Today I am North Korean

Death is a funny thing.

You hear that 10,000 people die in an earthquake in Turkey. You think, oh, what a pity. It gets some news coverage for a week.

You hear that 8,000 Brazilians die every day from Malaria — often children. You think, gee, that’s too bad. It gets no news coverage.

You hear that 3,000 North Koreans die in a train wreck, and you think. That’s no good. (Along with thinking that their government should keep their infrastructure up to date.)

3,000 some odd Americans die in a terrorist attack on American soil. And three years later, we think about it every single day.

We feel differently about accidental deaths than we do intentional ones. We don’t seem to mind preventable deaths nearly as much as we should.

But I thought, yesterday on hearing the initial death toll (revised downwards, I believe), how much more we value AMERICAN life than we do any other sort. I’m not sure our lives are worth any more than the Brazilians or North Koreans. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re not.

So today, I am North Korean. My heart goes out to the people of North Korea whose friends and family members died due to a combination of back luck and negligence. I am Brazilian. I pray for all those mothers who watch their infants wither and die because they had no mosquito netting, or $10 pills to effect a cure. I am Turkish. I pray for all those whose sisters and husbands were crushed under buildings built quickly and not to code, in order to earn a quick profit.

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

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