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Jan 04, 2005




You have my profound sympathy for what you have been through, and I'm glad your knee was only a flesh wound. One question, I've wondered about: Could blogging somehow have gotten information IN to the disaster zone. All the focus, including mine, was in getting intomation OUT. Could bloggers have somehow helped in the other direction?


I think the book is an excellent idea. My father did a similar thing in the wake of the death of his infant daughter, my sister, who was born with spina bifida and a host of other maladies back in the 1960s when these things were far less treatable. He wrote to all kinds of people asking if they'd ever had a moment of truth and how it had shaped their lives. Got some pretty interesting responses, including letters from Winston Churchill and many more public figures. Ultimately, he had a book of facsimiles (this was pre-email, so the letters themselves were of interest) and sold it via infomercial, with the profits going to charity. I think it would be so much easier to do in this electronic age.

You should also check out, if you haven't already, Bloggers Without Borders: Apparently, they were going to launch later this year, but stepped it up b/c of the tsunami.

As for being "back in the swing of 'business' things," might I gently suggest you take some of the excellent advice you always give us and follow your heart? If you allow your healing body and psyche the space they require, the answers will come. And not only will your "business" change--it will change the world.

Evelyn Rodriguez

Shel- Thanks, I appreciate your concern. I doubt blogging could have gotten information IN; read the post "The Terror of Information, and Lack of it" above. In most cases, we were stranded up in hills away from most communications (ok, in my case it was a pretty comfy restaurant with a view of the debris-filled bay, then later a large boat, then a hospital - that's first 24 hours).

Cellphones are the most prevalent information vehicle in the developing world; although again not perfect either as many villagers don't have phones nor electricity. I think Howard Rheingold, see, has been writing a lot about the use of SMS in emergency situations. Finding the 'Net, surfing Technorati and the other search engines really wasn't practical in the first few days.

Colleen - Thanks for throwing back my own advice ;-) A lot of people think it's time to "move on" but only my heart knows when it's ready. Repression of feelings is not the ticket (except to depression). I am just feeling awkward when people ask me about what currently still seems to me (forgive me) to be rather mundane topics. But I am feeling ready to talk at times about something other the tsunami now - on MY own timing. What I'm not ready to do is make big plans or launch anything new - old plans might be up for grabs now - without listening and contemplating more. Thanks!

Angelo Fernando

I like the idea of a book, because it will have its place in the literature of crisis communications, apart from being able to document one of the worst disasters in recent history. I am a Sri Lankan, and apart from my communication-turned-Tsunami relief blog, I have been asked to write on the some of the areas that you discuss so well. I am getting many stories of relief work and survivors' tales that I cannot keep up with on my blog, and have been contemplating the book idea myself.

There is another aspect that many friends and relief workers keep telling me. They realize the tsunami as front page and top of the hour news will quickly fade away, but monumental work will need to go on --infrastructure, psychlogical help, virtually rebuilding the economies of the fishing community and people who live by the sea. I have seen the private sector doing work of governments, individuals doing the work of NGOs, and everything inbetween. They will need the backing of those who can help sustain the effort, not just financially, but in other ways. I am talking of 3 or 5 years from now.

So happy to hear you are safe.

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