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September 26, 2003

What a tragedy...

The head of the UN (Kofi Anan) is visiting an American primary school and he visits one of the classes. They are in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asks the Secretary General if he would like to lead the discussion on the word "tragedy". So the illustrious leader asks the class for an example of a "tragedy".

One little boy stands up and offers: "If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a tractor runs him over and kills him, that would be a tragedy."

"No," says Anan,"that would be an accident."

A little girl raises her hand: "If a school bus carrying 50 children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy."

"I'm afraid not," explains the Secretary General. "That's what we would call a great loss."

The room goes silent. No other children volunteer. Anan searches the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"

Finally at the back of the room a small boy raises his hand. In a quiet voice he says: "If plane taking you and your advisors back to New York, was struck by a "friendly fire" missile and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy."

"Fantastic!" exclaims Anan, "That's right. And can you tell me why that would be tragedy?"

"Well," says the boy, "because it certainly wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be an accident."

[Adapted from this post over at SilverBlue.]

Posted by Peskie at September 26, 2003 12:00 PM