Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In Memory of the Wenchuang Earthquake

(Final panel from Earthquake Strip #8 "The Last Lesson" by Chinese graphic artist Coco Wang. Click on image to enlarge)

In Memory of the Wenchuang Earthquake

Today is the one-year anniversary of the terrible Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan, China. At least 69,000 people lost their lives, and perhaps as many as 11 million were left homeless. Of the fatalities, 19,000 were schoolchildren. "The central government estimates that over 7,000 inadequately engineered schoolrooms collapsed in the earthquake. Chinese citizens have since invented a catch phrase: tofu-dregs schoolhouses, to mock both the quality and the quantity of these inferior constructions that killed so many school children."

I'm lighting a candle to mark this yartzeit. The most moving and human coverage of the tragedy that I read in the aftermath came from graphic artist Coco Wang, whose 12 earthquake strips in June 2008 brought the grief and loss to us on a comprehensible level. Click on the link to go read the strips for yourselves.

[Note: Trigger warning for graphic images.]