The Times of London published an editorial last week in which it
asked for the rain to stop. "Let us make our position crystal clear,
declared the editorial, We are against this weather. As denizens of
Somaliland, a drought-prone country the fact that anyone would ask for
the rain to stop would seem unusual to us. So naturally we wanted to
know more about what prompted it. Unfortunately we could not locate the
text of the editorial. But from references and excerpts we gathered that
it has been raining for months in the UK which made life unbearable for
many Britons. Even though the British are used to a lot of rain, this
was too much for them, and thus the editorial.
On the opposite end, the US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has
registered his deep concern about the drought ravaging much of the
American Midwest. The Agriculture Secretary used a different kind of
rhetorical flourish to make his point. He said he gets on his knees
wishing for the drought to end, then added If I had a rain prayer or a
rain dance I could do, I would do it.
The reactions of both the Times editorial and Vilsack show the
frustrations of people in highly developed countries who believe their
technological know-how gives them control over the environment. Then
comes long periods of rain, floods, drought and the limits of human
intervention is exposed.
Why are we talking about this? Because it reminded us of how prayers and
poetic rhetoric are an integral part of dealing with disasters in
Somaliland, and in this regard we are ahead of the British and the
Americans. Where we fall short though and they are light years ahead of
us in making plans for dealing with such eventualities as natural
disasters. So there is here an opportunity for beneficial exchange for
both sides. Perhaps we can learn from them how to plan for emergencies
and they can learn from us how to use prayer and the proper words for
dealing with disasters.