It's easy to be myopic in life. Privilege. Cultural superiority. Flat out ignorance. Filtering out the volume of a few billion daily stories to a manageable level. Or just not putting the pieces together -- letting the news flow over you without thinking of consequences and people, rather than dry facts or soundbits.
Sometimes it's useful to ponder how events would look to someone else. To someone who has some (or merely more) skin in the game.
I was struck by this thought in one of today's email feeds from the Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- News of the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi spread quickly among the handful of Libyan students at Grand Valley State University.
"I wish I could be in Libya now. I am sure that all of Libya is happy right now," said Ssalah Hrhor, 36, a graduate student at GVSU. "This is the end of 42 black years for my country."
Hrhor said he received a phone call early this morning from his brother in Libya telling him that his brother's son, who fought with the rebel forces against Gadhafi, had seen Gadhafi's body.
"He saw him with his eyes. He saw him dead," Hrhor said.
Hrhor said this is one of the happiest days of his life.
"I think I going to go out and buy candy and chocolate and give it out to everyone. We are very, very, very happy."
So if you're on the GVSU campus today and a Middle Eastern looking fellow comes up to you offering candy and chocolate -- take them and offer him congratulations. For this is a man who has a chance to regain his homeland again.
Is the story, third-hand, of being an eyewitness true? I have no idea. Will Libya become a more open society and shed decades of dictatorship? Who knows? Am I grateful not to live through such nightmares? You betcha. Am I likely to tag and remember this for future reference in my SF writing? Yes to the first and probably for the second.
But maybe I'll think differently about the protests and revolutions in Libya, Egypt, Syria... and Wall Street and Madison WI... and people.
And have some chocolate -- it's on Gadhafi.