JoysQuotesWorld Affairs

Death By Numbers

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.

Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953)

Today’s quote is an interesting one. Although quite widely known…it’s still a good point (however ironic it may be coming from a murdering dictator!).

But, it is very true. I’ve often thought that a film that shows you two sides of a story can easily make the viewer side with either party – just like everyone not wanting Al Pacino to die at the end of Scarface. Although the character is a bad person, because we all like Pacino…we feel for him and want him to do well. This is the same in real life.

When someone you know dies, it’s a tragedy. Even when you hear a story of someone dying, you think of their family and friends and how hard it must be. But when you think of millions people dying – you don’t think of millions of families, or the fact that there is a million more times grief. It simply becomes a statistic.

It’s hard to comprehend that 15,000 people die everyday in Africa alone, largely from diseases that are preventable. 15,000 simply means nothing. This makes me think of a conversation i had recently with Roland about money. My point was that a million is similar to a billion, in the way that they are very large amounts of money…and by the time it hits a certain point – it simply becomes a statistic. How often have i mentioned how much something cost, or how much a company made…and had to remember if it was a million or a billion…simply because either one is way out of my budget and therefore out of my imagination.

Unless we can see, hold or touch something – it’s very hard to imagine quantities and put them in perspective. 15,000 people is like all the kids and teachers at my school…times ten! Imagine everyone in your street, and the next street, and indeed the whole neighbourhood. Imagine half a football stadium, or a pop concert…and then try and imagine all those people dying infront of your eyes…everyday.

He may have been a satanic man, and i hate to congratulate him for saying something worthwhile…but it is a very astute observation on the modern human race.

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