I have seen the enemy--and it is us
My ex-boyfriend and I are in the process of getting ready to sell our Manhattan coop, which we co-own. I try not to think too much about the fact that I would love to stay there, but I also see how much Manhattan has changed. The streets are horribly congested, the borough is losing its character as building after building gets razed to make way for yet another soulless "luxury" high rise, and I'm not a kid anymore--Manhattan is more and more the playground of the rich and young. So I am content to buy a place in the Bronx close to BG. Although the atmo is very different from Manhattan, it is still very much New York, and Manhattan is just a subway ride away.
But lying below the peaceful surface is a sense of unrelenting urgency--a realization that my wonderful life could come apart at any time. This is scary, but it also makes me even more determined to treat each day as a precious gift.
One particular source of joy for me, particularly in the past 4-odd months, has been an immersion in the blogosphere. But it also means that I am privy to one more source of bad news as well as good.
Up til now, I've kind of let it all flow by. When the possibility of disaster is an everyday thing, the only way you can cope without going mad is to turn it into an mental and emotional abstraction. In London, after the subway bombings, it was noted that the citizens were amazingly calm--probably because they have been through this all before--first the Blitz during World War II, and later numerous conflicts with the IRA.
But gradually, little by little, I have absorbed the bad and disturbing news that keeps relentlessly flowing in. Now, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I feel like my precarious sense of security has been destroyed like the levee's in New Orleans, with every disaster I have recently heard tell of finally breaking through and simultaneously flooding my consciousness.
Here, in no particular order, are a few of the things which have been disturbing me:
A video I saw recently from a link on the Lioness's site, Which surprised her, that shows a rabidly anti-Semitic sermon delivered by a Muslim cleric. This link will take you to a sampling of blood curdling videos full of poisonous rhetoric against America and the Jews; the one I viewed was #669.
Reading and hearing over and over from highly regarded experts about how likely, or nearly inevitable, an imminent nuclear attack may be --particularly if our administration does not take heed and employ decisive action.
Reports coming to the surface about how the weapons of mass destruction justification for invading Iraq was in large part fabricated by a notoriously unreliable source--which is old news to me.
Seeing Palestinians burning an Israeli flag during the disengagement in Gaza. Many fear that this conciliatory gesture will backfire, being interpreted by extremists as a sign that total takeover of the disputed areas is just a matter of time More on the situation, once again, from the The Lioness's site.
A report several days ago of a disaster in Iraq during a religious celebration where many fell or were pushed to their deaths from a bridge they were crossing due to a rumor that a suicide bomber was in their midst.
Endless, horrific reports of looting; snipers shooting at rescue helecopters, hospitals, and police; and rape, anarchy, and general mayhem in the aftermath of the horrific hurricane and resultant flooding and devastation in New Orleans.
Seeing President Bush, apparently cutting short one of his ubiquitous vacations, to finally tour the area a full five days after the disaster-- and now, at last. pledging federal assistance. As usual, despite putting his arm reassuringly around survivors's weary shoulders, he did not look sincere to me, to put it mildly.
Viewing up close, courtesy of CNN, the horrible conditions of the people still waiting for rescue. I could not help but imagine what it might be like to find myself and my loved ones suddenly without a home, food, water, or safety.
An August 31st post by the Sarcastic Journalist with links to some ads on Criagslist by moral bottomfeeders offering lodging to female refugees of Katrina in exchange for sexual favors, including assuming the role of a sex slave.
And closer to home, the fact that despite announcements that NYC subway passengers would be subject to bag and package inspection by police, I have yet to see one police officer in the subways doing so.
As far as the war on terror, although the enemy is hard to pin down, it is at least an evil force outside ourselves. And the hurricane is an "act of God" that cannot be blamed on anything human.
But the fact that it was fully known that this day was more than likely to come due to an eroding and neglected infrastructure--making New Orleans horribly vulnerable to the forces of nature-- is our own doing.
The fact that we have diverted billions to an arguably tragically misguided effort abroad, thus depriving us of adequate resources when we need them at home, is our own administration's doing.
The fact that some people in New Orleans reverted to horrible violence and destruction is our own doing.
BG likes to say that you don't have to go 10,000 miles to see your enemy. Your enemy can be your neighbor, or a fellow passenger on the subway, just as easily.
As for me, the only thing I can do is make a donation to the Red Cross and fervently hope that the scenario I am seeing on TV--or something similar, if not worse--will not be our fate down the road.