samedi, mai 24, 2008

Eating Bitter

"There is no official figure on how many children died at Xinjian Primary School, nor on how many died at scores of other schools that collapsed in the powerful May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province. But the number of student deaths seems likely to exceed 10,000, and possibly go much higher, a staggering figure that has become a simmering controversy in China as grieving parents say their children might have lived had the schools been better built..." From Saturday's NYT

I don't think I could do what Melissa Block and Robert Seigel did. For the past few weeks, Block and Seigal reported for NPR on the earthquake from Sichuan province. Yes, they didn't go to Sichuan to report on an earthquake that caused more than 50,000 deaths. They found themsleves in the middle of a story. Yet their empathy, courage and fidelity to the high ideals of journalism was remarkable.

What I would have found hardest was the death of thousands of children in primary schools that were not built to withstand earthquakes. The stories on the radio are searing-what is the reality? In, China, as you know, families were often not supposed to have more than one daughter or son.

I wonder what returning to the US will be like for Block and Seigal. I'm guessing they will struggle a little with returning to a city where buildings rarely shake. I hope they have help in processing what they saw. And I'm sure the faces of Sichuan Province, alive and dead, will remain with them forever. We should keep them, and the people of China, in our prayers.

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