One of the joys of having attended Woodstock School is that I know people all over the world. Which is also one of the sorrows: when something bad happens almost anywhere in the world, it’s likely to affect someone of my extended Woodstock family.
I wrote almost two years ago about an Indian schoolmate who survived both Gulf Wars in Baghdad, with her Iraqi husband. In April of 2004, Shahnaz died of a galloping cancer. Had Iraq not been under embargo for so many years, effectively shutting down medical facilities for ordinary people, she would have had access to decent medical care, and perhaps her cancer could have been diagnosed and treated in time. As it is, she is one of tens of thousands of innocent victims. The difference is that, to me, she is no abstract figure. She’s Shahnaz, and she’s gone.
And now the tsunami. As class secretary, I have sent out email to all my classmates, and am waiting for news from the larger alumni family as well. But it’s too early to know for sure whether we’re all okay; the nosecount could take a long time. So far the classmates who have checked in are all right, though one was awaiting news of her father’s family in Madras.