Where there are minor difficulties, there are those who exagerate them into insurmountable catastrophes. Where there are major disasters, there are those who trivialised them.

Some people trivialise by making an international situation reflect their personal gripes. It may be true that corporate greed cause your local bus service to be cut, making you stand for 30 minutes in a bus shelter. But the same greed causes millions to die of AIDS in Africa because they couldn't pay the full (inflated) price for the drugs.

The mass media trivialises an earthquake by focusing on a pair of holidaymakers who escaped.

And then there are the conspiracy theorists and alien colonisation nuts. Here's part of an email I recieved today, from the REDPOLITICS list.

>With a sadistic psychopath surrounded by nazionistic psychopaths
>in the white house, ANY hitherto unthinkable crime can and must
>be considered a realistic possibility.
>Like their test piece, 9/11, a tsunami catastrophe implies very
>great strategic opportunities for their imperial and depopulation
[snip pages of incohearant rambling]

130,000 people dead through a meaningless act of god. No malice, no evil, just geology. The tokenism of help from other governments could indeed be described as evil. But to treat the forces of nature as a manifestation of global greed - that trivialises both the force of the tsunami and the loss of life, by turning both into a finger pointing accusingly at some politicians.

I'm quite fond of dumb conspiracy theories - as a tourist in the land of the mad. They are a good barometer of fashions in obsession and hangups. This kind of thinking was expected, but it's still uncomfortable.

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