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January 2, 2005
Heartless Media Morons

Sometimes Western journalists really make us all look so callous that Third World resentment becomes much more understandable. Case in point: London Times columnist Matthew Parris, who asks us to enjoy the tsunami and its aftermath, as natural disasters keep the world from being too boring. No, I'm not kidding:

If it were our choice to trigger this seizure, our hand upon the lever of human fortune, would we have pulled the lever? Of course not.

So why the thrill?

I have hesitated before using that word thrill. It is easily misunderstood. It might seem to make light of the blackest few days ever experienced in the lives of millions. But all the reciting in the world of the scale of these miseries, all the acknowledgement we can make of the sympathy which they evoke, cannot hide a small, uncomfortable thought which (I am pretty confident) has occurred to you as it has occurred to me.

The thought is expressed in the word (and the punctuation) Wow!

I'm glad he can appreciate the "thrill" of seeing 150,000 people die in a few moments of cataclysmic destruction. However, the people closest to it don't consider the loss of their loved ones a thrill of any sort, nor do I suspect they would endorse the notion that people should take some sort of entertainment from their devastation. Another case in point would be the parents of the children swept out to sea or crushed beneath the waves, lost forever. These mothers and fathers not only fail to see the thrill of nature, but have not yet accepted its results:

As dawn breaks over Sri Lanka's coast, dozens of parents come to the beach where huge waves seized their children a week ago. "They believe their kids are alive and the sea will return them one day," UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy said on Sunday, after touring this island country's tsunami-devastated shore.

Children accounted for a staggering 40 percent, or 12,000, of Sri Lanka's death total of 30,000, officials said. But without bodies to mourn over, many parents find it hard to believe their children are dead. Some children were buried in mass graves, before parents were told. Many were swept out to sea. Others may still await discovery in some of the island's 800 refugee centers.

Mr. Parris should interview these people to determine their answer to his coldhearted and shallowminded question. I'd bet that they would pay every last cent they have to just have one more moment with their beloved children. The editors at the Times exercised the same poor judgment and taste as Parris by allowing it to run while the dead still await burial and the people in the Indian Ocean area face grave threats to their existence from thirst, starvation, and disease. Someone should apologize for this travesty, and immediately.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 2, 2005 5:22 PM

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