Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Speechless in the face of tragedy

So here I sit, mentally composing future posts, and I realize that I have almost nothing to say about the incredible tragedy in the Kashmir/Pakistan region. How many dead? 30,000? 40,000?

Mudslides in Guatemala, caused by a hurricane that barely made the news in the U.S. How many dead there?

And how many died in the Tsunami last December 26?

Maybe I've got some sort of compassion fatigue, a temporary burnout of the circuits caused by too many personal and global tragedies in too short a period of time. Maybe the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina - so much smaller in terms of loss of human life - hit so much closer to home that it looms much larger in my mind.

The sad fact is, as the human population of this little planet continues to rise, these tragedies will only become more common. Unpopulated areas will become populated, and earthquakes, tornadoes, mudslides, floods, hurricanes and all sorts of things that would have gone unnoticed previously because of the lack of humans in the area will now result in loss of human life. And tragedies that strike populated areas will have greater impact when those areas are even more densely populated than they are today.

After the last major Central/Western Asian earthquake I remember seeing a map showing the locations and dates of earthquakes in the region. They seemed to form a pattern - an oval track with earthquakes marching along it in a - clockwise? - direction. I seem to recall that it looked like Istanbul was next in line. We'll see if Newsweek or Time reprints and updates that map in this week's editions.

Anyway. That's more than I thought I had to say. Do what you can, support relief agencies, but expect more of the same in the future.

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