Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tragedy on tragedy

Boy, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night...I stayed up till after two o'clock watching the hurricane coverage on CNN and it was disturbing. Really disturbing.

Jeanne Meserve, who I've seen a hundred times on CNN, had called in a report to Aaron Brown earlier in the evening, and they replayed it later. I've never heard a reporter so affected by a tragedy. Her voice was calm but you could hear the horror of what she'd seen that day as she tried to get through the report. You can listen to it here at CNN; click on the link to "watch an emotional account" which seems like a dumb way to describe it, but oh well. I thought she completely conveyed how horrible things are in New Orleans, and she did it in a very personal way.

I also saw a brief local New Orleans interview with a man who was wandering the streets with his two boys, disoriented and in shock. When he told the reporter that his house had broken in half and his wife had been swept away, the reporter burst into tears.

What made it hard for me to sleep was the thought of thousands of people trapped in their homes, in the dark, in the heat, pinned up in the attic with the water rising. The thought absolutely makes me sick--it's like all my worst nightmares come to life. What can you do but pray? Which I did.

I am not a tragedy junkie. I don't follow coverage of high-profile kidnappings and murders and their subsequent trials. Somehow it feels...unseemly...to receive infotainment from other people's nightmares. But when things like this happen--September 11, the Asian tsunami, hurricanes--it feels important to me to pay attention for a while. Not because there's much of anything I can do personally, but just to show respect, to show that it matters to me what happens to people. To prove it to myself if nothing else. And to pray. So often in life that's all you can do, and to me, sometimes, it feels terribly inadequate in the face of overwhelming catastrophe. I have to hope and believe that what I pray makes a difference somehow. I don't know.


Mimi said...

I can't even comprehend what I'm seeing.

Lord have Mercy, Lord have Mercy, Lord have Mercy!

beverly d said...

the most "shocking" for me was while I was watching the CBS news tonight, they showed all of these people just "dumped" on an overpass in N.O and this woman said that her husband had died the night before and she tried to tell someone and they just told her, "Move the body away from people" or something like that. They also showed a man who jumped off of the overpass to his death. I also got mad that all of these people were just "dumped" to fend for themselves. Then, the news swung over to Biloxi which was allegedly the "hardest hit" and although those people were suffering, they didn't look nearly as bad as the N.O people. Stores were proving food. People had places to stay. (sigh) Maybe I don't want to move to a coastal city.

Steph said...

I can't imagine being there day in and out reporting. What a horrible job to be there, have to be so strong and to feel so helpless.

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