Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hard to say....

The deadliest form of violence is poverty. -- Gandhi

In my country, there are people sleeping in their own urine.

I know, I know, I know that these images have always been there in some form or another, that poverty and violence in this country have always existed, that too many of my fellow citizens live in third-world conditions, that I could do more to change this.

I know. I know.

I know that we privileged many can easily shadow our eyes from such images.

But now that it's here, in our faces, we can't turn away any more. I'm sickened by my government's apathetic response to this tragedy. I'm saddened by the hateful comments I've read from some who fail to realize the extremity of the horror of Katrina. I'm honored that so many have reached out, some from nations far less fortunate than my own, to help or simply to let us know that they care.

I have a friend visiting me from Australia who is stunned to see the reality of this country, both in the images of Katrina and the images of my own city. There is beauty and there is love, but also there is hypocrisy and there is hatred. I hadn't watched the television for several days, and my first glimpses of the aftermath have left me tearstained, shocked: Two parents who have lost their newborn child plea for her recovery; A baby sleeps in a soiled diaper; A man in a wheelchair is rescued; A man who has lost his house hands water to the thirsty; Others, faceless and nameless strangers, lie dead in hallways, buried under blankets. As always, like so many times in my life, I am burdened with the shame of being an "American." And I feel powerless. I can send money, I have sent money; I can sign petitions and send letters, I have signed petitions and sent letters; I can protest, I have protested.

And yet here we are. Where do we go now?


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