Friday, November 9, 2007

HOPE AND SUFFERATION




3 households out of many thousands, trying to rise up from the destruction in the still devastated Lower 9th Ward. The ongoing sufferation and hardship there is mind blowing. The children play, live and are constantly exposed, to visual stimuli of trauma and destruction - lately with some small signs of hope appearing on the general landscape. Yet, I feel that the overall destructive visual stimuli far outweighs the hopeful signs. How will these children and teens be affected emotionally and spiritually from what they have gone through in their futures? How will their hearts remember on the whole about how they were treated?

This is a reoccurring thought as I drive through the various areas of the city - especially the income poor areas to photograph their "hidden in plain sight" sufferation. "Many of those who could really make a difference don't care". In my work photographing and living in the city, I am not only exposed to incredible wealth and comfortable living whilst at the same time within 20 minutes I am witnessing people living in shocking poverty."


It is my opinion that the people I see living in the income poorer neighborhoods, have been by all appearances, abandoned to their 'fates'. And it makes me feel angry and powerless to think that those with so much in material riches in this country, much more than they will ever need, are some of the first to espouse thinking such as "there is a great fear in this country that we are going into the swamp of socialism. The individual is the key not the state." --Presidential Republican Candidate Duncan Hunter







I've noticed that capitalism as a public policy, tends to favor supporting those "who have, to have more". Remember how President Bush at a fund-raiser once famously said to his political base: "what an impressive crowd, the have's and the have more's." (Google the quote for further information). I don't believe that socialism or capitalism, (defining how we act, in black and white thinking, that keeps us from doing anything more about a situation than capitalizing off of it), is the solution. I don't know what "the solution"is. My work is to show others suffering and injustice, where I find it and hope that something within them, will become mobilized in this witnessing of injustices, to find the answers as our forefathers did in creating a democratic, not "capitalistic" society.

"For the People, of the People..."

I have watched in this city how many of the income poor neighborhoods are still without local groceries, supermarkets, schools, banks and the much needed stores to get their needs met; whilst there is plenty of shopping and even expensive fine goods to be found on Magazine Street and even "2" supermarkets (a Whole Foods and a Winn Dixie) within a few blocks Uptown whilst in Mid City on South Claiborne and off of St. Claude by Franklin and Alomaster the Winn Dixie sits closed. Even though there is a great need for the supermarket in these neighborhoods.

If speaking out about these social injustices engenders me to be name called a "socialist" then so be it. Are we so self-absorbed and self-indulgent as a nation, that we have closed our eyes and hearts to the suffering and have reverted instead to" deciding to care" about such matters politically as whether we would be participating in "socialism and the nanny state?" Isn't that just a way of saying "my life is too overwhelming, I have my own problems, why should I care it's their own fault?" Or, "I can do so very little why bother?"

"Doing something" can be as simple as being a witness. Watching, caring about what is going on, reading. Eventually over time, when our moral inner cores witnesses enough injustice, mechanisms within the human heart and consciousness will evolve and become stronger, overriding the fear and self indulgent aspects of the ego, with a previous unknown strength and courage of the heart. This awakening is what can lead to "being or doing something" meaningful in each individuals future.


In Peace.

St. Claude Avenue "business district". Lower 9th Ward. 70117



To see how this area looked in April of this year:

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