Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tsunami: What you can do, even if you are far away

What you can learn. And how to apply the lessons to your life.I'm sure there's been many who have probably already thought about what I'm going to say. But, it's been on my mind and I thought I'd say it.

There's been an outpouring of offers for assistance. Some people, although far away, want to get involved. But there's not much they can do. Things are taking time.

I was thinking about all the nice people who were offering to help. Even though you may not be able to do anything "specific" [like fly in, fix a building, or repair roads], ...other than give money, I was thinking "what else could someone do?"

I got to thinking. The people on the ground are going to end up having to get through this. People around the globe can't "go through their grieving for them"...although they can empathise.

One thing people could do if they wish to "understand better what people are going through" is read over the journals of those who might have survived different ordeals. Perhaps reading their struggle and their commentary on "how things were" and "what they had wished for" might give others with the time to come up with new ideas on how to help.

Perhaps people, after reading of other ordeals and struggles, might come to gain a closer awareness of "their situation", and you might come up with your own ideas of "what to do."

Now, I'm not suggesting that nobody is doing this. From what I can gather, people are probably reviewing the old religious texts for similar references of struggles. So don't think that I'm that out of touch.

However, if people have done that and are looking for "new ideas" and "what to do," perhaps they might wish to read the struggle of those who were in similar situations of struggle, close confinement, and displaced from their homes.

I'm not suggesting that the events in Asia match what I'm referring to, only that "the idea of struggle, loss, displacement, and sudden changes" are similar to other situations that have come to mind:

  • The massive movement of Chinese on the Long March
  • People who have been banished to the outer fringes of Siberia
  • The discussion of those who survived the Holocaust
  • The stories of those who have been in the Palestinian refugee camps
  • The history of the American Indian, and their movement to reservations
  • Japanese internment and the legacy of their situation

    This list is not intended to be all inclusive. But I thought I'd share "my thought" on what people could do.

    People might want to review the above literature, or other similar situations to review the following types of questions:

  • What does it feel like to be displaced?
  • When people go through this much change and turmoil, what do they really hope the world will do?
  • For those who have suddenly lost their friends and loved ones, what are things that helped them get through it?
  • How did the world's reaction or non-reaction to these events help or hinder their transition back to a "normal" life?

    Again, the above questions are not intended to be "all inclusive", but perhaps others have ideas on things.

    My overall thought is: If we take the time to read examples of other situations, we may come up with our own ideas of "what we might do."

    Anyway, I'm sure others who are actually working in the relief area have already thought about these things. Perhaps these are the types of things that prompted them to get involved in the first place.

    But, for the rest of us who may not be physically involved, we can still "get involved" by looking at the situation from a similar perspective. We might even be in a position to better support those who "return from the relief efforts."

    We also might be in a position to write a nice letter of goodwill to those who are not only suffering losses, but to those who are working hard to help. It's always nice to get mail expressing support and warmth, even from a stranger.

    We may not be able to get our hands dirty. But we can at least be there to help others who are moving through this difficult time.

    Thanks for reading and best wishes to you.