Monday, January 03, 2005

a thousand words

I've been having a hard time with the photos that the press has been running to illustrate the news from the tsunami in Asia. They are often prefaced with warnings that the images are "disturbing", so it's not just that the photos are often horrifying, it's more of an issue of disrespect. I have heard people say that we need to see the naked and bloated bodies of the victims in order to grasp the extent of the devastation, but I don't know that I believe that this is true. In addition, I don't think that the same editorial decisions would be made if the piles of dead bodies were Americans. In fact, I feel rather sure of that.

There is a blog that I visit from time to time that talks about the images in the news. Check it out if it's something that interests you. It's called BAGnewsNotes. The writer is obviously focused on the tsunami story right now, because that's the biggest news story that there is. (It's been odd seeing the war in Iraq suddenly relegated to the last few pages of section A of
The Washington Post.) One of the things he mentioned in a recent post is how Americans have been clamoring to adopt children from the region that was hit, ignoring the possibility that maybe they would be better off -- and would prefer -- getting the services they need in their own country. My favorite thing in this whole nightmare has been hearing leaders in both India and in Thailand say, "We don't need your money. We have the resources we need to take care of ourselves."

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