graphics by Tim Nyberg
Have you ever been discussing an issue when suddenly someone starts using phrases like "those people", "you know that they all...", and, " I can never understand them"? You get my point.
Well I was recently in one of those conversations and I felt an overwhelming need to loudly proclaim that "I Am They".
It was in that moment that I understood why I can't stop writing about Katrina, or Rwanda, or Sudan, modern slavery, illegal rendition, violence against women, abused children, the preyed upon elderly and oppressed people everywhere. I understood why I can't just "lighten up" or " give it a break for awhile". I understood why I simply can't consume and acquire loads on inexpensive products that have been produced by mistreated and underpaid workers.
I think I've finally understood my faith.
I AM THEY
And I am not alone in feeling this way. The following is an excerpt from the article "Shouting Underwater" which expresses these thoughts far more eloquently than I.
an excerpt from Shouting Underwater
by Walter Mosley
" We are coming up on the two-year mark since the Katrina debacle in Louisiana and Mississippi. I hesitate to call this date an anniversary because the word implies, in some way, a celebration, a birth. What we are scratching on the calendar is more like a notch on a raw gravestone, a count of the days and years that have passed without a reckoning for those who died, those who lost loved ones and for a city that is still in critical condition.
Not only did our government fail to answer the call of its most vulnerable citizens during that fateful period; it still fails each and every day to rebuild, redeem and rescue those who are ignored because of their poverty, their race, their passage into old age.
The disaster named after the hurricane is not confined to the areas affected. Every emergency room, empty bank account and outsourced life's work could be named. We live in a country rife with ignored and condemned poverty. The rich, high on their great corporate steeds, ride over us believing that they are out of the reach of global warming and its symptoms, of terrorism and dwindling natural resources. When government officials tell them to evacuate, they drive their cars, board their corporate jets or simply climb to higher ground with ease. At this very moment they are looking down on Baghdad and New Orleans, Pakistan and Sudan, you and me. The feeling of invulnerability that these people have is unfounded, but nonetheless it makes them reckless. They take chances and cut corners believing that everything will come out all right. Their delusions of grandeur and ultimate power put us in ever more dire straits.
If we call ourselves Americans (and mean it), then we are all victims of Katrina. If we breathe the air or eat fresh fruit, if we call on our cellphones, drink water from a plastic bottle or just nibble on a chocolate bar, then we are Katrina; we are the rising waters around the ankles of this world. "