• Christopher G. Moore


Try and imagine the numbers involved in a mass death. What does 80,000 dead in Burma mean? Can anyone imagine the magnitude of the loss?

Here is Chris Carlson’s photograph taken at an Obama rally held in Portland, Oregon. There are about 75,000 people in that crowd and looking around the edges of the photo, others may have been cropped out.

Photo: Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Now imagine those 80,000 Burmese, if you had gathered them the day before the cyclone took their lives at a final rally, and the picture would have looked something like this one. Such a scale of death is hard to comprehend. None of us is wired to think in such large numbers before falling off into abstraction. For a moment, think about the two million more Burmese who are without shelter and food. The people who attended the Obama rally weren’t not abstractions; neither are the Burmese people. These are people just like you.

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