Blog Post

katrina and me

at the time of hurricane katrina, to be honest, i felt very detached from the tragedy. i've never been to new orleans, i don't personally know anyone who was affected by the storm, and other than what i absorbed from glimpses of the news and my parents or friends telling me, i did not know much about it. i do not watch the news often. i don't know if that is due more to a willing ignorance about current events or lack of time. actually i think it's partly due to the way in which news is delivered. i am never especially shocked or moved by things i see on tv, until there is a first-hand account. learning facts about horrible events from relatively calm and collected newscasters is completely different from hearing and seeing the raw emotion in someone who has really been affected by an event. once i see and hear that, it's like i suddenly realize that the pain of that person is multiplied by however many people were involved in and impacted by the tragedy and the tragedy becomes real to me. then the immensity of all the grief and suffering hits me.

perhaps that's why "when the levees broke" brought me close to tears (i probably would have cried, if i hadn't been in class). for the first time i saw people telling their own stories instead of hearing them repeated as statistics and cold data. i could not remain distant from their experiences; their sadness and anger engulfed me. i guess i try and maintain a pretty sunny view of the world, and yet i'm not unaware of all the terrible aspects. i just try and shut them out sometimes, because otherwise i don't think i could function. that's probably a pretty human reaction, but it doesn't make you feel too awesome about yourself. so finally understanding the devastation that hurricane katrina caused was painful but compelling.


1 comment

I sometimes feel that I wear a pair of invisible glasses that help me see the "sunny view of the world" and block out the innumerable tragedies out there. Yet, I feel responsible to take those silly glasses off at times and see the world in its constant balancing act that continually tries to throw humanity off like a bucking horse. So, I just wanted to let you know that I felt similarly to you while watching "When the Levees Broke" - it brought me closer to the disaster in a very real way. Whether the purpose of the documentary was to simply inform or motivate people to act so New Orleans won't always be "The Place That Care Forgot," I feel inspired to take ownership and spread the message of Hurricane Katrina's wrath on New Orleans and the aftermath of humanity's struggle.