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Music today: Bratsch

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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Friday, Dec. 31, 2004 - 3:52 a.m.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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WARNING!!!! if you know me personally, you may read my diary, but if you do, you take the chance of hearing things you don't want to know, misunderstanding what I've written and being hurt by it. If you are unsure if it is ok to read, save yourself and me the grief and heartache, and ask first!!! Please note that this is a DIARY, ie my subjective feelings, hearsay, suppositions, and outpourings of ranting of the moment. It does not represent objective news, the whole of what I think of a topic or someone, or even a thought-out representation of any of the above. Keep that in mind. Thanks. * Here is a Diary Etiquette Read Me.

One by One by One

First entry today is here.
Second entry today is Here.
Third entry today is this one.

So, what I SHOULD be doing, other than making a couple changes to my comic page for today and uploading it, tracing all the dog gang sketches (making a change or two the editor asked for and somehow I thought I had time to do and now the time is running out), and thinking of some sort of xmas/birthday present for my father, is going through the massive pile of "please donate" mailings on my floor.

Cuz Dec 31 is tomorrow. Sorry it is today. And the post office probably closes in 8 hours. Dang I should have done this weeks ago. Usually at the end of every year I sit down and sort the seven hundred different mailings I get (and freak over how much money some of these charities must spend on mailings... I think I got like 10 of them last year from the Lung and Heart Association alone (or some charity like that)....

But I admit that what with doggy costing me about $400 in the past week (Including food and goodies), $300 of which was unexpected, I am feeling less charitable about writing checks here and there. In fact it stresses me out more than a little bit. And the dog gang book, the only thing finished soon, was in fact paid in full before I started so the $ is spent. Drat.

And $30 for bloody screws. Who knew masonry screws are so expensive?

And then I feel horribly overprivileged and cheap and like I should be sending hundreds of $$ out, not thinking about having just discovered that the tape deck plays tapes at double speed if I try to double them. (did you get that??). Well, who needs new music anyways right? I have my LPs. My turntable works.

Gosh, I feel like one of them Christmas commercials where you see all these starving kids with nothing in Africa, with the voiceover of two parents discussing whether to get the bike or the nintendo, or the snowboard. Or maybe the nintendo AND the play station two and the snowboard for his birthday. Yup. I feel like that.

Have you all sent money for the tsunami? I admit I have not. Maybe I'll send $ in a month when everyone has forgotten about them cuz there's a new disaster or Bush has declared war on Iran, and they are still stuck in the rubble with no food or clean water. We're always so good about coming to the rescue in the first week, and then moving on whereas the people are in need for 5 to ten years. Dang. But at least people ARE coming to the rescue. It is a very good thing. Go to Sasori-gal's to see where to donate $ to help the tsunami victims.

Today I forced myself to read the paper and look at the photos. About eight full pages. I had to hold a napkin under my face cuz I kept crying on the newspaper. It is beyond comprehension it is. There was an excellent article about how when they say 100,000 or 125,000 have died, it is an estimate. When you round up or down from 97.312 people or 125,338 people, it is cuz we have stopped counting individuals. When it is 332 people, we think of each of them. When it is 100,000 it is plus or minus thousands of individuals.

Individuals like you or me. Each with a life story, a childhood, a family, friends, pets and hobbies. Hopes and fears. Each a different person who was skinny, or on the Atkins diet, fat or just tall, with two missing teeth from that fight with their cousin when they were 13, or a birthmark behind their left ear. Each someone doing their own private individual things that day. Ironing some clothes to go for a job interview. Washing toilets in a five star hotel. Going out fishing, planning who to invite dancing on New Years. Lounging on the beach thinking how much they hate their office job in Goteborg or Tokyo.

And then the water sucked away from the shore. Those ironing, or cycling through the market or fighting with their wife didn't notice, but those on the beach thought "oh cool, wow, how bizarre" and stood there staring. And then the water came back.

They are counting bodies. How many bodies do you think wash out to sea with those kinds of waves, that kind of sucking action? How can they count those people? Bodies are rotting. They are throwing them into mass graves and bulldozing over them. They are burning them in mass cremations. They are taking hair samples if they have even heard of DNA testing. How can you identify your dead if they are bloated and buried and burned? How many thousands of people will be missing forever. Who knows if they were washed up on a far shore or eaten by sharks? Burned in a large pit or rescued by someone in another country where they cannot speak the language and they have no id.

Over 125,000 dead. Too many to think of individually. Who won't have funerals. Whose families may not have any keepsakes. No photos or cherished drawings from childhood or teddybears or wedding rings. People like fleas or ants.

There are some miracle stories. There was a whole page of those in the paper. They made me cry too. Cuz for every miracle (18 month old baby boy found wandering alone on Thai roadside reunited with Swedish father in hospital in another town) there was a disaster. (the same father/baby boy combo had lost their wife/mother). A mother clutching a child she thought dead... no it is the only living one of her family of 6 children and her husband and parents are dead too. How can you be happy about these miracles through that much grief?? It is unimaginable, the human toll.

Here is an interesting article about world views, and how a similar earthquake in Spain centuries ago provoked thoughtful questions about God and human's place in the universe. It says that at least the scientific world view is not challenged and torn apart by this sort of disaster. Whereas it is a challenge for religions. When it is not "those sinners" who are smitten, nor an act of "evil men taken in by satan such as idolators and homosexuals, liberals and catholics", but rather people from all different walks of life... the very rich in five star hotels, the aristocracy sailing and jetsurfing, the very poor in villages and slums, the middle class in cities and on the beach. People from all different religions.... Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Jews... People from different countries and social systems... India and Africa, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, Swedish tourists and anglophone hotel owners.. How can it be seen as a punishment of God, divine retribution? Is Sri Lanka worse than China? Is the Muslim god angry or the Buddhist god? Is it a message? A blessing?

I am lucky. I believe in blind luck. I believe human beings get squished by natural events that have no morality, no meaning, the same as bugs get squished by natural events. I never think about how the earthworms where I dig a foundation are less pious and godfearing than the ones in the park and thus are smitten like Sodom and Gomorrah. They are just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Same with all those people. The earth shrugs. Just does it's physical thing, like water boiling if it is heated long enough, or rock wearing away into sand, or sand blowing in the wind to choke people and cover cities. It is the physical way of the world. The earthworm crossing the sidewalk cuz its burrow was rained out, and I was running to catch the bus. Squish. Absolutely nothing it could have forseen, or done differently to deflect me. No morality attached to its demise. Like leaves falling and decomposing.

From the point of view of the earthworm it is a tragedy. Life cut short. No more offspring. Its genes will not go forward and onward. No more munching through the dirt. From the point of view of the storm front... zippo.

From our point of view (which of course is the absolute only one important to ourselves) this tsunami is tragedy beyond belief, beyond numbers and countiing. Tragedy of collossal proportions and rounding off to the nearest thousand. (makes 9/11 suddenly look less "the world will never be the same" eh). From the point of view of techtonic plates (and even of whales in the ocean), the human suffering is Rotting meat.

And that is the part we hate. How people with smiles and laughter, pet peeves and ICQ numbers, favorite foods and photos of their babies, can be turned into rotting meat in seconds.

Actually right now, it is those still alive (esp those who cannot be airlifted to their home country where hospitals don't smell of cadavres, and walls are still standing, water is fresh and food plentiful) who freak me out. The emotional pain. The hunger and fear and despair and thirst. The festering wounds. The illness and starvation to come.

I guess I should get out my paypal number.
And tomorrow I will read the newspaper again and cry.
May we not forget the humanity of all of those 125,000 individuals, and the ones still struggling. One by one by one.

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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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