The earthquake and tidal wave that destroyed Lisbon in 1755 was the inspiration for the satirical Candide. The New York Times opens auditions:
In natural disasters of all kinds, it's always the poor and marginalized who suffer the most. The reason is not far to seek: the indifference of the world's powerful to the vulnerabilities of the poor.
No one can prevent such cataclysmic natural events. But we can invest in measures that mitigate their effects on the victims, if we care.
T. Michael McNulty
It was the lingering spirit of Christmas that left me wondering whether the earthquake and tsunami south of Asia could have been an opportunity to fight terrorism in a different way.
If we weren't so wrapped up in war and the military pursuit of peace, we could afford an organized force that is prepared to "invade" devastated areas on a moment's notice to help with recovery.
If we were as prepared to extend good will as we are to wage war, we'd have a lot more friends in the world and a lot fewer enemies. That's something our gargantuan military power has failed to achieve.