Sunday, January 02, 2005

GLOBAL TIDAL WAVES OF EMOTIONS: why for natural disasters, and NOT genocide?

The great Tsunami of 2004 inspired a commensurate wave of shock, grief, and sympathy - as well it should have. And the widespread emotional pain led to a widespread emotional outpouring of support for the survivors - laudatory and reassuring.

Yet, I can't help but compare the horrendous toll of this event (and the wonderful response it received), to other recent events in which there was also widespread death ON THIS VERY SCALE -- OR GREATER -- and yet there was VIRTUALLY NO RESPONSE... and it leads to me to ask:

Why has this event inspired such a good and global response when the others did not?

Could it be because the other events -- which dwarfed the great Tsunami of 2004 -- were political - or "man-made" - and not natural?

I'm mostly thinking of just three or four recent genocides: The Bosnian Serb genocide which killed 250,000 humans; the Rwandan genocide - which killed 750,000 humans (SIX TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE AS THE TSUNAMI!); and the 20,000 per year Saddam slaughtered and tortured for 20 years. And then there's the Sudanese genocide (of 1.5 MILLION Christians and southern Sudanese animists, and of the Darfurians). Each total is GREATER than the Tsunami toll, but each genocide received virtually NO response from the "world community." THEY WERE VIRTUALLY IGNORED!

YES: they were bigger than the Tsunami of 2004 (at least as far as we know as of this writing), yet each inspired NO wordwide outrage at the time - even though ALL could have been prevented - or at least halted; YEAH, all were within human power to avoid or restrict!

Did the fact that they were man-made make them "less tragic"!? Does the fact that they were victims of other people make their victims less pitiable!? And what does it say about most people that they respond to one and not to the other type of tragedy??

I think that the Tsunami of 2004 instilled more fear and anxiety and more sympathy in more people because more people felt "there but for the grace of God go I." It's easier to identify with the victims of natural disasters - especially one so widespread - than it is to identify with people who are targeted by other people because of who they are. (As if people have control over who they are; as if the Batutsis of Rwanda could've un-made themselves as Batutsis and remade themselves as Hutsis.)

Of course, people CANNOT remake themselves - we are who we are. And - in my mind - that should make the genocide they suffered seem WORSE than the suffering of the victims of the Tsunami of 2004. And it should make the people of the world feel MORE GUILTY for having FAILED to prevent those genocides.

The fact that - over the last two decades - MAN-MADE genocide has taken more lives than natural disasters should remind people that we can AND SHOULD do more to prevent them.

After all, we can't prevent earthquakes or tsunamis - or asteroids from hitting the Earth. But we can prevent genocide. And we should. And that should be another lesson we learn from the great Tsunami of 2004: the widespread death and destruction of people, families and property is especially horrible. We should do whatever we can to eliminate it - or minimize it: with more tsunami warning systems AND also with an assertive/proactive - even PREVENTIVE AND PREEMPTIVE interventionist foreign policy that dares to to act in time, BEFORE genocide takes place.

That's my hope... my prayer. That's what I hope the world learns from this most recent horror.

Never again.


Anonymous said...

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Here are some helpful hints for stress related illness …

A simple hot compress applied to the face is very soothing to those throbbing aches and pains of a blocked sinus, while a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief can provide welcome relief for similar conditions. While supplements of vitamin C, D and zinc will shorten the lifespan of a common cold, a hot lemon drink is also extremely good. And be sure to cuddle-up in bed when you have a cold, as it will make the body sweat out the germs.

Cool lemon juice and honey are a great soother for a sore throat and gives the body much-needed vitamin C at the same time The juice of one lemon in a glass of water is sufficient. Melt the honey in a little hot water for ease of mixing.

A smear of Vaseline or petroleum jelly will do wonders for those sore lips and nose that often accompany a cold.

A 'streaming cold' where the nose and eyes water profusely, can respond to drinking onion water. Simply dip a slice of onion into a glass of hot water for two seconds, then sip the cooled water throughout the day. Half an onion on the bedside table also alleviates cold symptoms because its odor is inhaled while you sleep.

People prone to catarrh may find that chewing the buds from a pine or larch throughout the day will clear up their condition in just a few days.

Do you suffer from sore eyes? If your eyes are sore from lengthy exposure to the sun, try beating the white of an egg and then spread it over a cloth and bandage the eyes with it. Leave the preparation on overnight. Soft cheese (quark) is also a good remedy for this condition.

For those unpleasant times when you suffer from diarrhea, two tablespoons of brown vinegar will usually fix the problem. Vinegar can be rather horrible to take, but who cares! The problem is more horrible. Vinegar can usually be found in most people's cupboards, so you don't need to worry about finding someone to run to the shop for you in an emergency.

Sleepless? Instead of reaching for sleeping pills, which can quickly become addictive, try this: Drink only caffeine free tea or coffee starting late in the afternoon.. Go to bed earlier rather than later, as being overtired tends to keep people awake. Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet. Use only pure wool or cotton sheets and blankets. Polyester materials can cause sweat and make you thirsty (if your child constantly asks for water throughout the night, this could be the reason).

And don't watch those scary movies just before retiring! If you still can't sleep, make a tea of lemongrass or drink a nightcap of herbal tea containing chamomile. It's easy to grow lemongrass in your garden or start a flower pot on the balcony for ease of picking. Simply steep a handful in boiling water for five minutes. Honey may be added for a sweetener.

Of course there will be times when you do need modern drugs, so if these simple remedies don't have the required affect, be sure to see a health care professional.

stress related illness

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