AP NEWS
Related topics

Looking at world from aloft, even destruction has beauty

December 20, 2016

This photo provided by DigitalGlobe shows a satellite image of the Chicago Cubs World Series victory parade in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2016. A massive crowd, which appears in the image as tiny reddish dots, turned out to celebrate the Cubs’ first World Series victory since 1908. They dyed the Chicago River blue; they sang and cheered and reveled in the end of a 108-year curse. “Thank you for being so patient,” said manager Joe Maddon. (DigitalGlobe via AP)

Images from aloft give us the big picture, but without context the big picture tells us so little.

The view from satellites can be beautiful, even if what we’re seeing is a landscape ravaged by war or natural disaster. The tragedy of a flood of refugees to a desolate camp on the border between Syria and Jordan becomes an array of spots in the desert; the Islamic State’s destruction of ancient treasures at Palmyra could be a sand sculpture, stomped on by a toddler. There is no suggestion of danger in the aftermath of a Canadian wildfire, and no indication of cholera or hunger in the aftermath of a hurricane in Haiti.

Nor can you see the passion of the encampment of protesters who fought the Dakota Access pipeline. And the celebration of the Chicago Cubs’ first world championship in 108 years? If you look closely, you’ll see that the human dots are a fine shade of blue.

AP RADIO
Update hourly