Wednesday, 2 February 2005

Tsunami with a capital T

I saw today that the Asian Tsunami deathtoll is almost up to 300,000. In the last two weeks that means an additional 70,000 bodies were found/ identified, more than a month after it happened. What a grim task.

One of the petty things that bothers me about the tsunami incident is the way it is referred to: "the tsunami"

If I am not mistaken, this was not the first one and will certainly not be the last one. What is needed is a reference point in the name: the 2004 Asian tsunami. Otherwise it's like saying "what happened to the earthquake victims?" Which earthquake? Or which drought? Or which flood? The word tsunami is the Japanese term for these waves and accepted as much as coup d'etat as an international description.

There's been no flashy 9/11's or Watergate II or other cute names for it, maybe because it didn't directly affect the US, apart from giving them a PR opportunity as their two most recent Secretaries of State put it.

If there are ten more coming, we better start naming them right.

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