First I’ll begin with This Article from The New Yorker
“So far, Ruihai International Logistics, a four-year-old company that employs about seventy workers, has yet to offer a statement, though some of its top executives have been detained for questioning. According to its Web site (which went offline at some point after Wednesday), Ruihai specializes in the transportation of hazardous materials, including flammable liquids, combustible agents, and corrosives. Among the chemicals known to have been stored at Ruihai, according to state news reports, is sodium cyanide, a compound that produces a toxic gas. Sodium cyanide was also found in nearby drains after the blasts, stoking fears that it might have contaminated nearby water sources.”
–JIAYANG FAN, The New Yorker, August 15, 2015
BINHAI New Area (Tianjin) Explodes
It’s disappointing to see that I’m now going to be visiting a city that’s exploded in tragedy. Though it’s a what friend called ‘far-fetched’, I can’t seem to somehow not relate it back to the fact that I’m about to embark upon a visit to Tianjin and the Residency called for specific attention to the Binhai ‘New’ Area as it was the up and coming new inhabited region of development. In my PASSIONATE (RED) preparations from the West there ends up this huge explosion in the East. Of epic proportions. A tragedy to bring equilibrium to the Exaltation. I’m trying to stay fair about the probabilities of chance, of serendipity, yet again. How manifold. Bizarre. I’m on my way, getting ready to arrive and there’s a massive BLAST. Of all cities! The one I’m headed to. How awful! How sad! Why did this happen? What does it say about China? About me? These are the sentiments and thoughts I have been grappling with. How this does change the experience of the residency and visiting the city and staying there? I am sad that I’ll have to see the Binhai Region of Tianjin full of burnt black and its citizens homeless. I am now wondering how I am going to address writing about this without being offensive to those hosting me. My hope is that the tragedy and the lesson learned from the lack of care and faulty placement taken by the shipping company that caused the ‘storage’ of such a large amount of chemically susceptible mixtures placed [unsafely] in such a hugely dense and populated region of residents surrounding the ‘industrial port zone’ will now be seen as the ‘grave’ fault that it is of both the Organization and lack of awareness that the city planning have made allowances for such imminent proximities to societal danger and possible damage. This ought to have NOT been placed alongside those of the living. And my hope is that this sort of accident will never ever happen in China’s industrial districts close to new housing developments ever again. It is not only up to the Organization; it is up to the City’s infrastructure, the developers, the political negotiations between how to develop and place landscapes of people and how to place hazardous waste thus, creating ‘safer’ hazard zones.
The relationships between the living and its place alongside death comes in proximities and proportions. They are so closely entwined that humans must ever strive to do whatever possible to create ‘preventative measures’ between the beauty and the horror of RED.
Update for August 25, 2015 – Residency Postponed
I’ve been notified that the International Writer’s Residency for Tianjin and ‘Binhai New Region of Tiajin’ will not go forward this year; it’s been postponed for September 2016. I am hopeful that I’ll get there next Fall.