Monday, February 27, 2012

The Need for Obsession

I missed a blog post last week. I really don’t ever like to miss a week and since I have only missed a couple since the blog’s inception a year and a half ago, I shouldn’t really beat myself up over it. Still, writing this weekly blog is a bit of an obsession with me. I feel compelled to write every week to help someone think about getting prepared, and if I am really fortunate, to get them to smile or laugh a little, too.

But down to my reason/excuse for not posting last week was my recent obsession – updating our Emergency Operations Plan. It’s not a bad plan, but obviously one that has been assembled over years by committee. One person added this, another added that. Good stuff, really, but it just does not flow into something that seems cohesive and with a single voice. It was driving me crazy that each element seemed to need something else, then another... I seemed to be able to do nothing else, but work on that ever-needy Plan!

Last week, however, an event made me pause. My heart sank when I learned that one women – much, much greater than myself – paid the ultimate price for her obsession, which was one of standing up for those whose voices were lost in strangling and brutal regimes.

Maria Colvin, a native New Yorker, spent 30 years as a journalist, traveling in places where few dared to go. A grenade attack in Sri Lanka ten years ago, leaving her with shrapnel in her head and an eye patch covering the eye she lost, slowed her only momentarily. She was driven, obsessed, to do what she had always done – report what she saw.

Last Wednesday, February 22, she and a young French photographer, Remi Ochlik, died in a bomb blast that the Syrian army had intended for its own citizens. Maria and Remi had slipped into Homs to do what Maria had always been doing as a journalist – to capture in her words the human toll of war, where innocent men, women and children consistently lost their lives while governments, often from their own country, used weaponry and spilt blood to govern a nation. Now, sadly, she has fallen, too.

"She wrote about the human side of the troubles," Maureen Marron [Maria’s cousin] said. "It infuriated her that ordinary people were being killed around the world and nobody was paying attention." Read more:

We often use the term obsessed as a negative, but I think we need obsessions. We need those who strive for more, give more. While the obsession over my project pales enormously to what Maria lived every moment to do, it is still an inspiration of what one person can do. Yes, we may seem a little crazy at times, but, in the end, if we can help even a little, it seems worth it.

To you, Maria and your Remi – thank you for what you have done. You help us live another day a little better. R.I.P.

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