Christmas and the tsunami

Another Christmas survived. Despite low-scale ambitions we ended up with a pile of gifts each (mainly from the mothers) and food, cookies and candy to last us til New Year’s.
I long for vegetables and smoothies, anything that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve eaten a chunk of pure fat.
Today is the start of the post-xmas sales, and I’ve decided to go to Kista where they have a bunch of nice stores, generous opening hours, and above all you can avoid the snow since it’s one big indoor mall. Yes, we got a white Christmas, atleast the end of it. On Christmas day the flakes started swirling about and today there are plenty of them on the ground and in the air. Big, slow ones dancing around my face. Quite nice, but one day of it is enough.

A year ago today was so different. This morning I watched the tsunami memorial ceremony for Swedes, broadcast from Khao Lak in Thailand. There were a lot of empty chairs, due to bad weather(?).
I liked parts of the ceremony. It was kept small, a small stage, not that many performers, and though Swedish television filmed it, they kept to the background, allowing the relatives and friends of the victims to mourn in peace. No faces in the audience were shown.
They could have skipped Carola though. Her performance felt out of place and only embarrasing, but then, it was the wish of the relatives that she performed.

For me, lucky not to have lost any near or dear ones to the big wave, the memorial and all the media attention of the past few weeks have brought back memories from the days just after the tsunami.
At we were a bunch of journalists working around the clock to cover the events, trying to bring clarity to what had happened and was happening.
After a couple of days, Aftonbladet set up a site where relatives could post photos and descriptions of missing people, in hope that someone might recognize them and let the relatives know if they had made it and where they might be found. It was my job to update this site. It was hard not to get affected by the photos, especially those of young, smiling children, and the desperate pleas. They brought the disaster much closer, and it was an emotional time when I could write â€?found aliveâ€? next to a photo, or worse – when I had to remove one because the person was found dead.

Then there were the stories from colleagues who had made a narrow escape and relatives of friends who had been through hell. Through all the tales shone a bright image of the very helpful locals who had lost all they had and still had compassion for the western visitors. If anything good has come out of the tsunami, it would be that people might see that it really is a small world, and that what happens on the other side of it can affect us. Hopefully this will bring greater understanding and compassion when similar things happen, even when we are not directly affected.


Web veteran, journalist, blogger since 1998, loves creativity and originality, photography and her family. [More]

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