I had a hard time sleeping last night. OK, I did have a couple glasses of wine (watching Cal lose to Texas Tech will do that to you) and that sometimes makes it hard to sleep. I go to sleep with the TV on at night...otherwise, I hear sounds and make myself worry about things I don't need to worry about. Last night, I had CNN on and I was up and down for the better part of the night thinking about what is going on in Asia. I had to stop looking at the TV screen.
When I came in to work this AM, I had an e-mail from Steve Ballmer in my inbox. OK, so he sent it to all of us, but still. Microsoft is providing $3.5 million in tsunami relief (including our matching gifts program, which matches charitable donations by employees dollar for dollar up to $12K per employee). I can't tell you how proud I am to work here sometimes.
Do you ever see something on TV, a little clip or picture, that just has a huge impact on you? It is hard not to be touched by what you see going on in Asia, but there's one clip I saw on CNN that has really made me think a lot. A man, I believe in Sri Lanka, was asking the reporter "where are the Americans?". I just really hope that the assistance we give as a country is not given in the spirit that we are doing so because we are the so-called "leaders of the free world" or some other self-imposed title. I worry that as Americans, everything we touch is left with our cultural fingerprints all over it. I'm encouraged by organizations that work to ensure that, while aid is given, respect for local culture is preserved. I think that as Americans, our desire to help comes from a place of goodness but it sometimes gets messed up in the translation. It's really hard to sit back and feel like any money we are giving to an organization is enough. But those organizations are the ones who know how to assist those affected by this tragedy in the most appropriate way, providing those people with the support they need to bury and mourn their dead, to preserve their culture and traditions and to start to rebuild their infrastructure. I want to know that we are assisting because we have so much and because it's the right thing to do, not because we are trying to prove something.
Anyway, I wasn't planning on blogging about this again today, but I'm having a hard time not thinking about it. A couple of my blog readers (Ian and Pradeep) have mentioned having family and/or friends in areas affected by the tsunami. I can't imagine. I just can't stop thinking about this.