As part of my regular afternoon routine, in between diaper changes, playtime and trying to figure out what on earth to make for dinner, I watched Oprah yesterday. I was so shocked by what I saw on this particular show, that I am still troubled by it.
The show was about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the devastating affects on residents of New Orleans and some of the other Coastal States. Because the media is not focussed on this disaster anymore, many people (myslef included) were under the assumption that the lives of those affected were returning to normal. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Guests on the Oprah Show told stories of the horrific living conditions that many people are still forced to live in, six months after Hurricane Katrina. Many of these people literally lost everything they owned from material posessions, to beloved pets. They lost jobs and they lost family and friends. The show featured images of the people living in conditions not unlike those in Third World Countries. People were interviewed who had to recover the bodies of family members when no one else would help them. The most despicable thing, was that there are hundreds of empty trailers in New Orleans waiting for occupation, yet FIMA will not give the go-ahead while they review situations of needy families on a “case-by-case” basis. In so many of the stories told on the show, the people looked so hopeless. All I could think to myself was “how can this be happening in America?” This is so wrong.
As we all do, at times I complain about my life. I want a bigger house, a second car, nicer clothes, more material goods. After watching the accounts of these people yesterday, it sort of put things into perspective for me. Although I have never faced any loss in my life even close to the great losses of New Orleans residents, I think of them with compassion and deep sympathy. Sadly, it is human nature to *want* more. When I think of these forgotten people of the Gulf Coast, I just wish I could *do* more.
My reactions were almost identical to yours. The trailer situation is an outrage. The “Great Bureaucratic Movement” strikes again. Art McNeill, an Owen Sound author, said something to the effect that “people have forgotten their original purpose for being there and are now held together by habits and paycheques”. I would hope those in jobs which touch on disaster relief are directing their efforts towards “what matters”. Bless Oprah! Each family helped, is one who can then “pass it on” as we all need to do in our lives.