August 30, 2006
On Helping Your Fellow Man
Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. For those of us here in the North East, this disaster was commemorated with radio and T.V. sound bites detailing the destruction and the glorious (if not difficult path) to regeneration and rebirth of the city and its people, including a special guest appearance from President George W. Bush to assure us that New Orleans was well on its way to recovering its former glory.

What I found, through my daily blog readings, is that this sugar coated version is a far cry from the truth: this Grande Dame of cities is still a wasteland.

I got to thinking (yes, a dangerous past time I'm well aware). There are so many horrific things that happen around the world that are not man induced (the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 that wiped out entire islands, the earthquakes in India and Turkey that decimated entire towns, the AIDS epidemic in Africa) and even more atrocities that are (genocide in the Congo, human rights violations worldwide, extreme poverty). And yet, we turn a blind eye.

Human beings tend to have short-term memories. We witness something happen, feel bad about it for awhile. Perhaps we even donate some money or resources. But then we forget. Where once the entire nation's heart bled for the the destruction of New Orleans, now it is nothing more than a city's private heartache. In fact, so far today, not a single soundbite or image of New Orleans has passed my eyes/ears. Why should it, this author sarcastically asks, the anniversary date has come and gone, its time to find the "next big story."

The same applies world wide: when was the last time you heard anything about the rebuilding of the islands and nations hit by the tsunami? The earthquakes? Headway in the fight against AIDS in Africa?

Granted, I do not believe that the world can change over night. I do not believe that warring countries will simply put down their arms and starting working on a cure for AIDS or a way to help poor people better structure their homes to withstand the force of an earthquake. I do not believe that New Orleans will ever be returned to her former glory. I DO believe that if we all make a conscious daily effort to do something small for our fellow man, that the attitude of "it's not my problem" can change.

What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. I do not agree with the big way of doing things.

Mother Teresa, 1975

posted by Tina at 7:59 AM
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