Recently, I received this e-mail from my Swedish-Thai friend, Nouna. She is very distressed over the loss of life among Swedish tourists from this terrible Tsunami disaster. I thought I would share a few parts of her e-mail here, as it sheds a bit of light on the Swedish response to the disaster:
So far the official numbers in Sweden is that 44 are dead, most likely there will be a few hundred dead, perhaps even over 1000. The mainstream media has calculated that 1500 Swedes are missing, but that’s just numbers who went by charter. Now, after calculating travellers who just bought seats, the number is 4000. Naturally these are very broad numbers.
The government has received lots of criticism for not sending out planes etc fast enough. Expert teams have been sent to identify dead people. For Sweden this is seen as bigger than the Estonia (ship) sinking ten years ago. This is pretty much our Sep 11 as everyone seems to know someone who was in the area at the time. Schools and communities are preparing crisis handling for when people arrive home, or are reported to be dead/still missing.
No worries. You post was fair and valid in my opinion. Beleive it or not, my post that went MIA was more harsh than yours. OK, maybe just a tiny, tiny, tiny bit more. 🙂
wow, now i feel like the bad guy 🙁
Thanks for the comment Luai. I am glad I was able to explain my point of view which was never meant to offend anybody.
I had a response to that last line ready, but wasn’t able to post it …I think the ESPN/NFL realtime scoring distracted me. But, let me tell ya, I am really glad it didn’t post. I would have hated to see your comment to my post. 🙂 I knew you would get asked about it, and deep down inside I had a feeling you could explain yourself. I appreciate you letting us know LOUD and CLEAR where you stand.
My last phrase was entirely cynical. I may have intentionally missed a “smilie” at the end but that’s because I am a pessimist. With the way things are going around the world right now, and the way they have been going ever since I remember reading my first newspaper, I can tell you that there will be more humans killed by humans this year. It is the sad nature of many and unfortunately they control the minds and/or the paychecks of many others. It is almost impossible to change that without, ironically, shedding more blood. Hence my consolation for 2005 is for Nature to preserve the lives of us earthlings.
I totally understand the personal nature of your email and I share a lot of your grief over what happened. Having lived in the US during and after the events of Sep 2001, I have seen how people’s tragedies can be capitalized on or (ab)used for political motives. I also have noticed how the numbers 9 and 11 started carrying their own connotation. Therefore I become anxious whenever that date is used as a descriptive for a mishap because I feel like “they” have managed to incorporate the tragic events of the last quarter of 2001 into the every day lexicon and in that 9/11 can be further exploited to justify many resolutions and their outcome. In a sense, I worry that 9/11 will become the modern day “Holocaust”.
Both 9/11 and the tsunamis are “real” and need not be analogous to make one or the other more palpable. Let’s hope that the losses and the suffering are kept at a minimum and that the media’s outcry in Sweden and around the world results in more aid and better coordination of relief efforts.
I totally agree that the Tsunami can’t be compared to 9/11. That was deliberate, this is mother nature. My email was of a personal nature and what I meant was that it’s Sweden’s 9/11 in the sense that almost everyone knows someone who was there. The fact that everyone knows someone naturally makes it more “real” to people. Heard today the missing number is going down and many have been flown home.
Of course the Swedish media is blowing everything up as it’s the local angle. The media coverage is probably as huge here as during 9/11. News updates every half hour/hour and tons of human interest stories. Lots of complaints here and there regarding the government being too slow in bringin people home, but more voices are being heard now that go against complaints.
Im sorry Jameed, but i have to reply to your last comment about “Let’s hope Mother Nature will be more compassionate in 2005 and leave the task of killing humans to humans themselves.” If we should ever hope for anything in this world, it should be that only natural disasters end up killing humans, NOT humans themselves. Yes, it is so sad what has happened in South East Asia and to every other country that has ever experienced a natural disaster. But this is nature and the world at work. Nature does not have feelings, a mind to use, or rules and laws to follow. Humans do. When a human kills another human, be it through murder, acts of terror, state punishment, or even when invading other countries, that is when we should hope for the best.
It’s a true tragedy. I was deeply moved by the footage of the floating human bodies. What is more troubling is that most disasters tend to strike the underprivileged. But I have some reservations about drawing analogies between a natural disaster and an act of terrorism: The act was not deliberate against the Swedes, although Sweden is reportedly the worse-affected Western nation, and it did not affect the Swedish economy as much as 9/11 affected the American economy. This however does not undermine the gravity of either incidence. Let’s hope Mother Nature will be more compassionate in 2005 and leave the task of killing humans to humans themselves.