Sunday, January 9, 2005

Tsunami begs spending rethink

"It is easier to imagine the death of one person than those of a hundred or a thousand...when multiplied suffering becomes abstract,” the Peruvian novelist and politician Mario Vargas Llosa wrote in his book The War at the End of the World. The Asian Tsunami disaster has created 'multiplied suffering'. The destruction, in part because of the power of television, is, on one level, only too real. On another, the magnitude of it is really intangible to those of us thousands of miles away. I know I cannot capture the destruction in words. I find myself not wanting to reel off statistics of the number of dead and the horrible ways in which they died. The media's ever-present body count, generally rounded off to the nearest thousand, adds to the unreality of it all. It belies the impact on each individual affected. A catastrophe of this nature creates a sort of existential void. Why does it happen? How can we respond? Read more...