Friday, December 31, 2004

Why do we Blog?

I just read Bino's eloquent and impassioned blog about...blogging. The purpose of it, what service does it provide to the world? Does it create good? How does it affect our lives?

I also just noticed right before I visited Bino's blog that he is my highest referral site, as well as Eileen's and perhaps Jean's as well. Yes, clearly many people visit and read El Serenito's naked thoughts. And thank God/dess. He often has fascinating and thought-provoking things to say. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for every blog I read, but that's okay. Human communication is a complex thing.

I've wondered some of the same things Bino has when I read others' blogs. Especially in the time leading up to the election, I was sometimes disgusted at the lack of political or even reflective blogging on what was clearly an event that could affect our lives for decades to come. But then, I haven't blogged about the horrible disaster and loss of human and other life in Asia due to the tsunami last weekend. I've spent most of my blogs talking about my holidays, my birthday, my new year's resolutions and my life. In short, blogging about me.

But then, isn't that what a blog is? An online 'confessional' of sorts, a public diary where we spill our guts. I have no illusions that my blog is a completely self-oriented thing; something I use to hash out my issues, to make public thoughts that I think are important and need to be known, and sometimes--especially around politics--to preach a bit from my tiny little virtual bully-pulpit when I feel strongly about something.

Of course, it's not that I haven't felt strongly about this great cry from the Earth's depths that has devastated the lives of millions of people. I have talked about the tsunami every day since it happened with friends and family, have prayed every day for the spirits of the victims and for the people who are walking around without potable water, with no food, in danger of dying of typhoid fever and other grotesque diseases that follow such disasters.

I haven't blogged about the tsunami because, for one, I know people are reading about it endlessly in the newspaper (as I have) or online, or watching it on the news. I am in no way an authority on tsunamis. I don't feel like my blog could be much more helpful to the relief effort than the many other things I can do to help. So no blogging about the disaster in Asia. I'd rather folks not read my blog and visit CNN or the web site of an NGO which is gathering supplies to aid the survivors. My blog is not the place to find that information.

For two, I believe that we as survivors of this disaster must go on. We must acknowledge the terrible loss of life and help as much as we can with relief efforts, we must honor the dead, and we must find ways to make sure that we can safeguard communities against future calamities. As someone who lives on the Pacific 'Rim of Fire'--and quite close to the beach as well--this has been on my mind constantly since last Sunday. Do our governments have our safety in mind? Does the War on Terror leave enough money in our budget to upgrade tsunami warning systems on the West Coast and elsewhere? Can we learn something from this awful tragedy?

I hope so. So, on this rain-drenched New Year's Eve, I publicly pay homage to those thousands of men, women, children, old people, tourists, mothers, wives, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, birds, animals that were killed in the tsunami that struck with little warning. I hope they find peace beyond the veil of this Life. And I pray that we learn from the mistakes of the past, learn to respect Mother Earth and listen to her cries of despair, and move forward together to build a world where love for the Earth and all of her children, for each other, is at the forefront of our collective consciousness.


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