Monday, December 27, 2004

Bringing It All Back Home

According to the theory of 'Six Degrees of Separation' any two human beings can be connected by a chain of no more than half-a-dozen others. So, for example: my former boss previously worked in Arkansas, where he had dinner on occasion with then-Governor Bill Clinton; so, although I have never met any of them, I am only separated from President Bill Clinton by one other person, and from all the other living US Presidents by only two people.

Therefore, when 25,000-and-climbing people have been killed in the Asian flood disaster, the chances that I know someone who has been personally impacted by this event are much higher than I might have thought at first. We truly do live in a Global Village - in which the inhabitants are extremely mobile...

It can be hard to know how to respond when we see images on our TV screens. For all its immediate success, for most of us the original Band Aid eventually immunised our emotions. Perhaps our hearts need to be softened again. But we can't pretend that disasters such as this don't touch our lives too. Perhaps Band Aid 20 is timely...perhaps after we have bought the CD we will harden our hearts even more, as a survival mechanism of our own...There are certainly no easy answers - and trite ones are even worse than silence. But whatever else I may be able to do, I know that I need to find my personal connections to what has happened, and support those closer to events than I am, as much as I am able.

1 comment:

  1. Postscript:

    A week on, the death toll stands at over 150,000, a figure that is still expected to rise, although eventually they will stop counting. This makes the potential for personal connection to the disaster even greater than when I first posted this reflection.