Charita Goshay: Can't blame everything on karma
Mercy. How can the Chinese go on, knowing their government has banned Sharon Stone movies from being shown there?
Stone, who sprang to fame -- and infamy -- for what she wasn’t wearing in the 1990s thriller “Basic Instinct,” recently declared that the reason China and Myanmar are suffering from titanic disasters is “karma,” cosmic payback for the way the Chinese have treated the Tibetans, who want independence, and the manner in which the military-backed dictatorship in Myanmar has repressed its own citizens.
To be certain, if you plant thorns, you shouldn’t expect a bouquet of roses, and it is often true that -- as your grandma used to say -- “What goes around, comes around,” but can such things really be accounted to karma?
The deal’s off
If karma really is the chief reason behind many natural disasters, why aren’t the mansions and palaces of those despots and dictators who are causing so much misery ever destroyed?
Why does karma always seem to squat upon the poorest of the poor, making toothpicks out of some beggar’s hut?
Stone, who counts herself among the Dali Lama’s friends and is a tireless champion for AIDS causes, has since apologized for her remark, perhaps because it showed an inexplicable lack of sensitivity to those innocent Chinese who lost a loved one in the earthquake, people who have never so much as set eyes on Tibet.
Let’s hope it wasn’t because she has four movies coming out over the next two years, or because Christian Dior, cognizant of China’s booming economy, just dropped her endorsement deal like a hot wok.
Now, that’s karma.
There is belief, however, among some nonkarma believers that some disasters are the direct result of a person’s religion, politics and, in some cases, because they aren’t American. It’s just that, unlike Stone, they never come out and say it.
Well, usually. The Rev. John Hagee noted that New Orleans was whacked by Katrina because it had hosted a gay pride parade.
Minister Louis Farrakhan also claimed Katrina was a divine thunk on the head from the Almighty. In the same vein, a Louisiana congressman crowed that God used Katrina to do what the government wouldn’t: Wipe out unsavory neighborhoods.
What would Jesus say? Not that.
New Orleans has been walking on the wild side since 1718. Was Katrina really karma, or the fact that any city that sits below sea level and has an inadequate levee system is a disaster waiting to happen, even in places where the saints go marching in?
We have no control over natural disasters. We do, however, have complete control over how we respond to those affected by them. If we spend more time finger-wagging than doing what we know to be right, we probably shouldn’t be surprised when it comes back to haunt us.
Reach Repository Writer Charita M. Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.