Saturday, October 11, 2008

Buy each Somali enough cement to make seven Ryozen Kannon memorials

For the price of the Iraq War, we could've bought every Somali enough cement to make seven Ryozen Kannon memorial statues.  

A ship carrying cement was recently captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia, which has a population of 10 million.  Kyoto's Ryozen Kannon memorial, constructed in honor of the World War II dead from both sides, includes a large Bodhisattva statue made of 500 tons of cement, so it would take 35 billion tons of cement to build seven statues for each Somali.  A metric ton of cement costs $77 when bought in bulk.  So buying enough cement to make seven Ryozen Kannon statues for each Somali would cost $2.70 trillion, which is less than Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of $3 trillion for the total cost of the Iraq War.


Ursula said...

Can I just note that there's a big bust of Kannon near the Great Buddha in Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture). You can see it best from the Yokosuka line between Kamakura and Oofuna, and if you didn't already know about it it kind of sneaks up on you in a very, um, unmerciful way.

Neil Sinhababu said...

An unmerciful way? As in, you bump into it painfully? Or as in you suddenly see it from a funny angle and it looks like a gigantic penis or something?