Friday, December 26, 2003

A National Catastrophe

Cut short a visit out of town to return home to be alone. The scenes of carnage are absolutely devastating. Bam, a historic city of 80000 in the southeast of Iran, lies in ruin. Many thousands were killed while asleep; countless others injured. Unknown numbers remain still trapped under the rubble.

There are episodes that leave one sympathetic with Shikibu’s lamentations that although certain events always happened and will continue to happen, “the natural order of thing” simply remains unacceptable. The numbing grief one feels can only engender tear and sorrow. The only other viable reaction is fury.

Of the agony of my fellow citizens, I can only say this. I should simply repeat-- only repeat Job’s eternally evocative lamentations (19:21-24):

Have pity on me, have pity on me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.
Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

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