The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No comment

Over on Public Address Tze Ming has queried the lack of posting, in the NZ pol 'sphere, about the Mumbai bombings. Russell Brown has responded for himself here.

For me, I'm aware that I haven't posted about Mumbai, I haven't posted about Israel and Lebanon and Gaza (I started to write something but it sucked), and there are doubtless many other things I didn't post about in the context of international relations and general Bad Things that happen.

My reason is simply that I find these things so bewilderingly horrible that I have little to write or say. The difference for me between Mumbai and the London bombings last year is that I could imagine myself on the Tube in London (and was there less than a month ago) and so there is the added horror of being able to fit myself into that picture, which prompts my fingers on the keyboard.

It isn't that I don't care. It's more that I don't know that I have anything to add but sympathy. Which seems so pathetically insufficient.

Update, 9.04am Wednesday 19th July 2006: Actually I just checked and I never wrote anything about the London bombings (at least not in July). Weird that I thought that I did!


stef said...

You tend to blog a lot on your surroundings and what is familiar. England is familar, as lot of us whities are probably only 2nd or 3rd gen from England and care of the British TV being beamed in England feels a lot like 'home' and their deaths become more relevant.

I could tell you today that we've have 50 people either dead or missing due to floods here in Korea, which would be a major news story in NZ but most of NZ bloggers don't actually care about because it's happening in a place you have no reference to.

I don't blog a lot on Korea unless there has has been something in the local news. I go to other forums to discuss it because I know you guys just don't get what I'm talking about. I don't blame you, before I came here the only things I knew about Korea was that it held an olympic games back in the 80s and the Korean war via MASH.

But our situations are different.

He-Hole-ad said...

We all have fairly small awindows on the world. My guess is that there is also a link to compassion fatigue. There are so many shocking things going on in the world, many of which we cannot do anything about, plenty which we can but the "tyranny of distance" makes it one of those "Oh how sad. Pass the marmite" events.

If our collective concerns truly extended to beyond the local tribe, we could have resolved many issues (e.g. various conflicts, starvation, poor health) by now. Yet it hasn't happened. Because we are narrowly concerned with ourselves and our immediate environment.

With information on what is going on around the world so readiily available, we now know more about what is going on on the other side of the world (and faster) than ever before. Yet we are arguably doing less, or even worse, allowing others to do things in our name. Quite possibly, there is simply too much information. We cannot cope with it, and prioritise with only the here and now getting attention.

As Douglas Adams said, coming down from the trees may not have been such a good idea.