By John E. Carey
July 2, 2007
In any state; what is the relationship to the state and the individual and how is death viewed? Do different cultures seem to collectively deal with death differently?
After losing a friend to Taliban action in Pakistan recently, a Vitnamese friend said, “He knew the risks. He was in a war.”
Most Americans might respond in a vastly different way.
China’s huge populaion and large number of wartime casualties in World War II, Korea and other wars has perhaps numbed the leadership to death.
China has a huge incidence of accidental deaths by flooding and drowning, mine accidents and industrial accidents.
When the communists took over in Vietnam in 1975: the individual was eliminated. It was forbidden to say “me” or “I.” One always had to say “us.” The collective is superior to the individual.
Communism tends to deemphasize the individual and emphasize the collective or group. This makes the loss of one individual “more tolerated.”
One reason Americans have a low tolerance for death in war is our preoccupation with the individual. Our nation is built on the rights of the individual. Even when you are arrested, the police “read you your rights.”
In war, we seem to ‘tolerate” death less than other cultures and certainly less than we once did. In 1967 alone in Vietnam, American lost 11,000 men. Today the threshhold for what we will stand for is smaller.
For a moment lets look at automobile safety in three leaders in death by car accident: China, India and Vietnam.
A report from the World Health Organization in October 2004 estimated that more than 600 lives are lost and more than 45,000 people are injured on China’s roads every day. This makes China the top ranking country in the world for both the death toll and the death rate. And the figure is accelerating by an estimated 10 per cent every year.
China has more accidental deaths by car wrecks than any other nation in the world. Some 1.2 million people die every year on roads around the globe, about 20 percent of them in China and the percentage is rising.
China has a population of 1 billion 300 million.
“It was a little ironic as the overall number of vehicles in China is far smaller than that in Western countries, while the death rate from road accidents is much higher,” said Professor Wang who was quoted in the China Youth Daily earlier this year.
“According to our research, the death toll and death rate per 10,000 automobiles here is eight times more than that in America,” he said.
“The huge road toll in China is just a part of a global epidemic of road traffic accidents that accounts for the deaths of some 1.2 million men, women, and children each year,” said the WHO.
Tim Johnson covers China for McClatchy Newspapers. On June 26 he wrote a piece on automobile safety for China’s newly minted cars.
“The Brilliance BS6 sedan was hoping to enter the European market this year as a premium-style sedan. But the 40 mph crash test left damage on the automobile that the blogger described as catastrophic.
Most Europeans now won’t be caught, er, dead in one of these vehicles.
Back in 2005, China’s Jiangling Motors tried to market its Landwind SUV in Europe. But sales evaporated after the SUV failed this kind of crash test miserably.
Will China’s auto industry some day produce a safe and reliable vehicle for export? Yes. Are they ready now? No.”
India also has tremendous loss of life on its roads.
Because India has no functioning ambulance system, a victim is often taken to a nearby village hospital in an auto-rickshaw – a slow, three-wheeled taxi, known affectionately as a tuk-tuk, for the spluttering noise made by its engine.
International Herald tribune reporter Amelia Gentleman wrote in an article on April 12, 2007, “Anyone traveling on India’s highways soon becomes familiar with the sight of crumpled, upturned trucks abandoned by the roadside. These accidents are a routine feature of modern life, as car sales soar and India’s roads become more perilous.”
Last year around 95,000 people died on the roads in India, ranking India currently second only to China in terms of annual fatalities. Safety experts predict that because China has begun to introduce effective measures to reduce its traffic casualties, India will this year overtake it to occupy first place.
Vietnam reports one of the world’s highest road death tolls, with 33 fatalities a day, resulting in more than 12,300 victims last year, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.
Vietnam has a population of 85 million.
There are about 18 million registered motorbikes on the streets of Vietnam. “Vietnam needs to make helmet use mandatory on all roads and effectively enforce it,” said Hans Troedsson, WHO director in Vietnam, considering it one of the most significant measures to reduce human loss and head injuries.
About 40 percent of the country’s total severe road traffic crashes have been caused by youths aged between 15 and 24, who account for 20 percent of the population, he added.
“Traffic accidents in Vietnam have reached epidemic proportions,” said Troedsson.“Road safety is not just a public health issue, but an economic and social issue,” he said, citing an Asian Development Bank estimate that 885 million dollars is lost from Vietnam’s economy every year because of traffic accidents.
I am proud to say that one of America’s cultural strengths is to the individual — and individual human rights. From “Go west young man” until now, we Americans value human life and the individial very deeply.
Good to remember this on the 4th of July.
War’s Necessary Sacrifices
China Fighting Many Serious Scandals
–China has stonewalled the world on the genocide of Darfur
–Today China admitted it had a problem with doctors harvesting human organs from the mentally ill and prisoners (who die) and then selling them for transplants
–China has an ongoing slavery scandal
–China admitted it widely used child labor in violation of international norms
–Many of China’s “normal” practices have been condemned by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International
–The U.S. FDA banned all imports of Chinese seafood due to unsafe practices.
–China imported poisoned toothpaste and other products to the U.S. and other nations
–China has the worst record on earth for automobile safety, mine safety and industrial safety
–China is the world’s largest polluter and emitter of greenhouse gasesThere’s more to write on China but not enough room here!
Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, Perri Nelson’s Website, A Blog For All, The Random Yak, DeMediacratic Nation, 123beta, Right Truth, Big Dog’s Weblog, Stuck On Stupid, Webloggin, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Cao’s Blog, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, , Diary of the Mad Pigeon, The Magical Rose Garden, Allie Is Wired, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Pirate’s Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Gone Hollywood, Church and State, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.
Disclaimer: trackbacks to this post do not necessarily represent agreement to stated opinions or standards .