I, and those who know me well, know that I'm a rather emotional person and even though that may not be regarded as one of a man's most manly and desirable qualities I really don't give a damn. That's just how I am. So I am quite ready to say that when the TV or Radio News brings us interviews and comments and news from quake-stricken Christchurch I sometimes have difficulty holding back the tears. After all I, like hundreds of thousands of others, have walked down those streets, have been in that Cathedral, have been in that Mall. My last visit was less than a year ago which, in geological terms, is a mere fraction of a second in time. I could easily have been one of those who lies beneath the rubble. As could many people I know and some I love. It nearly was!
One of the problems with television, as I have commented before, is that it anaesthetises us. We are taken right into war zones whilst the bullets and bombs are whizzing and falling. We are taken into the 9/11s as the fires rage. We are taken into the horrors of the genocide of Rwanda and the Congo. We are in the midst of the horrors of Christchurch and, for once, for us in New Zealand it is personal. Very personal.
But the television and radio views are brought to us by people we don't know personally.
The photos, the words and the emotions on Fiona's blog are, to me, personal because Fiona is a real person who is part of my Blog world and also part of my Facebook world. So when I see her pictures and read her words I am seeing and reading things which are real and believable and which have no anaesthetic qualities.
Paul Holmes is a New Zealand broadcaster. I have to admit that I have no liking for him. He is, however, the consummate wordsmith. Yesterday in the New Zealand Herald he published the following letter:
Whatever views I may have of Paul, his words brought tears to my eyes. If I had been born or brought up a New Zealander I would like to think that I had been blessed with the ability to craft those words and bring forth the emotions they evoke.
As it is all I can do is feel helpless and realise just how lucky I am.