Thursday, April 18, 2013

When tragedy strikes close to home and when it doesn't

Hey there,

So I was watching a video of the explosion in Texas, on CNN.com:


And here's what I wrote after, initially started on Facebook, but realized was probably more appropriate to put here.

Even from the distance the video is taken, the blast looks devastating. Not surprising since it was felt up to 50 miles away. And I don't share this to belittle other incidents of tragedy, local or around the world, accidental or intentional, etc. 
Just lost in thought over how it takes something unexpected and close to home like this to be shocked by the loss of life, and how used we get to hearing about it, especially when it's not happening in our own back yard. 
I'd say, that it probably reflects more on what we do as humans, in terms of being affected by things where we are more likely to, or even actually, know someone in the place where tragedy struck, which by nature makes it more personal.
But then the arts manager kicked in and began to address something I observed happening, in terms of what I started talking about. People being shocked that others were more affected by these events than by the ever increasing death tolls over seas.
So for anyone who might comment on, criticize and ask where is the shock and outrage, where are the thoughts and prayers which we (Americans) have for this incident or the Boston marathon explosions, (which I'm not saying are related in intent and execution, the only common denominator being the tragic loss of life and bodily harm to those who survived), and why it's lacking to that degree regarding death overseas in wars executed by us as a country? 
Even for those who don't, I would say this is why art and cultural exchanges are more important now more than ever. They share our collective global experience, the geo-societal quirks as well as universal thoughts and questions about the human experience. They break down borders to the point where the whole world is our collective back yard. 
If you're going to criticize others for being disconnected from what is foreign, then more needs to be done than simply sharing a news article on social media, or protesting. Find out how to participate and contribute to exchanges and dialogues which makes the 'other' the familiar, and I'm pretty sure you'll start to see a community and society that's as engaged and affected by overseas tragedies, as they are by when tragedy happens in their own back yard.

And this isn't to say that this has never happened. Actually, what comes to mind when you hink of ways in which we (Americans or not) have been present as members a global society, to stand in solidarity and support a foreign country in a time of tragedy? What comes to mind when you think of ways we've failed to do so?

Finally, do you have any thoughts or questions for anything else I might've said?

Can't wait to hear what you think in the comments,

JR
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