Chile survived its huge earthquake relatively well. Iran would be a different story. / Christopher Hitchens
01-Mar-2010 (one comment)

In his days on the staid old London Times of the 1930s, Claud Cockburn won an in-house competition for the most boring headline by coming up with "Small Earthquake in Chile: Not Many Dead." The shelf-life of this joke—which, I hasten to add, was at the expense of theTimes, not the people of Chile—was so durable that when the anti-Allende and pro-Kissinger historian Alistair Horne came to write his book on the Unidad Popular government of the 1970s, he called it Small Earthquake in Chile. At approximately the same time, composing his memorable epitaph for Salvador Allende, Gabriel García Márquez spoke of the likable peculiarities of the Chileans and exaggerated his non-magical realism by only a few degrees when he said:

Chile has an earth tremor on the average of once every two days and a devastating earthquake every presidential term. The least apocalyptic of geologists think of Chile not as a country of the mainland, but as a cornice of the Andes in a misty sea, and believe that the whole of its national territory is condemned to disappear in some future cataclysm.

Anonymous Observer

Long Live Democratic Seismology

by Anonymous Observer on

I'm not a big fan of Chris Hitchens, but I have to agree with him on his analysis in this piece.  This is my favorite quote from the article:

"But the Iranian regime, as we know, has other priorities entirely, and it has worked very hard to insulate not its people from earthquakes, but itself from its people."

Well Said, Chris, well said.