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RICHARD PEARSON MUST have served in the Washington Post‘s obituary bureau a bit too long, as he has apparently come to see himself as a Godlike being capable of determining who among us has led a worthwhile life and who is worthless (“If You’re Not Dead, We’re Not Interested,” 8/4).
Pearson commented that he enjoyed being able to avoid running the obituary of a hypothetical foreign service officer who “did nothing” in favor of the obituary of a local school principal. While no one would argue that the contributions of a school principal should be overlooked, it is extraordinarily offensive of Pearson to suggest that foreign service officers are generally worthy of nothing but derision.
I certainly hope that the Post eked out enough space to run obituaries for Robert Frasure and his colleagues, who gave their lives while trying to negotiate peace in Bosnia. Unfortunately, most of Frasure’s colleagues will never know what the Post printed, because we are overseas working to promote and protect the interests of Americans abroad.
Pearson might sing a different tune if he ever has the misfortune to fall seriously ill, lose his passport, or be thrown in jail in a foreign country with no one to turn to but an American consular official. I am confident that if that ever happens, the foreign service officer who helps him will overlook Pearson’s blanket insult of our profession.
Foreign Service Officer, American Embassy, Seoul, Korea