Floods happen, but ...
26 June, 2015
Floods happen, but ...
Georgia is not the only victim of floods and other natural disasters. We are just one of them! Too bad that it has happened to us too, but it is even worse that we have proved to be unable to predict the approaching catastrophe in good time and measure. The rumor has it that prediction was possible although it is not confirmed so far; neither is it established scientifically by any reliable source. But science is so powerful nowadays that most
of the incipient calamities may presumably be preempted. This is at least what a man in the street would think about the supremacy of modern science. Could this be a mistaken view? History knows quite a few unhandled disasters, but modern thought and tool should be a little more effectual than it used to be in the times of yore. Do we have strong enough solution capability at present? Look at what the human race has endured due to the worst floods ever! I wonder if the results of those gigantic inundations could have been eschewed or at least lessened had they happened in our days. My rather educated guess is that most of us would wistfully say yes. After all, we have made some progress since those misfortunes had taken place, haven’t we?
1530 – 400,000 died in Holland in consequence of Saint Felix Flood;
1642 – 350,000 perished in man-made Kaifeng Flood;
1839 – 300,000 lost life to the cyclone in India, drowning 20,000 people only at sea;
1887 – Yellow River Flood covered 50,000 sq. miles, killing about 2,000,000 people;
1931 – Yangtze River Flood killed 4 million, and over 50 million were affected by it;
1959 – 2 million succumbed to Northern River raging in China;
1970 – 500,000 drowned in Bangladesh and India from cyclone storm.
Comparing this to what happened in Tbilisi June 13 of 2015, somebody might say that God has taken better care of Georgia than of the nations above, but to me, the death of even one person just as well puts the tragedy on the scene of our unpredictable life. For us, losing twenty human lives and a solid number of animals we could not manage to salvage is a disaster which defies quick and easy recovery, although all kinds of efforts – volunteer, financial and governmental – were timely in place. You see, floods happen everywhere and any time, and the human race is still vulnerable and weak when faced with the rebellious character of nature. There is one difference though: in some parts of the world, people know themselves and their habitat a little better than we do in Georgia, using enough smarts and logic to manage life successfully. We are hasty decision makers whereas others are more measured and deliberative; we want it all overnight whereas others are more patient and uncomplaining; we do things lightheartedly whereas others are taking pains if necessary; we think that subduing elements is elementary whereas others are giving it serious thought; we are not prepared to appreciate the truth suggested by the science whereas others are all ears when listening to its warnings; we usually go ahead and build where, when and what is not right whereas others will build only where, when and what is carefully and professionally recommended; we hate long-term planning whereas others plan well in advance; we are prone to make mistakes even if they could be avoided whereas others are trying their best to evade the erroneous choices; we go to school to learn the ways of bettering life but rarely put to good practice what we master at school whereas others also go to school to make utmost usage of the knowledge acquired; we buy mustard as others do but we only use it after dinner; we always put horse behind the cart whereas others know how to harness the useful animal the right way; it is our dim-wittedness to turn the applecart only to waste time on gathering the scattered fruit whereas others know how to keep the load safe in the vehicle; we despise making conclusions and acting upon them whereas others are drawing at their bungles to proceed flawlessly in the future; we politicize every episode of our national life whereas others know exactly where politics start and where it ends; we tend to ignore professional opinion whereas others make it their stronghold; we abhor political opponents and nurse hostility in the interaction whereas others make political adversity work to the benefit of their country; we waste most of our time on putting blames on the shoulders of every single previous government whereas others normally see both sides of the medal; we never learn on our mistakes whereas others are trying to make lessons out of somebody else’s blunders, not just their own ones; we vigorously promote national talent in liberal arts whereas others notably value science and technology; we have a proclivity to loathe law and ignore the rules whereas others adamantly and decidedly go by the letter of the law in most of the cases; we do not want to be as the rest of the civilized world is whereas others grab good examples immediately. When I say ‘others’, I mean the nations of advanced sophistication – those who know precisely what they say and do. I just wonder how far we might be from where those ‘others’ are.
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