Wednesday's earthquake resulted in at least 57 deaths, with several folk still unaccounted for buried beneath tons of earth slip.
Given that it was a natural disaster, one can't blame it on corrupt politicians in league with greedy business interests. However, the lack of awareness, education if you will, means that many blamed God, a handy excuse as they sought to appease the all-powerful.
I know this because 'Er Indoors was outside, in our side passage chatting with her sister, our live-in lodger cum pembantu (maid), scrutinising the ironing in process when they heard noises from indoors. The house was empty yet there were cracks, bangs and creaking as if folk were cavorting within. There wasn't anybody, but outside, in the street, neighbours were rushing to the local mosque from whence came amplified cries of Allah Akbar (God is great). Well maybe She is, but most geologists, and folk like me, put it down to the collision of three tectonic plates, a process that has been going on since forever.
Most of the fatalities can be directly attributed to the building of settlements at the foot of deforested hills, and to shoddy building construction in towns such as Bandung and Cilacap. A least one death, in Jakarta, was the result of a heart attack. These are deaths I would blame on Man rather than Mother Nature.
In a country where every citizen has to declare which of five religions s/he follows there is more environmental degradation and a greater number of 'natural' disasters than in the majority of other nations.
The head of the Catholic Church, the Pope, may be on the right track when he appears to suggest that atheists are to blame.
“Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where his existence is denied? If the human creature's relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the ‘final authority’, and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.”
Although one cannot but agree with his closing remark, that's a very strange, almost hypocritical statement considering the material wealth of the Catholic Church (and the Vatican in particular). Catholics also believe that God has given Man dominion over the earth, a ready excuse for all kinds of abuse.
Anyway, I'm exonerated as I've converted to animism. .............................. His full speech can be read here.