Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Thoughts on Acceptance

This morning the first article I glanced at dealt with civilization's growing acceptance of... may I say indifference toward... catastrophe. As the numbers grow and grow they become numbing. Christopher Dickey went on to say that perhaps that was why people had stopped talking about the 1340+ killed in Iraq.
160,000 deaths is almost impossible to grasp... I've been to Sri Lanka and Phu Ket and it's still hard to get my consciousness around it... but because I've been there I can reflect on a personal level. Last Sunday's For Better or For Worse strip came to mind... I can think about a Sri Lankan and his family... the employees in the restaurant in Phu Ket where I had my first live lobster tossed into a pot... much as they probably were.
1340+ deaths in Iraq... probably fewer than died in traffic accidents in the U.S. last month... but for most of us... other than for 1340+ families it isn't personal. It's personal to the soldier who was hanging upside down in the Humvee next to her buddy, the driver who didn't make it. It's personal to the soldier who covered the memorial services in Mosul.
We don't even talk about the Iraqi casualties... but it's personal for an Iraqi (and this one).
I think what bothers me isn't so much that in 2004 a major earthquake and tsunami can kill 160,000+ people... that's plate tectonics but the victims and their survivors need our prayers certainly... but it would be such a shame if Mr. Dickey is correct that we have become numb to the loss of life in conflict waged on our behalf. We aren't like that, are we? Please?

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