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Monday, July 7, 2008

A Baby Boy's Earth Shattering Beginnings


The earthquake in China got a lot of attention in the first few days, perhaps because a noted NPR journalist just happened to be there and brought some of the devastation to life. The catastrophic scale was clearly evident in the reporter's quaking voice. Professional as she is, even she could not dam up the welling tears during her broadcasts. Faithful NPR listeners felt the palpable pain and listened in horrors, mouths agape.

China to many of us is nothing more than one giant, albeit VERY giant, factory. It's a tag attached to our goods, sewn into our garments, with no faces, people, hearts, souls, and emotions tied to it. To many, China simply represents the new land of opportunity. Monetary, that is. Not the taste of freedom that defines opportunity for Americans. Greed, expansion, corporate bullying, government handshakes, profit margins. That defines opportunity in China. It has become a commodity. And commodities lack emotion or other humanizing traits.

And then the earth shattered.

China, for a brief moment in time, became real to us. We saw the masses as individuals. We were jolted awake to realize that these are people just like us.

I sat in my air conditioned home, seated on a scrumptious leather sofa, snacking on edamame and sipping 2 Buck Chuck while watching the horror unfold. The utter chaos was remarkable, heart wrenching, yet so distant, geographically and conceptually. I couldn't wrap my head around the seismic force of nature that instantly crumbled buildings and crushed lives. And the news went on. For days. Maybe a week. I walked furiously on the treadmill, headphones attached to my little TV monitor, so I could tune in to every speck of news out there. Of course the gym, with Bird and Deal safely playing in the Kids' Club haven, was the only place I could watch the news. Lord knows I didn't need to subject my little guys to that sort of devastation. I'm not ashamed to admit that I sniffled like a hay fever sufferer and wiped away some serious tears while burning rubber on that treadmill.

So what now? What's happened to those people? Where are they living? How are they faring? Will they ever rebuild their lives? And what, dear God, what about the children? What about the children left motherless and the mothers left childless?

My life is cake. And that's just mostly good fortune blowing kisses my way.

Here it is almost 2 months after the earthquake, and we don't hear squat about it. It was easy to watch the newscasts somberly, perhaps even shedding a tear or two, as I did. It was easy to get choked up and hug our kids extra hard for a while there. That wore off after meltdown #76. Then we simply switched the channel to watch HGTV's Design Star or something equally innane. Then media focused its fickle attention on matters like Hollywood's baby boom and the fall of Bear Stearns.

Our lives went on. And go on.

You must take a look at this. You will be moved, I assure you.
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1 comment:

chris said...

Wow! I too was glued on NPR when the earthquake happened. In fact I did a special one week lesson with my students about China and the earth quake.

I remember the story on NPR of the parents wailing as they view their children's lifeless bodies being brought out from a collapsed school building.

You are right in every aspect of your analysis regarding our view on China.

Pretty soon when China becomes the a super power, we will surely take note as we did with USSR.

Great post.