Thursday, August 22, 2019

Dying in a city without echoes

Hana Abu Salman, a young psychology researcher whom I got to know at the American University of Beirut, once did a project interviewing her classmates about their deepest anxieties.

Among their greatest fears, she found, was this fear of dying in a city without echoes, where you knew that your tombstone could end up as someone's doorstep before the grass had even grown over your grave.

“In the United States if you die in a car accident, at least your name gets mentioned on television,” Hana remarked.

“Here they don't even mention your name anymore. They just say, ‘Thirty people died.’ Well, what thirty people? They don't even bother to give their names.

“At least say their names. I want to feel that I was something more than a body when I die.”
— From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman

This is still true. In America we read the names.

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