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The tsunami earthquake and man’s sensitivity

Di Antonio Caneva, 21 Gennaio 2005

The tsunami consequences are such a tragic current topic that we would like to avoid it, overwhelmed as we are by constant updatings on the severity of the devastation and the count of victims. But when we rest our attention on it, the first thing that strikes us is this gruesome accounting: what significance could it possibly have, by now, hearing that there have been one hundred thirty thousand victims rather than one hundred fifty thousand or one hundred sixty thousand eight hundred? It is a tragedy that has nothing to do with arithmetic.
Another topic for discussion, in this period, is whether it is fair for tourism to continue in the areas of the disaster, with two opposing arguments prevailing; according to one, it is insensitive for tourists to go to those places, while others point out that a reduction in the tourist business would further damage the local population. The media circus shows interviews on this issue with people who are sipping their cocktails under the palm trees, and confirm the usefulness of transferring hard currency. Sometimes, between the lines of the interviewees’ confessions, we detect a decisive consideration: “.. and if I had cancelled the trip, I would have had to pay a penalty…”.
The world of the well-intentioned finds plenty of material to work on, and the fund-raising initiatives are multiplying. Initially (and successfully) it was the main newspapers and TV networks (later to be discussed as to who was to handle the money, and for what purposes), then the less important organisations, and now a sort of do-it-yourself activism; even in tourism, every small entity has its own little “project” cutting out a little bit of the limelight for itself, trusting that the media cannot be insensitive to such generosity, and will certainly highlight their efforts.
Everyone is left with his or her own convictions, and does what he/she feels is best. I only hope that, as happened so often in the past, the many people who are suffering will not just be turned into amatorial videos and statistical data.

Translation of the Italian
editorial by Paola Praloran

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