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Hearing in my mind... the screams of burning alive.

Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.
- Pueblo Blessing

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Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2003 - 12:09 a.m.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Charred people

Tonight I am going to make two entries. One sad and with some real life horror. The other full of awe and the sacred. They are interrelated in a way, in that I was looking for images or links for the sacred one, and discovered this photographer, who documented something in the same vein as the horror.

Today I read in the paper of the death of two men yesterday morning. One was a cheap landlord who decided to get some of his friends together to reroof with tar, a building in St-Henri, one of the poorest areas of Montreal.

Apparently for the past few years the building has been deteriorating, and being patched with pieces of found wood. One of the neighbors had thought of complaining to the city that it was a fire hazard.

Most of what happened came from eyewitness accounts of neighbors, and one of the two survivors, who is 23. He said that he works as a roof couvreur professionally, but was just helping out a friend yesterday. Apparently the landlord wanted them to carry the heater, and the tar boiler up onto the roof, rather than having them on the ground with a hose running up, as is standard. The young man refused, saying it wasnt standard, and another man took the equipment up on the roof.

Soon there was a shout, and he looked around to see flames shooting along the roof, and the other men rushing about trying to find something to put the fire out with. The fire was between the men and the trapdoor to descend, and spreading quickly. The young man shouted to everyone to jump, which he did, onto a two story roof next door, from the three floor one they were on, and then to the ground. A second man jumped off a different side from the third floor to the ground.

The landlord and the fourth man didnt leap. The flames jumped to their hair and and clothing, and according to bystanders, they were totally panicked balls of fire shaped like humans, running back and forth screaming death. At the last, one man took the other in his arms and they fell off the roof together. Both were dead. Both were burnt beyond recognition.

The 1st survivor had only a twisted ankle. The second broke both his heels. Not bad compared to burning to death. And when I read this I had a clear image of what a calcinated human being looks like from the Lynching Postcards of several days back.

This time of year is when they reroof with tar the flat roofs in my neighborhood. Now everytime I smell it, it smells of death.

And on to the photographer, DanK. I discovered him through his photos of the Whirling Dervishes, but continued to "This is God's Will", a photo essay spanning 3 years.

On a Christmas day, a car with 5 children in it (the other 2 kids and parents were delivering presents to the door) was hit by a drunk driver. Both cars burst into flames instantly. Two children died in the front seat. An older boy got out himself but died later. A passerby pulled two other children out. The drunk driver was badly burned.

The story is horrid and heartrending, but the little boy Marco (9 at the time) who was saved (with 3rd degree burns on 70% of his body) is inspiring... playing Monopoly at the hospital, and hanging with his friends. So I pass to you this story, with it's brave funny normal little boy.

And I think of the people who drive carelessly, and under the influence of alcohol. And think the worst thing, it is not dying by crashing your car. It is living, and having grievous wounds, your hands burnt off AND spending prison in life in this charred condition having been convicted of the 4th degree murder through drunk driving, of 4 kids under the age of 15, on Christmas day.

One of my exes drinks and drives, or used to. I am so afraid that something will happen that she will regret. Because I don't think someone who cares so deeply and feels so deeply could deal with the knowledge of such consequences of her actions. She was afraid of me killing myself by accident on a motorcycle. And I am afraid she'll drive home one day having just those few beer she wants to feel good, and kill someone else by accident. It is a scary thought when you care about someone.

Please don't drink and drive. Or be cheap about tarring your roof. Remember to jump while there's still time.


Well, while trying to find a link for the story of the roof workers in Saint-Henri, I stumbled across another fire tragedy. I shall quote here:

Mise à jour: 09/11/2003 08h27

Près d'Asbestos
Un incendie ravage une porcherie à Wotton

Un incendie a complètement ravagé une porcherie dimanche en début de nuit à Wotton, près d'Asbestos.
Les 1500 bêtes à l'intérieur du bâtiment ont péri.
Le sinistre aurait été causé par une lampe chauffante qui serait tombée au sol.
Il n'y a pas eu de blessé.
Les dommages matériels et les pertes animales frôlent un million de dollars.

What the heck does that say, most of you nonbilinguals will say. It says that a fire completely ravaged a pig far at Wotton, near Asbestos, QC. All of the 1500 animals inside were killed. It was caused by a heat lamp which had fallen to the ground. There were no injuries. The material damages and the animal losses touch a million dollars.

Am I the only one who thinks that it is insane to say "there were no injuries" when 1500 pigs, which are more intelligent than dogs, burned to death?? The animal losses were $$$$... aaagh! Humans are so fucking full of ourselves. I don't even want to let my mind wander towards the sound of 1500 panicking and dying pigs. I think it is time to go to the next entry, of awe and the sacred. Yes.

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previous meanderings - future past

Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Taking Care of Your Cows - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Saint Joseph robs the cradle and eats spaghetti - Sunday, Jun. 14, 2009
sticky notes and broken irises - Friday, Jun. 12, 2009
The FOODCOMMANDER - Monday, Jun. 08, 2009

 

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