September 12, 2005
But that's the worst thing I have to deal with in my life right now.
Bangladesh faces this kinds of tragedy [i.e. hurricanes] every year and still it is a developing not a stagnant country. The media do not propagate the courage and efforts many Bangladeshis show each year to start their life all over. If the calamities would not only be the central idiom of the media, the world could have learnt many tips for tackling these kind of calamities.
Daniel Brett writes a striking post "What America can learn from Bangladesh":
"Last year Bangladesh faced a natural disaster which was an altogether larger disaster than Hurricane Katrina and the casualty figures were probably lower than the casualties sustained in the New Orleans disaster. But the disaster was contained due to the survival instincts of the Bangladeshi people, their ingenuity in the face of adversity and their culture of hard work. Rather than shoot and loot, Bangladesh immediately used its modest resources to limit the impact of the floods before international aid arrived.
The fact that the economy was able to recover from the floods so soon is a testament to the ability of Bangladeshis to pick themselves up and go about rebuilding.
The Americans have never really faced such adversity...Bangladeshis place great importance to social and family ties and these have brought them through a multitude of natural and man-made disasters. Bangladesh's experiences show us that, in the face of disaster, money does not make society more cohesive or better organised."
On the whole, Americans know very little about adversity. When the husband and I were talking about this last night, he said that whenever he starts to feel like his life sucks, he remembers the people of Iraq. These are people who faced death threats and drive-bys, people who could be the only surviver in a vehicle attack and still come in to work the next day. These are people who love nothing better than clean bottled water; even folks as high on the food chain as the mayors would gush over a bottle of water, my husband said. He remembers these things when he starts to feel his priorities slipping.
I'm glad we live in a country where death and destruction aren't rampant, where the worst I have to deal with is a smelly wet dog. But perhaps it makes us short on the gumption it takes to overcome real adversity, the gumption our forefathers had to leave everything and come to the New World. That's a bad thing to forget...
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