Ever since Christmas we have been seeing the rising toll of casualties in Asia to incomprehensible height, after disaster struck. (By comparison the death toll now stands roughly at the number of inhabitants in my home town. Impossible to imagine, my whole town gone.)
It's hard to think of anything meaningful to say from the comfort of my home; another call to help doesn't make sense as those are already coming at you and me from all directions, through all media.
But there are stories to tell, and when the dust settles, when emergency relief efforts give way to rebuilding and reconstruction, we will have to take a close look at the role blogs and wikis played in this, and what lessons to take away and spread, so that we can apply them when needed again.
The first thing to note is how connected the world is, which does not cease to amaze me. There is no "far away news" any more really. We knew four people in the area, who all are safe, although two had a horrifying experience. And my feedreader brings to me personal accounts, with an immediacy and emotion that sends shivers down my spine. And those are only the stories that turned out well. It is simply impossible to not feel involved when personal voices bring home the pain, grief, anguish and horror, as opposed to the abstracted statistics.
And then there are those of us that know how to turn our experience with new media into making an impact. The efforts of Dina Mehta and the wonderfull people of Worldchanging deserve our great respect. Through the Tsunami help-blog and wiki they have created, information, essential to those missing loved ones, is disseminated and help-efforts coordinated.
If you are donating money to relief efforts I would like to ask you to consider to give it to efforts who are not only concerned with emergency relief but also will assist in enabling the people of SE Asia to rebuild their communities in a sustainable way. It is once the spotlight of media-attention moves away, once the initial emergency relief comes to an end, when the work still to be done is less newsworthy that our support is most needed.Permalink