I have no words.

For the last week I’ve been trying to write something about the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but couldn’t say anything that came close to what I was feeling.  I had wanted to teach a unit on this at the start of the school year, but I cannot do the work that will enable me to teach.  I tried to watch When the Levees Broke and was crying even before the film really got started.  I read about the storm and I get such a pain in my chest I have to stop.  I can’t even explain my reaction.  I wasn’t there.  I no longer have family there.  The people I know who live in the area were safe.

I saw this on Friday:

and I was sickened beyond description.  I’ve never heard of Neal Boortz, and (obviously) I don’t listen to his program, but how much as to be wrong with you to have this thought form in your head and heart, to have these words come out of your mouth?  And what’s wrong with the people who do listen, who support him, who think he’s got the right idea?  People died, people’s lives were ruined, families were devastated.  We watched our government fail entire communities in crisis.  And Boortz has the gall to talk about these people as “human debris,” to talk about how Katrina cleansed New Orleans?

I still can’t speak.


4 thoughts on “I have no words.

  1. molly

    America. It’s hard.
    I think the concept of “genocide” might be useful, where some people either actively kill an identifiable group of “other” people, or make happy noises about it. In this case there’s a mix of action/inaction and talking in an evil way about the deaths and displacements.
    The storm was horrible, and the response was everything we saw and read about. A person who sees the storm as a positive event is a very bad person.
    One of the mysteries of life is the evil inside of human beings. We want to say other people are like us, but I feel there is a difference between me and any person who is pleased by the result of Katrina.
    I can see why it would be difficult for you to do lessons about this storm, but I can also see why the very fact that you are without words might be powerful for your students, whose challenge is to find the words for their lives. Maybe it’s something you could find together.

    Or maybe it’s something to be left for the next year, or the year after that. None of this is going to go away.

    But you, I hope, are going away for a short time to a different land with different problems. Yes!


    1. I’m still trying to work out a way to do a Katrina lesson … what you say about sharing my speechlessness with my students is really making me think. And, too, you’re right that none of this is going away, that there will always be another chance to teach this lesson.

      And yes! As my friends in JA would say: only 41 more sleeps until I’m there! It’s just about starting to feel real …


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