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It’s hard to internalize the figures of over 40,000 dead now in Asia from the earthquake. Once the numbers grow so large it’s too difficult to understand.
While watching CNN this morning I was fairly disturbed by their coverage. It seemed like about 75% of the “stories” were about westerners. How a tourist group was stuck in their hotel, the stories of people already arriving home at their airports, and then about how Jet Lis family survived unscathed, etc. What about the other 40,000 people who are dead?
I understand that a western news organization wants to show the impact to their own people, but come on! It further enforces the western feeling of superiority over these people by having a newscast like: “… these handful of people were stuck in a hotel, these people were stranded in the airport with no power, … , and oh yeah – there are over 40,000 Asians dead.” It shows how meaningless our culture believes them to be.
I don’t mean that all westerners think other people around the world are worthless, but our society and governments do treat them that way sometimes. How else do we not get massive public outcry when the US occupying force in Iraq stops all efforts to count civilian casualties by saying “We’re not in the business of counting foreign deaths.”