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The world’s attention is beginning to wander

Isn’t it funny how fast we can get over tragedy. Maybe not personal tragedy, but certainly tragedy on a giant scale doesn’t really hold our attention for long does it?

The biggest story of the last couple of weeks is already slipping from front page news. The earthquake in Haiti has left 200,000 dead and cut a swathe of misery that’s going to last for years, but we’re already leaving it behind. Stories of banking greed, substandard education and local crimes have already replaced the images of a collapsed country and its citizens still in a state of bewildered shock.

But Haiti is the story I chose to bring to the attention of the daughterlets of the house, who until now have been protected from grown up news. We went through a pile of newspapers and photos of Haiti devastation with my (admittedly doctored) commentary.

I may have gotten a bit carried away as eldest girl (aged 8 1/2) finally asked me to stop and talk about something happier “for example, the Muppet Show”. But there was an end result: she started a campaign in her school which raised some 700 euros to send to the national collection fund.

I couldn’t however find a way to tell my girls about the story which has most choked me about the Haiti disaster, or to this one. Both my girls are adopted, and I couldn’t ask them for the kind of empathy the stories have stirred in me.

Why is it that the worst disasters bring out the best but also the worst in people? Children are disappearing from orphanages. Is that necessarily a bad thing? If they can find their way to loving families abroad, maybe not. But the problem about unregulated adoption is that there’s no one to make sure that the right people are getting the children. That they’re not going to end up in the hands of pedophiles or porn rings or organ harvesters. The world may be in the process of forgetting, but this is a critical period for Haiti’s unclaimed young. A period that could radically alter the rest of their lives.

4 Comments on “The world’s attention is beginning to wander”

  1. #1 jasmin
    on Feb 2nd, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Hi, Dheera, I understand your feelings about Haiti and the orphans and the Dutch ‘family’, who lost their lives…Sometimes, things go beyond human control that make us realise that we are just muppets, dancing to the tunes of that Someone who governs the universe…
    Btw..don’t mind, I thought you were to write about South Asia..

  2. #2 Dheera
    on Feb 3rd, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Thanks for your comment - yes, in this blog, I’ll write about South Asia, but also about happenings in Europe and the world that I feel really moved to respond to or vent an opinion about. After all, we’re all connected in this big round wonderful world aren’t we?
    Keep writing in - we love the comments

  3. #3 jasmin
    on Feb 5th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks Dheera,,,don’t want to sound intrusive…but….I feel Sarla from Australia is your dear mother….??

  4. #4 Dev Narayan
    on Feb 11th, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Yes the tragedy in Haiti is immense. But as usual we see channeling our attentions on more interesting news. Obviously it’s human nature to flee away from pain and misery. As Life become more fast paced and dreams just keep on soaring, we will see more of these quick shift of attentions. We have become more and more self-centered. We in India are more aware about this self-centered existence flourishing in our society as we see people opt for micro families; father, mother and one or two children. We have started seeing our grandmas and grandpas end up in old age homes and dying alone as their children turn their back on them. We slowly and steadily learned to be more and more self-centered in our urge to fulfilling our growing needs. Even emotions and feelings are shared with empty external expressions of niceties . As the society lose its ability to hold on to tender feelings we will see people changing their attentions fast from tragedies like what happened in Haiti. They may shift attention to something more entertaining and interesting to occupy their self-centered existence. Obviously the news in the media will reflect it too!

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