What’s Ironic Today?

In the last week, the media has been infiltrated with videos, news headlines, and devastating accounts of two particular events.  Both events having caused such disarray in two cities that the amount of time, labor and money to rebuild cannot yet be calculated.

Baltimore, Maryland:  More than 500,000 people call it home.  Some even refer to it as ‘The Greatest City in America’.  Yet, despite these traits, less than one percent of the total population has found a way to ravage the city.  Senseless acts have led to riots and protests – cars being burned, law enforcement officers attacked, and buildings destroyed from fire.

Black, white – provoked, unprovoked – the irreparable actions of so few are blatantly wrong.  There is nothing right about what has (and continues) to occur.  As a result, one of America’s iconic cities is being devastated, not because of a natural disaster, rather because a number of people choose to engage in ridiculous (yes, I said ridiculous) behavior.

Kathmandu, Nepal:  If you were to hop on a plane in Baltimore and travel twenty-one hours crossing the Atlantic, Europe and the Middle East, then you would eventually hit the Himalayan Mountain Range.  Boasting some of the most beautiful peaks in the world, these mountains provide a beautiful landscape to several countries – one of which is Nepal.

Any glance at the world headlines this past week, and chances are you have read (or glimpsed at) the struggles and hardships this nation faces.  Natural disaster has struck, and the result of an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 has radically changed the lives of thousands.

042915-ap-nepal-quake-apartment-rubble-imgssssHouses, buildings, and offices all brought to the ground.  Not because a group of individuals thought it might be a good idea, but because an entire country could do nothing to stop it.  More than 5,000 brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and children have lost their lives.  People on the ground in Nepal are expecting this number to rise to 10,000 or more.  This is heartache, this is devastation.

Thousands of miles separate these two world events.  Both suffering at the hands of destruction and devastation.  One city devastated by the personal actions of select individuals, and another country by the sometimes unpredictability of mother-nature.  It doesn’t matter where it strikes or how hard it hits; both stories are heart-breaking regardless of the circumstances.

Why is it Ironic?

Two completely different news stories.  Two entirely different perspectives.  In Baltimore, the headlines are reporting how many cars and buildings have been intentionally burned to the ground.  In Nepal, the reporters can’t even count the number of cars smashed and buildings tumbled – with people who couldn’t escape.

In Baltimore the city has been under a curfew, requiring and forcing all citizens to be in their homes at 10:00PM.  What happens if they don’t reside to their couch or bed for the evening?  They are arrested for curfew violation and disorderly conduct.  In Nepal, however, people continue to search for the bodies of people trapped beneath boulders and the village people can’t find time to sleep.  Why don’t they have the ability to rest?  They don’t have a home to return to, and they are part of a community that is genuinely interested in the well-being of all its people – young or old, criminal or popular citizen.

A State of Emergency has been issued in Baltimore.  Thousands of law enforcement officers and the National Guard have been called in to restore order from the chaos.  These same individuals, while attempting to protect and serve, are being attacked by rioters with no regard for the law.  Meanwhile in Nepal, tens of thousands of people have voluntarily offered their time to help restore a city – not because the government told them to, but because they wanted to.

Two drastically different places that are in the midst of devastating historical events.  But, would you agree there is irony in the actions of the respective people in both towns?  Would you nod your head ‘yes’ that the way these two communities have responded is ironically different?

What Makes Irony Unique?

It’s going to take time, and a helluva lot of it.  Sweat will be poured out, hands dirtied, and hearts broken.  But, there will be a time when each of these places reflects back on the events, and realizes that the collective work of a community has allowed the people to rebuild the great places they once knew.

I’m personally inspired when I read the positive press from Nepal.  Teen rescued after five days in rubble, Baby Pulled from Rubble after 22 Hours, and Facebook Raised more than $10 Million in 2 Days for Nepal.

My faith is restored when I read that the Baltimore Orioles played a baseball game inside of an empty stadium, showing its community that although it couldn’t be in the stadium, that the team stands united ready to provide a positive spirit amidst despair.  A spirit is lifted in me when I watch the video of a mom ‘reprimanding’ her son for throwing rocks at the police, teaching him that these actions are not acceptable in society.

These stories are uplifting.  I get chills reading them.  So, what is the string that binds them together and the idea that makes them uniquely the same?

Hope.

Hope for a renewed spirit.  Hope for a better life.  Hope for justice.  Most importantly, hope that despite how different these two places are, and the people that inhabit them, that people will unite together and build into one another.  Because building into others is the best thing they can do.  It is the only way to restore life have such heartbreak.

The result?

A stronger community than was present before devastation knocked them down.  After all, there is a reason Baltimore has also been nicknamed ‘The Comeback City’.  I have no doubts that Baltimore will fight back from societal differences and unite.  I’m anxious for Nepal to rebuild a nation from the efforts of a single, global community.

I’m hopeful.  Are you?

2 Comments on “The Irony of Devastation

  1. Jonathon I read with pride your essay, I to feel that rebuilding is the answer with people working in cooperation to solve the issues. In Baltimore the vast majority of the people must rise and speak out against thugs only looking for an opportunity to run around stealing, looting and all in the name of social justice. I know one thing from 58 years of experience that the citizens of Baltimore have to take back their city and fight back and protect themselves. I strongly believe in peaceful protesting, but not tolerating rioting. they will repair the physical damage to the city and they have no choice but to repair their relations within the city.
    In Nepal my heart goes out to them, all the destruction brought down on them and there is nobody to blame but natural forces. they are hard working people as in Baltimore and will rebuild together. May God bless them both as they rebuild their cities for two totally different reason’s. They have no allturnative.

    • Mr. Mignery-
      First of all, I appreciate your faithfulness in reading my blog week after week. It’s committed readers like yourself that inspire me to continue writing.
      Rebuilding is an unfortunate, but necessary task after tragic events. It could be recovering from an illness, mourning the loss of a loved one, or situations such as what Baltimore and Nepal are facing. In world history, hundreds of towns and civilizations have had to rebuild, but it was only through the cooperative efforts of a community of believers who were genuinely interested in building something bigger – something greater than before. The process is slow, but I’m confident that Baltimore and Nepal will experience the re-birth of a united group of people!

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