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Saturday, January 01, 2005


Kevin Kim

The headline looks like a silly provocation more than anything else. Asians play the recrimination game just as much as other cultures do. If the reporter hasn't found (m)any people railing against God, it should be remembered that (1) quite a few of the Asians affected by the tsunami (such as Sinhala Buddhists in Sri Lanka) aren't theistic, and (2) those that ARE theistic tend not to believe in the Judeo-Christian God: they're theistic Hindus, as in India and the Tamil part of Sri Lanka; or they're Muslims, as in Indonesia.

What's more-- you can find plenty of American Christians who exhibit the same fatalism when dealing with tragedy: "Bonnie Jo's cancer was God's will," etc. Such an attitude isn't unique to Asia.

So in the end, I think the headline (which might have been written by an editor and not the reporter who wrote the article) amounts to a silly claim intended to provoke rather than to enlighten.



I don't read Powell's visit with Annan as smoothing ruffled feathers at the UN, especially coming as it does from a true diplomatic lame duck and only after the President's curt dismissals of the criticism of US efforts earlier levelled by UN spokeman Egeland. The whole political dimension of this trafic episode is shaping up is shaping up as a very deliberate and thorough rejection by the US of UN "leadership" in favor of international coalitions among the truly like-minded - to which I say hurrah!

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