Thursday, September 01, 2005

Heavy Hearts

I remember Hurricane Andrew. I was 12 and my cousins came to Florida for the first time. I remember how excited they were to be in town and catch a real live hurricane. I remember walking around the lake with my family because the wind felt so good. I can still hear our neighbor smiling as he walked by us "Taking one last walk before the storm?"

I remember huddling in the hallway. Nine of us wrapped in blankets with a lantern and a radio as one by one each window in the house crashed and the wind poured through. Judgment day was here, you couldn't convince me otherwise.

I remember my slide floating down a canal. Sofa covered in debris. Classic board games I'd collected and so carefully preserved disappeared. Sky where once was a roof. Our neighbor so jovial the eve before, walking waist deep in water. I remember finding a photo of my father on his wedding day laying on the floor by mounds of debris. The colors washed into each other leaving a stained blur. Those are the losses that hurt most.

My parents ingrained in me during that time, "things can be replaced people can't" I thank them for being so brave and strong, not letting us see the fear I now realize they surely felt.

My heart is heavy. Hurricane Andrew was a painful experience, but a blip on the radar next to the tragedies that have occured less than a year of each other, the Tsunami, now this Hurricane...

TV news leaves most of us jaded, but who is unaffected by the images on the screen?

May God watch over you all tonight..... and as we pay $3 at the pump.... may the rest of us keep perspective.


22 comments:

FunkyB said...

Wow, now I'M speechless. You sure put some perspective on it, Aisha. I'll make sure to remember these words when someone starts complaining about the gas prices.

I live in Polk County, FL. If you recall, we were hit three times last year. I thought being without electricity and a/c for a few days was bad...I moaned about the loss of trees, about spoiled food, about a crowded house with bored kids.

What a spoiled brat I was.

There but for the grace of God...

Anonymous said...

The gas pumps are ridiculous. But yes- as we see, it could be worse.

Nadia said...

Aisha, apparently, law schools like UGA are taking students from Loyola and Tulane (the two law schools in New Orleans).

What a great gesture!

Nadia said...

Re law students:

Seems like a lot of schools are doing this. Mich will do something soon, not sure exactly what.

ASH said...

The thing I don't understand is we can invade a sovereign country and defeat it in a week. We have the largest military with the best technology in the world. And we tracked this hurricane after it rounded the bottom of Florida, and knew where it was going...

How come we didn't mobilize ahead of time? How come innocent Americans are dying even today in New Orleans? Where is our vaunted military? It is all so late, it's almost like we were deers in headlights. Nice of Bush to leave his vacation a day early, after the destruction.

Aisha said...

Nadia, i just found out that GSU is also accepting law students. Unfortunately the poor 1L's are not on the list but its better than nothing.

Dawn said...

great post!

The Sane One said...

Ameen.

$3??

Aisha said...

Does $3 sound like a lot or a little? Last week gas was 2.59/gallon, on Tuesday in the city I live in some stations were charging up to $6/gallon. Now it's leveled off to about $3-$4/gallon.... it's ridiculous b/c really it's not about the gas, its about the gas companies gouging us.

Tee said...

An excellent perspective on things. You're parents were very strong and brave... The photos is the saddest thing after human life and pets.

The Mayor of New Orleans is rightfully angry in my opinion. He must feel desperate to get help for his people.

Anonymous said...

Why do we owe it to him?

Aisha said...

i think we owe it to him because he is making a plea for the people of New Orleans... he tells us things we can do to help. I agree, you don't personally owe him anything. I meant, we should listen to what he has to say...

Saadia said...

Look at him saying stuff I agree with so much - where's all the troops? In Iraq? Protecting oil???? Look how ironic - oil refineries were hit by a hurricane and the troops aren't there to protect the city.

Ali said...

A truly heart felt post - I really appreciate you putting this into perspective for me. It's so easy saying, "I live away from this, no bother," but it's human lives we are dealing with here. Very sad. My community is very progressive so we already have food/clothing/money drives plastering the community and dieing for attention.

While this event is tragic, it is also a wakeup call for the US and it's policies to populate areas which are just traps. Also, this situation acts as a realization of what a normal Iraqi lives in because of what hte USA has done. :-(

BBCD said...

a starke memory you share there.*hug*

Saadia said...

ghiyasuddin - I don't know why you say the US purposely tried to populate places that are "traps". Its not something like that. New Orleans is an old, culturally rich city that came from when the French were in Louisiana. The troubling thing is that the poor people did not evacuate this city, that they lived in the low lying areas, that they have been neglected, and that some people predicted earlier that a hurricane could destroy this bowl shaped city.
Additionally, I am glad to hear that your community is setting up aid. That is great. But its a chance to reflect, not to blame America. For example, how often do the elite classes in Pakistan take care of the servant class or the other poor people. And what is the Pakistani response to black people? I remember a kid tried to pass some Paki officials in Islamabad airport and they were harassing him because he looked black - although he was half black half Pakistani and even spoke Urdu!

Saadia said...

And that's not to say Pakistan is prejudiced against blacks - I know its more complicated than that - its just to say that Pakistanis could take events like this to reflect on their own attitudes as well.

ASH said...

I saw an interesting comment in an editorial...figured it would be worth sharing with everyone.

"The uneasy paradox which so many live with in this country - of being first-and-foremost rugged individuals, out to plunder what they can and paying as little tax as they can get away with, while at the same time believing that America is a robust, model society - has reached a crisis point this week."

We normally think that these types of scenes are only overseas. Most white Americans did not even realize that there are still parts of this country that are stuck in the 19th century. The establishment shunted these poor folks off into oblivion and then seem surprised that so many died or were ravaged.

You have been ignoring them for 400 years, its time for those proverbial chickens to come home.

Saadia said...

ash, are you saying that the blacks in New Orleans were neglected since the beginning? And now its finally coming to light? I agree with that.

Jane said...

Thoughtful post, Aisha. I read it first a few days ago but could not add anything to it....even now I am stunned to see how even the terrible destruction of Hurricane Andrew seems mild in comparision to Katrina.

Marel Lecone said...

Really great post!

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