Friday, November 23, 2007
A Thanksgiving Toast from Bangladesh
When I sat down to write this, my immediate thought was: what do I have to be thankful for? I'm surrounded by death, disease and destruction. The airlines lost literally everything I own - I've been wearing the same clothes for over a week, and I just got done with a 12 hour round trip boat ride to an Island of death that involved a death defying motorbike ride (the 2nd in two days).

But then I remembered what thanksgiving is all about. And so I stand and toast to the following:

First, to our crew of misfits. Cameraman Sanjiv Talreja, who I saw leap off a ferry to get a shot as his blackberry flew into the water - also a man who can sleep anywhere - including on the back of flying motorbikes. Producer Ayanjit Sen, who can speak more languages than I knew existed, somehow managing to keep our expenses in line, when you're tipping local boys on barren islands who help carry our gear that can't be an easy feat. To producer extraordinaire Tim Schwarz who swooped into country from Hong Kong with gear and the heart to carry the story forward - literally editing pieces in speedboats across the vast Bangladesh delta. All the while, never once did they complain about the smell emanating from their fore mentioned dirty and smelly reporter.

To our foreign desk - always a calm voice on the other end, making our pieces stronger, available 24 hours a day for anything, and making sure the world sees the tragedy that has struck this beautiful nation.

To our London bureau - for running around like crazy and making sure all our paperwork was in order. Our editorial head in London for recognizing early as she did that this was an important story, and coordinating with our incredible futures department to deploy quickly.

To our families - who put up with so much. So many missed holidays, year after year - checking the TV to see how we're doing instead of watching football as many others are, and always looking on the Internet to see how we're doing. Text messages in the middle of the night, expecting the worst, but always sending supportive messages. Our wives and significant others - who groan when that phone rings and we leap out the door - another holiday burned . they still stand by our side.

To all journalists, who are in war zones and disaster areas around the world - from Iraq to Africa to tents in Bangladesh - speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, acting as a global megaphone, showing how the majority of the world really lives.

To the people of this beautiful country who have lost so much - but still try to hand us what little water they have left - when we look thirsty and insisting all the way through thick jungle and past mass graves to carry our heavy gear.

To the children of Bangladesh whose faces tell the story of death - as they carry forward, one foot in front of the other.

Finally and most important - the people who live on the island of Char Andar, all the way in Southern Bangladesh - in the Bay of Bengal. They have very little to be thankful for - other than for just being alive - surviving the storm.

I hope they know somehow, I will never forget the day I met them, Thanksgiving Day, 2007.

-- From Cal Perry, CNN International Correspondent, in Bangladesh.

Beautiful. I read this and donated money to the relief effort. Really great stuff.
What a great toast!

Good to know there are still reporters out there that actually care about the story they are covering.
Wow! Simply stunning.
What a nice touch and a great idea. This should be put out front on the website ... reporters who write like this - and involve themselves in the story should be hailed ... not buried in a deep "blog section."
What about all the other tragic places in the world? Why should we only care about Bangladesh ...
This posting forced me to donate money to the relief effort. More of this stuff should be written about.
Incredible, stunning and well written ... I toast to Mr. Perry. Well done.
Hi Mr. Perry,
I need to thank you and your crew for good reporting that you have been doing for last week or so. By the time I write this note, vietnam would have sustained hevvy damage in the hands of HAGIBIS and in another couple of days, philipines would face another strong typhoon. Many lives are getting lost or will be lost in the new storms, but Bangladesh will need support for rebuilding itself. Please do not let these forget the victims of SIDR, save some air-time for them, till their extreme suffering subside.
Dear Mr Perry,

Great article. Even fabulous reporting. CNN's reporting on cyclone in Bangladesh has been much better than its counterparts, of what I have seen in the last few days. Great job done! Also pass on credit to your cameraman Sanjiv Talreja and producers Ayanjit Sen and Tim Schwarz for their roles.Keep up the good work in south asia.
Thanks, Mr. Perry. A nice use of the blog to say stuff you wouldn't say on TV. Hang in there.
Dear Mr Perry,

A great article! And, great reporting too. Your coverage has been really good. The reports were great eye openers for somebody like me staying in Sweden. Also pass on credit to Sanjiv, Ayanjit and Tim for their work.

Good work on television and website. Is CNN slowly moving its neck towards south asia? If yes, its good. The product shown on your channel was good from Bangladesh. It was a new way of showing the old thing. Old wine in a new bottle! Cheers
The coveted crown of best international reporting on Bangladesh goes to your channel. It has beaten the BBC hands down. Nice ideas and execution, I must say. Keep it up.
hi cal perry,

your article made me very emotional and the life what we lead and the others lead in different parts of the world makes me feel very much ...

you must be knowing few people in the US ... irequest you tell some one to install something( i dnt evn knw wht it is) so that whn there is a natural calamity atleast thy save thr lives...

life is to live


sudheer mopperthy
Good stuff brother Cal. Real reporters, not news manakins, are a dying breed,at cnn and elsewhere in the american media. hang in there. real news will always need the likes of you.
When I read this article the first thing that came to mind was the 'ol saying, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?!"

So Cheers Cal, this time there was definetly a sound!
Dear Cal

What you wrote, bought tears to my eyes. Thank you for caring.


A Bangladeshi Living in the US
The land of a little promise.

There’s a land
where beautiful
lapels transform in
emotion the care
of a blackbird, and
over that lamp-post
the rise of a kingdom
describes an intention
in the light of a
fountain; there’s even
the sunshine, a
soul and the prayer.

Francesco Sinibaldi
Your trip and crew deserve to wear the slogan "This is not a job, but an adventure....truly this is what work is all about, when you get the feeling that you have done something that has made a change and you give credit where its needed....I envy you and your staff oooooo can work with you guys.........

Kraig Rasool
Fort Washington Md
Your trip and crew deserve to wear the slogan "This is not a job, but an adventure....truly this is what work is all about, when you get the feeling that you have done something that has made a change and you give credit where its needed....I envy you and your staff oooooo can work with you guys.........

Kraig Rasool
Fort Washington Md
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