Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

No hands

Nguyen Xuan Cuong, who lost his arms to a landmine during the U.S. war against Vietnam, works in his agricultural field in Ha Trach, Vietnam.

I'm way behind on work, deadlines whizzing by, and am stuck in Pasco, Washington, for a five-day meeting. I'm feeling sorry for myself because I want to participate fully in the meeting, I want to spend time visiting with colleagues, and yet I keep sneaking back to the hotel room to crank out text. So I end up feeling sorry for myself. Which of course makes me less productive, exacerbating my existential crisis. It's times like this that I need to take a deep breath, and remember people like Nguyen Xuan Cuong, who I photographed a few years back in Ha Trach, Vietnam. He lost his arms to a landmine during what the Vietnamese rightly call the "U.S. War." He and other amazing people I met on that assignment, people who'd been left physically challenged by their history, simply don't waste time feeling sorry for themselves. Despair, methinks, really is a privilege of class. Sigh.

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