compassion fatigue

June 20th, 2007

Lonnie explains the drive behind the China Dream Blog.

The post also includes a call for help:

“David and I only want one thing from you, and it’s not money nor pats on the back (we haven’t done anything yet). The only thing we want is for you to social network our requests for people’s dreams. Tell your friends to send us their dreams. Link to us, favorite us on Technorati, and tell others to do the same. Give us a few minutes of your time and a little space on your blog (which we know are valuable), and we’ll do our best to reflect credit on your generosity.”

So send him links, favourite him on Technorati. Apart from the reasons he gives in his post, he’s also doing this to raise money for two good causes.

I also like how he starts this post:

“One of the lines I repeatedly quote from Waiting for Godot is “Habit is a great deadener.â€? The more we see poverty, death, disability, illness, and systemic dysfunction, the more we become desensitized to it. The more we add charitable acts to the bottom of our to-do list, the more we deaden our reflexes to react to immediate human crises.”

And he includes a great cartoon on the same subject.

But I know I feel the compassion fatigue he refers to. When the news is little more than a constant bombardment of images of suffering, destruction, death, oppression, disaster, eventually my brain just has to perform some kind of emergency shut down before it explodes. I’m just one small English teacher in Beijing. What can I do?

Or to quote one of my favourite songs:

In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the t.v. page

But, like many Crowded House songs, although it has a note of melancholy to it, there’s also a kind of hope:

Hey now, hey now
Dont dream its over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they wont win

So I guess, at the risk of getting all sappy, one of the promises I see in the China Dream Blog is its potential to help break down walls.

Oh, and I categorise this as ’tilting at windmills’ because that’s how I feel putting up posts like this. I think Lonnie’s project has a much better chance of success, though.

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