One catastrophe – No catastrophe!

Posted on June 23, 2013


One morning for over a month ago, I woke up to the terrible news about a tornado that struck the state of Oklahoma in the US and ravaged many human being’s life’s. It is horrible when Mother Earth and its atmosphere strikes back against humanity and naturally you suffer with the families that have lost their near and dear ones, but also the John and Jane Doe’s that nobody misses. More than hundred fellow human beings have died and thousands have lost their life’s, educational facilities and work. We have followed this drama in different media that is providing us with vital information for many human beings, but the question is, why we in our country Sweden chose to almost solely observe the things that are taking place in the great country in the west, when there is an even bigger catastrophe taking place in another country almost as far from us that live in Sweden.

In the southern and south-western part of China an unwelcome guest in the shape of a devastating cloud-burst arrived about at the same time as the tornado in Oklahoma. A cloud-burst that not killed as many as the tornado in the US, but managed to bring a lot of missed and not missed human beings to the other side. More than a million people are affected and thousands have been evacuated. People have, as in the case of Oklahoma, lost their homes, educational facilities (if just temporary) and work. But when it comes to the reporting by the media this catastrophe is totally knocked out by the catastrophe taking place in the US.

Extremely curious I am googling partly on Oklahoma tornado and partly China cloud-burst (or similar). The former leaves a daily updated information about the catastrophe on first place, but the latter do not give any to-date reports. I get the same result when I visit most of the big news spreader’s homepages. It is only the faithful old Swedish national news-channel that is commenting the catastrophe in China in some news-report during the day. How can it be that there is such a difference in interest from media’s side despite the fact that the Chinese catastrophe affected more human beings.

Of course, this is a tough question to analyze and probably you will get different answers from the different people you ask. However, you can have a go at a very light analyze that totally lack scientific evidence, but yet can be of value in the debate.

Could an answer to the question be that we in the western world think that Chinese people are less worth as human beings than the Americans? I would like to claim that that could surely be one answer to the question. We have much more in common with the Americans and the Swedish people have also been a part of refining the American nation through the immigrants that left Sweden at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th  century.  Related to this an answer could be that there is a greater risk that there are more “Swedish people” involved in the catastrophe in the US than in China. But should it be like this? Personally, I do not know anyone in Oklahoma just as little as I know anyone in southern China. A human being’s life should reasonably be equally worth no matter where that human being has its origin.

Another aspect can be that we, despite China’s advance in the business-world, expect that we will be negatively affected through the economic perspective. The US has a great influence in the business-world and if they get wounded, we get pinioned as well. Yet, you rather would like to ask the world to see beyond the economy and value the human capital instead.

Finally, China is well-known for not move in democratic ways and the US is often pointed out to be the greatest democracy in the world. We often point at China’s flaws in democracy and the human rights, but the government of the US is not flawless when it comes to these two either, which is confirmed over and over again by the war on terrorism. Dictatorship or democracy should not matter when it comes to human being’s equal value.

I hope that we in the future can see an equally divided pan with reports from catastrophes wherever they take place. But we that is consuming the news must also indicate the importance of an equal distribution in these situations. We are quite alike after all we that inhibit this world.

Posted in: Humanitarian