Thursday, September 01, 2005

On tragedy and numbness and a totally new and different type of anger

I haven't known what to say about what's going on with the hurricane. So many others have been saying so much, and all I've been able to do is watch, numbly, at the incredible footage of a city underwater. And let's not forget the smaller towns that are just ... gone. I've actually visited Gulfport and Biloxi several times, because one of my best friends lived there for years -- actually, she worked at the Beau Rivage, which I *think* might still be standing, although ravaged. So all the images of the flattened beaches, demolished casinos, the absence of the cute row of houses across the highway looking at the water, all of that makes me feel raw and sick and ... to use the word again ... numb.

I took a nap when I got home this evening. I have been complaining about the return of my Texas allergies, but have realized that I should just shut up and be grateful for everything that I have and everyone I know who is safe. So, I slept. And now I am awake, in that hyper-groggy, after a nap-that's-too-long state. Flipping around the channels, I am pummelled once more with the awful images and stories about the victims of this awful natural disaster. My own Aunt Paula and Uncle John and cousins are displaced from their home in N.O., although I know they evacuated on Sunday, so i'm trying not to freak out at the fact that we haven't yet heard from them.

Somehow I landed on the A&E channel, on a show about 9/11 -- why the towers fell, stories of survivors, the works. Now, what cable programming genius thought that *now* might be a great time to remind everyone, in case we have forgotten, of that terrible tragedy and everyone who died, and to bring back the horror in the pit of our stomachs at the waste, the loss, the devastation. Why, NOW is the perfect time, since we're eating up all the hurricane coverage. DAMN. Despite myself, and perhaps as planned by said programming genius, I found myself drawing similarities between the two events and the difference in the horror in the pit of my stomach. I remember the numbness I felt on 9/11 and the weeks following when it was still so fresh and sore, when it was still sinking in what had happened and how we as Americans would never again be able to fully bask in our false sense of security. The familiar feelings wash over me when I see images of post-apocalyptic N.O., and the displaced famillies with no food and water, and the frustrating rescue efforts, and all the news coverage, and I'm left wondering, now why is that journalist just standing there with a mike, next to two hungry, skinny babies, and *talking* about how much the conditions suck, and why isn't that journalist DOING SOMETHING since he's there and we aren't??? I'm marveling, along with the rest of the country, at how long it is taking the rescue efforts to get their shit together and HELP those people. I'm wondering why it is taking so long, when it seems everyone reacted faster and more effectively in the face of 9/11. But is that true, or have I simply forgotten the chaos from four years ago? Or, and I hesitate to even say this out loud, but i'm wondering if our country is, indeed, so numb at this point, after terrorists and tsunamis and war and destruction, that we simply aren't grasping this reality and are moving at a slower pace because we are paralyzed with helplessness. I don't know, but that thought really scares me. And if it's true? Our country is in more trouble than anyone even fathoms at this point. Because, people, although it is live on television, and we can watch it 24x7 from the comfort of our air-conditioned living rooms and in front of our flat-screen computer monitors, Dos Equis in hand, it is NOT just another episode of ER. This is REAL, there are no commercial breaks for the victims stuck on their roofs in the staggering heat, going on day 4 with no end in sight.

So about the only thing I feel I can personally do at this point is give money to the Red Cross, so I will do that and hope that it makes some kind of difference, however small. Please do the same if you are able. And let's collectively send good vibes to LA and MS and AL and FL and everyone else affected by Katrina, shall we? Go ahead, just do it.

6 comments:

Babs said...

Wow. I totally hear you. I haven't been able to blog about it, cuz I can't even put any feelings into words... I'm too numb. I've made donations, but it still doesn't feel like enough.

And here's the other thing that's pissing me off... I'm not a W fan and have never supported the war in Iraq. However, I'm getting pissed at people putting all the blame on Bush for not being prepared with hurricane relief. I truly believe that federal relief efforts are taking place as fast as possible... it's just that the region affected is HUGE.

Crazy MomCat said...

See, I don't think relief efforts have happened fast enough. It has been 4-5 days for some of those people. I don't expect clean up to happen right now, but they need to be evacuated. They needed to be evacuated 2 days ago. I'm glad to see some help was starting to happen this morning.

This whole thing hits way too close to home for me and it really has shaken me up. I'm mad, frustrated, and also feel guilty for all the wonderful things I DO have. I guess I need to blog all of this instead of bombarding Lisa's comments, huh? HA!

Dipu said...

Forget party or political orientation. The bureaucracy has completely fallen down on the job here. I've heard some in our government claiming that this is beyond the scope of what they could have imagined. But people had been talking for days about this scenario! Let alone those at FEMA or the Dept. of Homeland Security ... it's their job to imagine and be prepared for the worst imaginable! There was time to get more prepared than this. I'm not saying it would've been a perfect response by any means. But there was time to prepare resources better beforehand...

Anonymous said...

They did not know the hurricane was heading for New Orleans until late Friday night...they really only had a day and a half to get people OUT. You saw the traffic! It was at a standstill going out of the city until late Sunday night. They did not have enough time and they were not able to get in sooner because of the FLOOD! Are you people watching CNN instead of FOX News or something? You seem misinformed.

Lisabell said...

Um, Dad? Is that you?

Dipu said...

I'm sorry. I forgot the government is always right and never makes mistakes. To question or complain is wrong.