Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why does god hate Nepal?

As I have often blogged here, living a Socratic examined life reveals a lot about our own priorities. A literal and metaphorical example came up in the context of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.  I captured this flow of tweets in my Twitter feed:

The juxtaposition of Pepsi and aspartame, and American kids and money, on either side of news about the tragedy in Nepal says a lot about the lives that we lead.  In all fairness to Vox, the Nepal news featured a lot in the tweets from that organization.  I value Vox as a news and analysis source; why else would I subscribe to that feed, right?  And, of course, WSJ tweets about all things trivial too.

Which is why I use that juxtaposition as a metaphor.  Think about some of the major events over the past few months that have terribly affected humanity.  The civil war in Syria.  Boko Haram in Nigeria. The convoluted Greek fiscal tragedy.  Ferguson and Baltimore.  The list is endless.

Caption at the source:
On Sunday, Nepalis in Bhaktapur, near the capital, Katmandu, cremate relatives killed in in the earthquake

Sure, we humans cannot be immersed in tragedies all the time and we might get tired of the bad news out there.  But, seriously, what percentage of our lives do we actually spend on the bad news?  Both in terms of time as well as money.  Or, let me put it this way: should we not at least match the time and money that we spend entertaining ourselves with time and money on the unfortunate situations that are all around us?  I don't mean our work time, how much ever that is entertaining to us.  I wish there were a meter of sorts--a meter that lets us watch sports for an hour, for instance, only after we spent at least half that time reading/watching in-depth news and reports about some of the issues that trouble fellow humans.

I suppose this rant is nothing but a secular version of the old religious ideas of caring for others, donating to help, not to be preoccupied with entertainment, and more.  But then most believers, of whatever gods they fancy, have long since walked away from those teachings, while this atheist continues to pound on those old-fashioned ideas!  Such is life :(

Just as I was writing that previous sentence, an emailed popped up--it was about Nepal:

If you feel like donating, then here is a list that the NY Times has put together.

PS: Why the title, you ask?  Click here for the answer.


Anne in Salem said...

It was unbelievable yesterday watching the death toll rise almost by the minute. Inconceivable loss. May all the scammers who manipulate this loss into a for-profit racket for themselves suffer as much as the Nepalese. Let's also hope this news and the appropriate humanitarian response last longer in the average American's conscience than interest in a has-been athlete/reality TV character's transformation.

Ramesh said...

Very sad. Life is just a lottery of being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Each time a disaster of such proportions occurs, the human misery that it creates is heart wrenching. Thankfully so many of our fellow humans chip in to help - monetarily or otherwise. I am far more hopeful for the human qualities of kindness and compassion.

Sriram Khé said...

Maybe I will do another post on this ... to me, Nepal is a Haiti in the Himalayas: they are comparably poor countries, trapped in a way--Haiti in the waters, and Nepal in the mountains. When an earthquake hits these poor countries, the destruction of life is far more compared to when a similar magnitude strikes richer countries. If only we can get people out of that low-resource position really fast ... meanwhile, I hope the rest of world will help out.
But, I am afraid that when NFL draft begins on Thursday, Nepal will barely blip in the news. It is a surprise that Nepal continues to be in the news despite the Bruce Jenner story; perhaps there is hope for us humans on this planet!

Shachi said...

I feel the pain and misery. And I do my best to reach out, in whatever way I can.

Choosing to look at the positive around me: My housekeeper, an American, texted me to check on my family, and whether they were affected by the earthquake. Took me by surprise as I did not think of her as someone who is in sync with world news. But she showed she cares. And when I said they are fine and away from the quake areas, she said I'm praying for all out there, I am feeling so sad.

I have a local friend whose family is in Nepal - I reached out to them. They are safe, but without a home. With a young toddler. I've been told they are somehow surviving. And my friend was grateful I reached out with help....she said I was the only local friend who did.

We are doing fund raisers this week within the company (who will match all donations) as well as outside for the rich Asian community.

I have a friend who is on sabbatical and on a trek there - reached out to learn she is safe. I am waiting to hear back from here since she is right in the middle of the crisis.

As Ramesh said, kindness and compassion exists....we just need to surround ourselves with those who express it.

Sriram Khé said...

Indeed, we all can contribute in our own ways. Am delighted that Intel will match the money that you folks raise.

By the time the final tallies are done, the number dead will be far more than the current totals. And then the numbers without a shelter, the health and hygiene-related illnesses, ... a great deal of contributions will be required.

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