Monday, September 05, 2005

Left behind

My host family keeps bringing up Hurricane Katrina, which is in the headlines every day even here. I don't know how to react except to nod. What I really want to say is:

A few months ago the images of the homeless, helpless people stranded in New Orleans would have seemed foreign to me, the kind of people I only see in newspaper photos or through the window of a car while driving through the inner city. Now they look to me like the women in the shelter from this summer. Storms and domestic violence both strike people from all parts of society who are in the wrong place or the wrong relationship, but you can probably guess the kind of people who hit rock-bottom enough to have to live in an overcrowded shelter without even a bedroom to themselves. (To be honest, this is not even rock-bottom. Rock-bottom is the women who leave an abuser only to wind up living on the streets because they have nowhere else to go, and we have to turn them away because they're not technically in a crisis situation.) It's the same kind of people you see in the photos of the Superdome: poor, black products of poor education, poor nutrition, and bad jobs. And when the rest have some way out, they're the ones left behind. It infuriates me.

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