Thursday, September 01, 2005

Heart of Darkness


Both the anguish and the alcohol numb my senses. I sit here, contemplating what is happening to the City that Care Forgot, the city where I came of age. It is pure happenstance that Major Mike and I, two sons of New Orleans, found each other in the same blogosphere and hemisphere. Of further coincidence is our shared love of Gin & Tonics, which I am currently using, in the true spirit of New Orleans, in a vain quest to assuage my fears.

News from friends and loved ones continues to reach my email inbox sporadically. Refugees, mostly. They are the lucky ones that left early. Meanwhile, the beautiful city that I love is being torn apart by the Heart of Darkness.

I have also been reading pleas for assistance all over the blogospheere. The most chilling one I have read so far concludes with a request for .45 ACP. That’s large-caliber semi-automatic pistol ammunition for those not in the know. That tells me that things are particularly desperate down there.

Human suffering knows no skin color. Anybody that takes advantage of such disparities on display is both ignorant and irresponsible.

Atos and I have ongoing discussions, as fathers of young children, how we would be holding up in a flooded, hot, stench-ridden, sticky, pitch-black-in-the-middle-of-night nest of anarchy. Somehow, some way, we would find a way to protect our families to the death. But such are only musings done by people who sit in the absolute comfort of the 80-degree, low-humidity, running-water, stocked-refrigerator comfort of home.

Those watching the news and the blogs should have no trouble concluding that darkness exists within us all. It is a constant societal, and sometimes personal, struggle to overcome it. But overcome it we must, lest we all see New Orleans played out in our home towns if they are ever forced to such a breaking point.

So fragile and interconnected is our society. The necessities of existence are passed over in our thoughts for the acquisition of symbols of power and wealth. Which is worth more – a DVD player or a gallon of potable water? It all depends on the circumstances, doesn’t it?

My hope is that order will be regained as soon as possible. What is now Mogadishu must once again become the Warehouse District. But I’m not sure how that will happen. Any relief will mean further suffering. Food and water will be met by riots of starving, thirsty, dying people. But we must start somewhere.

Could I ever be patient enough to resist hostility if my young daughter were dying of thirst? Hopefully I will never know the answer.

New Orleans will rebuild. Her sons, daughters and lovers have too much pride and sentiment toward her to abandon her. It will be a long and difficult time, but she will return to her glory.

May her difficulties be a lesson to all of us, both in knowing what is truly important and in being aware of the darkness that lies in all of us.

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