Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Statistic

I would love to tell you more about my recent trip to Casa, but I am way too emotional to talk about that right now. Thanks Ashley. Anywho, here is another post.

"One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic."

This quote is credited to Joseph Stalin, and I used to think that this wasn't true. Obviously people care more about a mass genocide compared to the death of a single person, right?

Recently, the answer would be "no." As most, if not all of you know, the actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment on Tuesday. I found out by a text. Others found out from their friends. Some found out from the news. However people found out, the point is that those who do not live under a rock found out about this happening by the end of that day. Multiple television stations were scrambling for new information, while others bid farewell to this actor through touching thirty second long slide shows. People who did not even know this man cried for him. Cried for his family. People who had never met the man or were even that great of fans, left flowers by his doors step in New York. Celebrities partook in a race to see who could produce a statement expressing their condolences to the Ledger family first. People actually cared that Heath Ledger had died.
Do you know any of the names of those who were killed in Kenya today? How about Darfur? Why has no one texted me today to let me know that a little boy is now an orphan because his parents were killed? I didn't even hear the words "genocide" or "AIDS" or "ethnic cleansing" today. Why not? Where are the flowers on the doorsteps of the millions who have been killed over the past couple of weeks. Where was the touching slide show? The celebrity statements? The prayers? Where?
I couldn't tell you the name of one person who was murdered today in Africa or Asia. Not one. And, I even researched it. The reason we spend so little brain time on this subject is because it makes us uncomfortable-- it makes us feel guilty for living so comfortably. I also believe we spend so little time remembering those who died for ridiculous reasons like practicing the wrong religion or being part of the wrong tribe is because our media speaks so little about it. The media has its agenda that it wants to cover in the day, and the dying of thousands is not on it.
I just find it ironic that many hours are spent in mourning a person we have only seen in movies, and just few minutes is devoted to the struggles that people face everyday. I guess the death of a million really is just a statistic.


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