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    Friday, September 02, 2005

    Flushing Out the Ugly Truth

    Joan Walsh's stark emotional take on the privileged confrontation with poverty and race via the hurricaine really shook me up.

    You know, I was honestly not that disturbed when I saw it as a "natural disaster". It was tragic, but I, naively, thought people would be taken care of. It quickly became this horrible, scary glimpse of humanity under pressure. The violence, raping children and shooting those who came to help, is what separates this in my mind from other "natural disasters".

    It makes me think of Altamont, though the two events are only minutely similar. What resonates about the corollary to me is that I think we are being awakened from a dream. Just like the counterculture kids were slapped in the face by the violence at Altamont- the fantasy that they could make everything right with good music and drugs was taken violently from them. Now it's a really different kind of awakening. We have to be jolted from our reverie, as a voting public, that looking out for our personal interests and fighting "evil" far away will keep us more and more comfortable and secure. It won't. It takes a "natural disaster" to show us how little control we actually have over the boundaries we rely on between self and other.

    Audre Lorde said, "[y]our silence will not protect you." She was talking about the silence of the oppressed. But this is different. Our (and by that I mean the privileged) silence about the poor has ceased to protect us who are not poor from the poor, which is obviously what we'd planned.

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