Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yesterday there were two earthquakes in Israel, measuring 3 and 4.2 on the Richter scale. They originated from the Dead Sea, which is southeast of Jerusalem, on the far eastern border of the country. Along our eastern border there is a rift, the Jordan Rift Valley, which is a part of the Great Rift Valley. The GRV extends from Lebanon in the North, to Mozambique, Africa, in the South. Quite the rift. From what scientists tell us, the area has been rocked with some fairly huge earthquakes, but the last one was in 1033 CE. That means we are long overdue for a megaquake. Each year or so we have a minor or moderate quake, but some of us have this big quake in the back of our minds.

It seems to me that the majority of deaths in the world aren't coming from war or politics, but rather from natural disasters. From the earthquakes in South America, tornadoes in Midwest America, flooding in Northern Europe, mudslides in Eastern Europe, and the terrible typhoons and tsunamis in Southeast Asia, the amount killed in years of modern war equals the amount killed in days or weeks during these disasters. How many people died just the other day from Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh? The official toll is currently 3,114, but the Red Crescent Society (the Red Cross of Muslim nations) says the count will end up in the 5 to 10,000 range.

This is where our money should go, if we truly see ourselves as a government for the people. These are innocent individuals in need of aid. Epidemics are breaking out in these areas, and Bangladesh is saying they will have 4 million displaced persons! 4 million! Hurricane Katrina displaced around 1 million people. Just imagine Katrina being 4 times as bad.

What I'm trying to get to is a hypothetical situation. What if there was a huge earthquake in Israel/Jordan, which devastated the area, and then displaced all the people. We would probably see something like a terrible rendition of musical chairs, but with guns and exploding chairs! Jerusalem itself is an area that has had earthquakes. I've always wondered what would happen if the Old City of Jerusalem had an earthquake that toppled the Dome of the Rock...this area is highly contested, and to religious Jews the fact that non-Jews are building at the site of the holy Temple is one of utmost sacrilege. So what would happen if everything was erased, and we went back to square one?

Anyway, reports popped up all over Israel of people feeling the quake, all the way from Haifa to Beersheva (considerable distances from the quake). I heard a woman talking about her experience yesterday, and it was pretty humorous. Here in Israel, when you feel the ground rumble, you kinda expect the worst. A bombing? A missile? Damn, and things were going so well! As she said, "Oh no! This is not good!," only to find out 15 minutes later on the news that it was an earthquake. Something of a relief, to say the least.

My days have started to melt together, just waiting on a job prospect to be finalized. I sit around all day, reading, watching the news, watching movies, and every once in a while taking a walk. One day is like the next, with little stimulation, and essentially zero change of environment. I can't leave Jerusalem for any extended amount of time, as I'm anxiously awaiting potential interviews, so here I sit, day in and day out.

So, last night after all the dust settled, I had a hard time remembering if that rumble I felt, the booming that I thought was either a bomb or a construction zone dropping concrete slabs, was yesterday or a day before. I simply couldn't remember, and I cannot say for sure now. But, I have to assume that it was yesterday...and that's pretty cool in my book. I don't want anyone or anything to get hurt by a natural disaster in my area of the world, especially after seeing what happened in Bangladesh, but now I can say I felt an earthquake! I guess that's not such a good thing, but hey, I'm at the point in my life where I want to experience everything this world has to offer -- good or bad.

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