Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I have nothing to say about Katrina that hasn't been said before, and better. And yet, I'm going to say something anyway.

The one thing I am noticing with regards to what has happened is a nearly unprecedented level of anger, at least when you're talking about a natural disaster. I don't remember these feelings after the Northridge quake, which is my only personal point of comparison, since I rode that one out literally clinging to my mattress, lest I be bucked to the ground. Of course, the scale of that was so much smaller. We weren't dealing with hundreds of thousands of displaced people. Still, I experienced it as a time of almost preternatural calm, from a societal point of view. Personally, I couldn't have been less calm. But just knowing that I was not alone in that feeling helped to bond me to everyone I met in those post-earthquake days. And it seemed to me that many, many others felt the same way. It bonded us, our fear and our anguish. And from the outside, from the media, from the people with whom I emailed and telephoned and chatted, there seemed to be so much more compassion, and so much less anger.

But with Katrina, the pain seems to be too much for most of us to take, and people are lashing out in anger...at each other, at the government, at god. It's so physically painful to watch what is happening, to read about the conditions; I can't imagine what it feels like to be in the thick of it, or even on the fringes, to have it affecting your life in any way. The anger is probably a natural--and in some cases, justified--reaction. I only hope that it works in positive ways, to mobilize people, rather than immobilizing and hardening them.

free hit counter