Saturday, December 26, 2009

Too many to forget

If you’ve been hypnotized by the lights on the Christmas tree, maybe you haven’t heard or seen any news in the last day or so. If that’s the case you might not realize that today is the 5th anniversary of the largest natural disaster in living memory -- the tsunami that killed over 200,000 people on Boxing Day, 2004.

The scene above is from a beach in Thailand, but one that’s on the Gulf of Thailand, the opposite side from where the devastation took place, the shores of the Indian Ocean. Still, I suspect many beaches that looked much like it were among those destroyed.

As so often is the case, my life gets caught up in what seems to be coincidence. Last night I started reading one of my brand-new gifts, Douglas Coupland’s Generation A. The first character to appear in the book is a Sri Lankan survivor of the tsunami. Page 1 reads like one of the tsunami videos on YouTube, “Imagine walking to the window’s louvred shutters and looking out and seeing the entire contents of the world you know flow past you…palm fronds, donkeys, the local Fanta bottler’s Jeep, unlocked bicycles, dead dogs…”

Thinking of all those people killed in such a short burst of time, I’m brought back to part of a film I caught on TV the other night, Star Wars. When Alderaan is obliterated, Obi-Wan says, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

I think many people felt the same kind of shock after the tsunami hit. How astounding that so much destruction could happen in the space of just a few minutes. Earlier tonight, I lit a candle, and am hoping for peace for those many lost souls.

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