Thursday, December 30, 2004


It occurs to me that I have written nothing about the Tsunami that struck people all around the Indian Ocean this week. The simple fact is that the fact of this tragedy is so permanently in our minds this week that it seemed un-needed to point it out. Also, the scale of this loss of humanity is so huge that I have not really felt able to get my mind fully around it.

I could offer links to news feeds about the situation. I could offer links to sites gathering donations to help the people of the region. All that is available elsewhere. You don't need my help to find information or opportunities to help.

After several days with the story, however, I think it's time for a moment of reflection. I can't help thinking back to the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. I found myself wondering this week whether our reaction to this disaster measures up to our reaction to those attacks.

The loss of life is so much larger in this case, but the September 11 attacks were here, in our land. The dead in 2001 were victims of attacks by other human beings, while the Tsunami was an act of nature, an impersonal fact of life on a planet with tectonic plates, earthquakes and oceans.

That someone could willingly act to murder several thousand people still seems a larger fact than the reality that when the oceans rise, tens of thousands die. I mourn more for the larger group of victims, simply because there are more victims of the Tsunami. But my grief over the fact that the ability to murder on a mass scale exists among humans is just as large.

Finally, we should all remember to be humble in the face of the power of nature.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
I just came across your Musings. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - especially on the tsunami, Christmas Eve, and post-election. It's always reassuring to relate to published opinions (as well as touching to know that others get teary during a candlelight "Silent Night").

Happy New Year to you.
Beth (former DNREC carpooler)...okay, not so "Anonymous"

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