During the last week, the front pages of the New York Times featured a series of gut-wrenching headlines and arresting images all in such a rapid succession.
On one day, we saw images like the one above of the terrible humanitarian crisis unfolding in Somalia as tens of thousands of children have died from malnutrition. And then the next day, we saw the images of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in his hospital bed, once the most powerful man in his country and now absolutely powerless.
At the end of the week, we read about the tragic death of 30 Navy Seals in Afghanistan and extended our hearts and prayers to their families and friends who are no doubt experiencing overwhelming grief right now. We were also inundated with news about divisive budget debates in our nation’s capital and the S&P downgrade of American credit. And we saw corresponding images of our friends and neighbors standing in long unemployment lines.
As a journalist, I always wonder how images and stories like these affect the people who encounter them — and what they might reveal about our common humanity. I’ve been asking everyone I know what connections they think all these world events have between them. Some have suggested that they show that humanity is suffering from a poverty of the spirit. Some thought the stories reveal how powerlesss we all really are. Actually, power and powerlessness came up as a major theme in my conversations. Some pointed out that Mubarak was brought down from power by the collective will of his people who, until then, felt the same sense of powerlessness.
So, what about you — do you see a common thread that runs through theses events? Is there anything in these stories that can draw humanity together?
I’d love to hear from you.