Monday, December 27, 2004

Perspective

We live in an age of unprecedented global interaction. Though we have instantaneous access to news from around the world, and global travel is relatively easy and inexpensive we still have an innate tendency to lose perspective on global events (if we ever had an accurate perspective at all).

Tunnel vision affects some people (and nations) more than others, and it's been my experience that it tends to grow increasingly narrow until something happens to shatter the delusion, whereupon more realistic perspective is restored for a time.

The length of this time directly correlates to the scale of the event that caused it, and as time passes, distractions appear, lessons are forgotten, and we lose our perspective again.

The earthquake that hit southern Asia, killing untold thousands and causing widespread destruction, helped me shake my tunnel vision.

I first heard about the tragedy in the mess hall last night, where I saw a group of contract workers standing in front of a TV with anxious faces glued to the screen. Many of the workers are from Sri Lanka, and I had just spoken with several of them as I gave out a few small Christmas gifts.

I don't know how many of them have family affected by the disaster, nor do I know if they have effective means of communicating with their families.

I do know that the death toll will likely be at least 10 times what the coalition has suffered here in Iraq.

My prayers are with all the people reeling from this shock, and especially with our contract workers, many of whom are far from their families on 2 year tours.

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