It Finally Got to Me
The news about hurricane Katrina has been inescapable here for 10 days now. I can understand that. This is the worst natural disaster the United States has ever experienced, and people want to talk about it. In the first few days after Katrina hit the reports coming out of the region were often sketchy and contradictory. The day Katrina hit and the day after reporters were saying that New Orleans had been spared the worst of the storm because the center of Katrina had actually passed slightly east of the city. Initial casualty reports indicated that perhaps 200 to 250 people had died - most of them in rural Mississippi. When reporters likened the event to the tsunami or worse, the bombing of Hiroshima (yes, a CNN reporter used those words) I was appalled at such comparisons. What American arrogance! What gall! Within a week however, it was clear that hurricane Katrina was truly a disaster. New Orleans was devastated - almost completely destroyed. Thousands, perhaps as many as 12 to 15 thousand, are now believed to be dead. I still don't agree with the tsunami comparison, but I do agree that this disaster is one of historic proportions.
But even with all that, I've felt detatched. I haven't had any kind of emotional reaction to the event. And then I saw this picture and I started weeping. This is a dog that for several days now has stood vigil over the body of it's owner - showed covered in a tarp in the background. My heart finally broke. Not for the person covered in the tarp, but for the dog. For all the animals. Look at the expression on that dog's face. When people were evacuated from New Orleans, as people are STILL being evacuated from the city, they are being told that they may not bring their pets. Tens of thousands of animals died in this disaster, tens of thousands more have been abandoned and are going to die - of neglect, of starvation, of exposure, of drowning. THAT is enough to make me cry.