Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Reality Check

Ever wonder what an infestation of aphids looks like? Well, here ya go. I took this photo in Portland where, incidentally, I will be on photo safari this weekend. [This post has been edited for length and continuity. In case you were wondering where the whole middle section went.] Ethics, shmethics! I am stealing a page from Poppet's book because my moral standing is all flexible and gymnastic-like. So, if you have any photographic requests, provided they are reasonable (yes, I mean you, you know who you are), I will do my best to fulfill them over the weekend. Now, in case anyone in Slothville is feeling sorry for themselves today, I have just the thing to make you shut the hell up and be thankful for what you have (unless you're Jack who, in light of recent tragedy, has every right to plunk his ass down in Sad Town and stay there for a while). Here is a story about some people who have it waaaaaaaaaay worse than you do. I was watching PBS the other night and learned this depressing tidbit: So, you know how 100,000 black people have been killed in Sudan by government-backed Arab militia groups? You knew that, right? 1.4 million people have been driven from their homes and all of Darfur (which is about the size of France, by the way) is basically a carnage festival. Well, the U.S. has sent some humanitarian aid, mostly in the form of food for the people stuck in numerous refugee camps. In this case "food" means grain. Here's the thing about grain, ok? You have to cook it to eat it. There's no way around it - your body can't digest raw grain. So think about this here are all these women and children packed together in refugee camps and they're starving. They have this grain. They need to cook it. To cook it they need firewood. To get firewood they have to leave the camp. It starts out at the close periphery where they pick up small sticks to burn, but as time wears on they have to go farther and farther from camp to find wood and who do you think is waiting for them? Why the Arab militiamen, of course. They wait at the edges of the camp for people to come looking for firewood so that they can gang rape them. So what do the refugees do, then, to decide who will go? Draw straws? Take turns? They could go in a group but then they would all get raped because they're unarmed - they can't protect themselves. In order for the rest to eat, a few must make this sacrifice. Imagine this. In order to eat you must let yourself be raped. Imagine it. Think really hard and try to get your head around that. Now look around you. You have clothes on your back. You have food to eat. You are indoors and you are safe. You don't know this kind of atrocity. You have no idea. Be grateful. Be grateful.