Today a tsunami hit Indonesia once again, and so far over 100 people are reported dead and 500 missing. I probably know some of those people. I spent almost 2 months in Indonesia 10 years ago, most of the time in Sumatra. Some of that time I spent in Aceh which was devastated by the tsunami in 2004 which killed over 200 000 people around the Indian Ocean. The village I spent time in, Lampuu’k, was completely destroyed. But my surfing adventures were taking place most of the time fruther south, near the Mentawaii Islands, which are the one’s hit by this tsunami.
Ironically, one of the most incredible features of Sumatra, why I went there along with others was the beauty of nature, the incredible pristine beauty of these untouched atolls and islands. But now this – the powerful destructive face of nature, which uproots, destroys both the natural beauty and the wonderful people who lived there… and once housed me. Using a term my professor Ben Hale coined (I believe), we see the Cruel Mistress face of nature, what is theologically called natural evil (as opposed to moral evil). Nature, is not all beauty, harmony and goodness… it is also harsh, destructive and perhaps… cruel.