Bored and lonely. These are two things that people spend their entire lives running from. People create all kinds of things, like Risk, to avoid being bored and lonely. Growing up I was often told that there is never a reason to be bored and if you are it just meant that you were boring. I often thought of these talks as child abuse, but as I have travel several parts of the world extensively on my own, I've come to realize that those moments are for processing what you have seen and experienced. You aren't ever really bored or lonely. I think that's what my mom was really trying to tell me when I whined how bored I was.
I've been traveling for two weeks, though its not really traveling since I have a job and an apartment. I've had a couple bored and lonely moments. Earlier this week I had a solo dance party, discovered some great new music and thought through some things for work. I've realized over the past ten years or so that I need these moments. I really need them and cherish them when they arrive suddenly. They have helped me to make very important decisions, such as the one that got me here, to Amsterdam. The many months leading up to making that decision were difficult, complex, and extremely frustrating but the decision wasn't.
Enough about my boring life, let's talk New Orleans and Barcelona.
The New Orleans office of ACORN was raided yesterday by Louisiana Attorney Generals office who seized computers and hard drives in a tax fraud and embezzlement investigation. In other New Orleans news, Campbell Brown did a follow up story to a young man, a 13 year old kid actually, she met in the days following Katrina. Brown met Charles Evans when he was 9 years old as he led her and her camera crew through the super dome asking anyone that would listen to please help his family and community. The story is of our own humanity but the comments at the bottom of the CNN page that discribe Evans' story tells something else. It etches out the story of why we didn't help New Orleanians in the those first few days. It whispers deep seated institutional racism that makes one wonder whether Americans will ever break free.
Here are a couple comments:
"this is so yesterday's news. Why not do "Unemployment victims of the current Obama's recession? or "Why can't Obama get anything done including fixing the economy?"
"Gee back to square one. I guess he never has figured out that working to support himself might be something to try. The Katrina "victims" have victimized this country for far too long."
"This is ridiculous, it has been four years since Katrina. These people are wallowing in their own filth because they are too lazy to actually improve their situation. It is time to actually take initiative, and get on your feet New Orleans."
"Why should we feel sorry for this kid? His grandmother made the choice to move back to NO...so now the rest of the country should go rescue him and save him from the horrors of the 9th ward? Crap. Get a JOB!!!!"
:He is a teenager. Grab a shovel, a hammer, a pick ax, or go stock groceries at the local store. There are plenty of people worse off than this guy. If he really wants to make the best of his situation he will, or he will keep looking for handouts."
"Not more Katrina victems....
Get over it, get a job, go to a shelter and deal with the bad situation you have. But DON'T blame it on a year old hurricane. I'm in Houston, we had Ike and we are over it. Matter of fact I've been in six different hurricanes and no time did I label my self a "Hurricane surivior and not get myself back on my feet. Heck I fought in two war OAF, OIF , and your a surivior from a rain storm? A rain storm?!
Why is New Orleans with billions pumped into it take ten times longer than Houston who got almost no aid after Ike taking so long? Or is it they just want more free aid....
Take control and rebuild and do it now...Just like Houston did."
Granted the comments bashing these above outnumber the negative ones posted. Give a read to them if you have a couple minutes. It's real overview of what our country is struggling with right now and how 4 years after Katrina we haven't been able to wrap our minds around what happened and why we let it happen and why we still can't mitigate the consequences. Not only are the kids and families that survived Katrina in turmoil, but so are the families of the boys that were flown back from Iraq the next morning to patrol the streets and keep any sort of peace. We brought kids back home to Louisiana (these kids joined the national guard and then found themselves in Iraq) from a violent experience to bring peace to a city with a history of hundreds of years of violence and poverty along racial lines. We just dump problems onto problems and then get confused when it doesn't sort itself upright. Then we see one kid make it and think, 'see he made it, everyone else deserves their sorrow'.
I love my country and I think that I respect people's opinions (or that people have the right to have opinions), but I get nervous that I just don't have what it takes to make a real difference sometimes. This story and the comments below are just a simple sketch of what our country really resembles. I have to say that many of the comments are from people who also survived Katrina or who went to New Orleans to help in some way and many are offering support to Charles, from providing a place to live, to help getting into a better school, to 'I don't know what to do but I'll give it a go anyway'. And I think that it shows we have a base of good people here, we just get lost in the details because we keep thinking that someone else out there with more authority is going to help correct these things. We keep looking to our politicians but they are barely worth anything. They are so stymied in their own search for power that they can't recognize their place to make real change happen.
Time for action for climate justice? Fuck yeah it is. See what happened in Barcelona this week.
Well . . its grey, cold and raining outside. Must be a Fall weekend afternoon in Amsterdam. I think I'll take a nap. Need to rest up for later.
Museum Night is tonight. All the museums throw parties until 6am! How will we pace ourselves?