An appalling trend

An appalling trend
As Garrison Keillor would say, it's more proper to exercise freedom in this country than simply talk about it.

One way to do that is to express one's self � in columns, in letters to the editors, and in editorials.

Get ready for a bit of self-expression on our part.

There has been a particularly troubling trend going on in the nation, and, we suspect, throughout much of the world.

Some things beyond our control have happened in the last week. Several earthquakes flattened buildings and killed thousands of people in Pakistan last weekend.

At virtually the same time, however, torrential rains from Hurricane Stan fell on Guatemala � on some of the poorest areas of that country. For years, far-sighted people from the local community, like the Ed and Diane Nesselhuf family, and volunteers from Vermillion High School, have aided people from Guatemala by helping to establish schools, giving aid to orphanages, and organizing "Sharing the Dream," a unique program that allows Guatemalan craftsmen to sell their wares in a storefront here to improve their quality of lives.

The only image that U.S. citizens may receive of Guatamela is what they saw Thursday night when CBS aired the fifth of its latest Survivor: Guatemala series. Despite the state of disaster in the country in which it was filmed, the show, as of this writing, was to air as scheduled, its publicists said earlier this week.

Plans to broadcast a public service announcement at the end of the show, urging viewers to send money to relief organizations, is of little consolation.

It's hard to keep track of just how bad things are in Guatemala right now, because major media organizations, have, for the most part, either ignored or avoided reporting on the situation there.

It's our understanding that there are least 652 people who died in mudslides, and hundreds more are missing, presumed dead and buried in mud.

The mudslides also destroyed the simple homes of many Guatemalans. It is reported that more than 107,000 people are living in refugee shelters, and food shortages are spreading across the country. In all, according to the vice president of Guatemala, the catastrophe has affected 3.5 million people.

Yet there is hardly any news coverage. It's shameful.

The loss of life due to catastrophic events is a tragedy no matter where it takes place. It usually prompts news coverage and immediate help, as was the case after the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, after hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and just this past weekend, after an earthquake leveled parts of Pakistan.

It's appalling that the destruction of Hurricane Stan in Central America has been virtually ignored by the U.S. media.

The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at

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