were so-called respectable companies), the arsonist who torched a man's home while he was away seeking respite from the earthquake, the people who posed as needy and were given free goods at Recovery Centres only to go and onsell these goods in their dairys and last, but not least, the career criminals from outside Christchurch who took advantage of Air New Zealand's generous offer of $50 airfares to fly into Christchurch to do some looting and then fly out again with their ill-gotten gains. May you all rot in hell!

2 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard the stories about the rotten types taking advantage of other people's misery. I was going to say "unbelievable!" but sadly it isn't.
    We all dream that your wonderful family will decide to move here...

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  2. Well, I lived there before and it would not really be a hardship to do so again. You will have found that the "Sandgropers" are a fairly laidback and friendly bunch when you get beneath the Aussie exo-skeleton.

    EEEEEEKKK!!! aftershock happening

    Now...where were we?

    I think, at heart, Christine is a Mainland girl and strong family bonds girl who probably wouldn't be happy in WA even though she lived in Perth briefly in 1985.

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