Wijvenweek: Mourning & sensation

While the bells of the downtown main church are ringing after a remembering service , I'm staring at the tv images that keep coming over and over again. I don't want to see that bus wreck over and over again anymore but tv programming got changed and I am absolutely not in the mood for a comedy or late-night show on a foreign tv channel. Like most Belgians today I feel numb by the tragedy that has happened last night in Switzerland.  I'm shocked how the majority of 2 school classes has been wiped away just like that.

This morning I clicked on the class blog of this ski vacation and saw these beautiful smiling faces staring at me, dressed up for a casino evening , taking first ski lessons and waving happily to the camera. I can't get them out of my head anymore. So wijvenweek , opinions, work & deadlines...it all seems so trivial today.  Should I blog? Should I blog about the accident or just post some music like I always do on a Wednesday?

Usually I'm pretty reluctant to blog about the breaking news of the day.  Somehow it often feels inappropriate. To which degree do we blog and post about it out of empathy and true emotions or to which degree are we also driven by the sensation of the day that holds us all in our grip?  On Tuesday we must all blog about the colorful cupcakes we just baked and on Wednesday we all feel obliged to state how sad we are about a tragedy that's all over the news.  And I'm not doubting that we all do feel our deepest sympathy for family and friends that have encountered a tragedy but is it appropriate that we all express that so openly.  Don't we compete (unconsciously) to write the most compassionate, empathic, nice post? Don't we want to be part of the collective grief/shock? While on Thursday we continue our daily routines again and move to the next online hype. 

There is a second reason I struggle with these public  displays of emotions & empathy.  While I can't get my mind off to think how these parents feel today, how the colleague teachers must try to deal with their grief over the loss of their colleagues & students, how little soccer players tonight ask their parents if their good friend will show up for practise next weekend, etc...  I also wonder how parents feel tonight who lost a child over a small non-mediased accident 3 weeks ago?  While these 2 impacted schools get support from psychologists, which support gets a child in another school who just lost its mommy over cancer?  Is one type of grief more worthy of public support while others go unnoticed?  Is one loss of a child worth the visit of our royal family and national condolences websites while another doesn't? Why will our government call out a day of national grief for this huge accident, but not for the shooting in Liege in December that also killed some innocent children? What is the threshold of # children that must die before we have a day of national grief?   Is there a hierarchy? Witch asked a similar question tonight.

Don't get me wrong....I think it's natural & human that an accident of this size gets the attention that it gets.  I belief we'll always be more touched when children are involved than eg when this would have been a bus of retired people.  And a lot of these public shows of compassion are deeply touching and beautiful.  I don't belief we should stop them because another accident goes more unnoticed.  But still there feels something wrong to me, although I don't know what should get changed. I don't know.  At least it can never be wrong to express our genuine condolences.  And maybe we need to ask ourselves if we are attentive enough for the daily more hidden tragedies in our environment and if we offer enough support instead of being fully absorbed in our busy lives?

While I look in the direction of the St Lambertus school a bit further, I wonder how many nearby families have lost a child, ex-teacher, friend, relative, ...Do I know them? In how many houses will people have trouble to catch sleep?  I do want to express my deepest sympathy to all of them.


Brian Miller said…
gosh i missed this completely...i need to look this up...how sad...i was wondering as i was listening to the song above why a sad song was appropriate...

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