A/N: A little status on Facebook got me thinking about how the rest of the world perceives the disaster of another nation. If the online groups and tributes are anything to go by, everyone feels somewhat united in grief for a day or two, right? Of course, I can't speak for every country - or even every person's individual reaction to the events. But this is something based on what I can deduce from such sites.

I wanted to do something, to help in some way - but there's nothing I alone can really do. This may only be a little jumble of thoughts constructed into prose, but it's my way of saying my heart and hopes are with those of the recent Norwegian tragedy.

As such, this is dedicated to the people of Norway, and also to a girl I know called Becca - it was her Facebook status that inspired this. So thank you to her. ^_^

This Heart Beats For Those

When disaster strikes one nation, the rest of the world pauses a moment to grieve. They take a breath, hold it for but a minute in thought, then release the air and go about their day-to-day lives.

The morning of the occurrence to every other country in the world is peaceful, tranquil and innocent. The black cloud of pain has not yet marred their unsuspecting day. Yet. But breakfast comes and on goes the TV - headlines, pictures, footage and statements swamp the leading channels. Suddenly, word is out; each newspaper has at least one heart-wrenching photograph depicting the tragedy, unable to be missed; talk starts in the street - "Have you heard…?", "Did you know…?". It spreads and spreads, until it can be spread no more.

And then your heart sinks. Mine does. Because I'm just one person - one powerless, confused person with no clue how to help. Much of the world feels the same; artwork is posted online, tributes to those who have died. "Pray for Japan", "Our hearts are with Norway"; the best we're able to do, as individual, powerless people, is show such respect and donate our thoughts and support. We feel united in every Facebook status we post, every group made to honour the dead - and when someone likes it, someone makes a comment, we can smile thinking we've done our bit.

And then, an hour later, we forget. We forget the disaster and move on - go back to our own here and now. The next day, when the surges on the newsfeed have calmed down, we close our eyes to the fact it happened; it means nothing more to us, just a bit of gossip, a topic of conversation to maybe bring up another day. We've taken our breath, thought for but a moment, and moved on.

Does it ever hit us that we're the lucky ones? That we're the nations who are able to put it behind them? We don't have to live with it, live in the tragedy anymore - not unless we want to. But those countries, the ones who have been affected - they can't switch off. Can't forget and move on.

For the families, the friends of the deceased, life itself is different. Changed. They'll never forget. The sorrow they carry on their backs remains for the rest of their lives, the heavy burden of death weighs down their hearts. The whole nation stops, takes a breath, and holds it for as long as possible.

No-one can right the past, change what has happened - and as spectators of the world, all we think we're able to do is watch in silence as that nation rebuilds itself, rises from the ashes of devastation. Nothing we do can repair their hearts - but maybe, just maybe, we can stick a plaster on them. Even if all we can do is care, be supportive, maybe that's what counts.

Maybe that's how we can help them heal.