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
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
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 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
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
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.
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