When you’re an expat and you still can’t believe you can hear your hometown radio every morning, you feel a kinship whenever a tragedy hits your country. I thought that living overseas would make me more interested in world news, but actually news from the USA feels even dearer.
At our international school in Indonesia, a student mentioned the Boston tragedy once today and another student didn’t believe him. I had to confirm, that “yes, a bomb had gone off at the Boston Marathon.” “Oh really?” Sadly, I nodded.
What is the right response? Just as if I were in America . . . do you take to Facebook or Twitter to post your condolences? Some people are better at that than I am. Sometimes it feels like a need to prove your compassion, rather than the silent prayer or the quiet acknowledgement among good friends. Being in Indonesia hasn’t changed this dilemma–I felt equally as social network speechless after the shooting of Gabby Giffords in Arizona, which happened when I was living at home in Michigan.
One big difference between international coverage and CNN America is how quickly the subject changes. The Sandy Hook tragedy shook the world with the sheer numbers of children involved and dominated international coverage. However, the Boston Marathon bombing has been overtaken by other news, including a BBC report of the earthquake in Iran.
When you live in America, you can feel like an only child, with your life events as the center of your family’s universe. When you’re overseas, you realize you’re among siblings. Each nation taking up attention as needed.
A colleague witnessed the Lion Air plane crash while visiting Bali this past weekend.
That having been said . . . my heart truly continues to go out to Newton families and Boston Marathoners and all the families of the victims.