Who is to blame? The Flood – Katie Melua

Katie Melua – The Flood from Dramatico on Vimeo.  You can read the lyrics here.

It is strange. Lately, I didn’t have many problems choosing a song for my blog. Things happened – and the songs came to me. Now terrible things have happened in Japan. An earthquake of magnitude 9.0, a Tsunami which sent pictures onto our TV screens that seem to have come straight from a Hollywood movie. And now there is the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe as well.

Katie Melua’s song „The Flood” was  released back  in 2010. In the chorus she comes up with a question that has often been raised in relation to natural catastrophes: Who is to blame? It is very embarrassing for me as a Christian when  religious groups suggest that these catastrophes are kind of a divine revenge for human misbehavior. At least I haven’t heard anything like that in the context of the Japanese drama.

In the chorus of her song Katie Melua sings: „No one is to blame. As natural as the rain that falls – here comes the flood again.” Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, they are not man-made, nobody is to blame for them – they are acts of nature beyond control. In the face of these disasters we feel completely helpless because we can’t blame anybody. We cannot exploit the situation politically. We can’t really help directly. Hollywood blockbusters suddenly become reality and we are torn between compassion and sensationalism.

Even if the earthquake is far away from my European home the soil beneath my feet is teetering, at least for a moment: „What I thought was my way home wasn’t the place I know… Certain, nothing’s certain.” We cling to our belongings, to the things that make up our daily life: “What we own becomes our prison …My possessions will be gone, back to where they came from.” At the sight of the Japanese people who lost everything they owned, we ask ourselves: what do we really need, what do we set our hearts on? What if WE lost everything?

Melua even ponders the possibility that it might be a valuable experience to “sometimes be thrown off the pathways.

What do we hold on to? What gives us support – also in critical times? “See the rock that you hold onto. Is it gonna save you when the earth begins to crumble?”  We have to decide for ourselves what this could be: a belief, an ideology, other people, an assignment…?

On the other hand – sometimes it might be good to „flush away the weight that pulls you down, light the ways that freed from the dust. Why’d you feel you have to hold on?  Imagine if you let go…” The more we cling to something, the more we have to lose.

Would this be a comfort for you… „that you can leave your prison…?” What exactly is my prison, what are my fears?

The important message is: „No one is to blame“. Sometimes chaos just descends upon us. Nature has its own laws: „feel the ancient rhythm… don’t trust your eyes.” The soil beneath our feet is only seemingly secure. In fact the earth’s crust is only a thin layer of rock upon liquid fire.

By the way: the problem with the Japanese nuclear power plants (and all the other nuclear power plants in the world) is definitely made by man and NOT a natural catastrophe. This means: there are people to blame, we are responsible. There are alternatives. These catastrophes are avoidable, if we only want to…


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