Thursday, 31 August 2017

The 23 and the 1200

All week we have been bombarded with images of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation of Texas and the floods of Houston. Tales of heroism and tragedy. Tales of compassion, courage and fear.

The destruction is spectacular. Images of flooded roads and homes under water and people stranded on their rooftops makes for sensational viewing. Outrage over churches refusing to open their doors and the reaction of the President and Melania's stilettos fill social media.

Meanwhile the floods in Asia get a bare mention, despite the 41 million people impacted.


I suppose it's only natural that we care more about our neighbours than people far away, but should we care more about people 3,700 kilometers away more than those who live 11,000 kilometers from our home? 

Why do we care more about Texas than India? Is it because we have closer social and economic ties to our southern neighbour? 40,000 people immigrated to Canada from India last year. Shouldn't we feel a closer connection? Is it because we relate more to the way of life in a person in Houston than one in Mumbai? Is it because more Canadians have visited Houston than Kathmandu? Is it because we think Asians are poor and hopeless used to this kind of thing while Americans are more like us? Is there an undercurrent, somewhere, that the people of Asia deserve to suffer more than we do? Or do we just not know what to do or how to help?

Is it because we are not seeing photos of Asia in the news?

Does this

matter more than this?

Do these people

matter more than these?

Why do the deaths of the 23 people in the U.S. matter more than the 1200 in Asia?

Or are we so jaded by the barrage of disasters that our compassion is exhausted?

I don't have any answers. Do you?

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