Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"No One Deserves a Tragedy"

Driving home today, NPR's Talk of the Nation ended with Nikki Giovanni's words at the close of the convocation today at Virginia Tech (video clip).

I was especially struck by her broadening view of the word "tragedy" — extending it to not just the big deals that make the news, but simply stating that "No one deserves a tragedy."

Makes me think of the article in the paper last week about our student dying .... one of the comments posted was "Her obituary is posted on today's obituaries. Bless her heart, she's beautiful too." What, so it'd be OK if she was an ugly kid? Does that make it any worse that she's beautiful, or talented, or popular? Does being shy and homely make a student somehow more expendable?

According to Catholic social teaching, ALL of us are beloved children of God. ALL of us have been made in the image and likeness of God. As such, ALL of us are worthy of inherent dignity and respect.

As the Good Doctor (Seuss, that is) once said: "A person's a person, no matter how small."
We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on; we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly. We are brave enough to bend to cry, and sad enough to know we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it.

But neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS. Neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory. Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water. Neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of night in his crib in the home its father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destablized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility. We will continue to invent the future.

Through our blood and tears, through all this sadness, we are the Hokies.

We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.


Blogger Garpu the Fork said...

Preach it. I'm so tired of some life being more worthy of protection than others.

4/18/2007 2:11 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

That is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it!

4/18/2007 10:12 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

The media is so fascinated by pretty white kids. It REALLY bothers me that they go into 24-hour talk mode when, say, a pretty white kid goes missing on a spring break trip. What about all the other people who go missing or have bad things happen to them? What's wrong with this culture?

I love that "A person's a person" thing. Though Catholics need to be careful using that quote, knowing that Dr. Seuss, while he was alive, and his widow, Audrey Geisel even now, have brought lawsuits against pro-life groups for misappropriating his meaning.

4/28/2007 12:17 PM  

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