Earthquakes are ‘Boobquakes’ – Hojjat ol-eslam Sediqi or God’s revenge on people “who act kind of gay.”- Reverend Pat Robertson

Tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada were jolted Tuesday by the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Three weeks before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, office workers poured out of New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon and were  relieved it was nothing more menacing than an act of providence. The White House and Capitol were partly evacuated. The quake registered magnitude 5.8. it was mild by  West Coast standards, but unsettled some of the nation’s biggest population centers in the East Coast which are not accustomed to such fury of earth strata.

I have been reading some intriguing and  fascinating reports from ‘devout’ men calling Earthquakes as fury of ‘Gods or Allah’ on mankind. Reverend Pat Robertson said the earthquake in Haiti was caused because the Haitians made a pact with the Devil and Napoleon. Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi pronounced these natural recurring disasters as wrath of Gods. Hojjat ol-eslam believes that women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society that increases earthquakes.

Man is fearful of rage of Gods; this fear of providence is exploited by clergy and is not something new. After the 1755 Lisbon earthquake killed 60,000, “Priests roved around the ruins, selecting at random those they believed guilty of heresy and thus to blame for annoying the Divine, who had then ordered up the disaster. The priests had them hanged on the spot.” The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in what is now Indonesia fuelled the growth of an extremist strain of Islam, bent on purging society of impurities displeasing to God.

These are/were no boobquakes; these are ‘Ring of Fires’ playing their settling role.  Hojjat ol-eslam Sediqi, may wish to know that we are prisoners of our birth. The tectonic plate movements are happening; shall happen and these phenomenon are geological where ‘Gods’ after creating us are now resting to see how their works are cooling down. The hands of Gods are tied now, the internal forces of the earth crust have taken over. The Pacific Ring of Fire is home to 452 volcanoes in total — that’s 75 percent of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes. Earthquakes along that fault can affect the rest of the world.

When a mind is devoid of logic and reason and science, its only refuge is religion. For Hojjat ol-eslam Sediqi ”There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes.” Iranian mullahs think that women should stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves and the world from being buried under the rubble. Modesty will probably ensure that earth’s tectonic movements will stop. Mr Sediqi delivered a televised sermon at the Tehran University campus mosque on the need for a “general repentance” by Iranians when he warned of a “prevalence of degeneracy”. In his view the earth reawakens from slumber when women wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously and this reawakening of earth causes big earthquakes. Tens of thousands of people have died in Iran earthquakes in the last decade. Global plate tectonic movement cause Earthquakes not degeneracy of morals.

Disasters seem to be never-ending, the Japanese North East big one, the Sumatran tsunami to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Are we reaching the end of an era of tranquil nature that we were acquainted with? Have our moral turpitude and tryst with pleasures finally taken a toll on our planet? For Iranian cleric to find that women not modestly dressed create earthquakes is so archaic. , The mullahs do not allow women to dress any way but modestly, and they have had a multitude of devastating earthquakes there in recent years. Earthquakes has nothing to do with how women dress or morality of the society.

Earthquakes are caused by movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates and how much of a cleavage is seen plays a very little role. It is estimated that around 500,000 earthquakes occur each year, detectable with current instrumentation. About 100,000 of these can be felt. Minor earthquakes occur nearly constantly around the world in places like California and Alaska in the U.S., as well as in Guatemala, Chile, Peru, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, the Azores in Portugal, Turkey, New Zealand, Greece, Italy, and Japan, but earthquakes can occur almost anywhere, including New York City, London, and Australia. No one is out to punish us. We live in a very benevolent environment. The laws of nature are secular and uniform. Understanding the phenomena that lead to disasters can help us relax. Interpreting the disasters in the wrong way can make us lose hope. And without hope one cannot build a future.

I think ‘Religion’ has been rightly called the opium of masses by Marx. Unquestionably, religious-based prejudices have led to disintegration and division of man over our short conscious history. The Indian Ocean earthquake on December 26, 2004, generated a tsunami that killed approximately 275,000 people, making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history.

Earthquakes typically happen along faults, which are breaks in the rocky plates of the Earth’s crust. These faults build up strain over the years as two plates butt heads. The 5.9 earthquake that hit the U.S. today at around 1:55 p.m. EST, reportedly originating from Mineral, Va., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake, which was 3.7 miles deep according to the USGS, was felt across the country, from Washington, D.C. and New York City to North Carolina.

The ever-increasing connectivity has turned our planet into a huge ‘neighbourhood’. It has been just more than a century since we were able to conquer distance. The last two decades have been all about global togetherness in terrestrial space; our ‘village’ has shaped up so fast that our minds are unable to cope with its new realities. Pleasures and pains of the entire world have become our own. We tend to learn about disasters and their gory details far more minutely than we did ever before.

According to Red Cross, 901,177 people died in natural disasters between 1995 and 2004, compared with 643,418 in the previous decade. It looks like things have gone bad. But other factors could be responsible for this high figure. For example, on July 27, 1976, China had officially declared that 255,000 people killed in an earthquake in its Tangshan region which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale. Independently, the death toll was estimated at 655,000. Communist regimes hardly ever reported figures for famines and other natural disasters. The increased openness has made available more information that is helpful in understanding disasters and fashioning responses accordingly.

We live in a complex environment that we can partially control. Recent analysis of South African rocks has revealed that 251 million years ago rivers suddenly became clogged with sediments. It is believed that a huge comet or asteroid walloped earth to cause the mass die-off at the end of the Permian Period and dawn of the Triassic.

The myth of ‘overpopulation’ has been with us since Malthus. Today, we have crossed the threshold of malnutrition; we die not because of lack of food but because of poor distribution and efforts to maintain price stability at the cost of human lives.Tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes are nothing new. In the North Atlantic Ocean, the Storegga Slides, a series of sudden underwater land movements over tens of thousands of years, caused tsunamis and mega tsunamis across a wide area. Between 1650 BC and 1600 BC (the date is still debated), the volcanic Greek island Santorini erupted, causing a 100-150 metre high tsunami that devastated the north coast of Crete, 70 kilometres away.

I always look at most pessimist ‘environmental reports’ with a view that ‘the glass is half full’ more often than not; it is a fact that recuperation is better than destructiveness. The ultimate truth is that evolution is based on survival of the fittest – it started with singularity and will finish with singularity, the remaining in-between is dominated by logic, reason and effort. Human race has to find answers to disasters; in the dinky little existence of over 10,000 years of known history we have discovered one thing that is the most important, i.e., that we are just at the cusp of a major bout of new knowledge, yet this realisation has given us tools of not being shocked by anything. All this mass epidemic news is exaggerated response of a very hypochondriac cynical mankind. It appears as if we have become a sickening collection of killjoys.

The Universe is complex, so why should we dumb down our conversations. We live in a world of staggering complexity, a world poised at a dangerous turning point with science and technology living at the root of both our problems and our possibilities. And yet, in this poised world and at this critical moment, our leaders speak to us as if we were minors.

Mankind will go from strength to strength; our survival is a story of victory over adversary. Conceivably there are so many anxieties if you really want to add one more bad news in addition to viruses and bombs, here’s the bad news. According to the calculations, the Solar System will be passing through the galactic plane in the near future, and should see an increased risk of impact. Our risk of impact could increase 10-fold. In fact, one of these high points of comet activity would have been 65 million years – the same time that an asteroid strike wiped out the dinosaurs.

Some can argue that exaggeration is a process that expedites healing and action (‘When the fire department puts out your house do you claim that since it is out the house would have never burnt down in the first place?’) Preparation is important but to embellish our inability to respond to ruin does not help. Life is about moderation and measured appropriate timely response to effective threats without blowing or killing ourselves up with nameless fears. The Earthquakes and natural disasters have no co relationship with how Iranian women are dressing up, let them look pleasant and appealing. Allah and all the Gods are quite happy the way world is progressing along on the path of becoming a global village.

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