Wednesday, December 29, 2004

after the tsunami, snapshots...

when we die, do we become limbs? just faceless, legged remnants of a life lived?

i can't look at these ap and reuters photos of devastation in asia without thinking about that. not since 9/11 have i seen photos that so accurately capture the most visceral human emotion, grief.

the photos are like a morbid peep show into something i would never see here in a commercialized world and 9/11 is probably the closest america will come to it.

photographers freeze-frame mourners' faces, contorted into wrinkled, shut eyes and white teeth bared in now still, silent howls of despair.

two men carry a body out of the rubble of a home. the older man lets a cigarette hang loosely from the corner of his mouth. judging by their blank expressions, one would think that they were bored rather than shell-shocked.

and the carnage. even looking at the pictures, i cannot fathom what it must look like, thousands of bodies piled upon one another, faces turned blue and gray and bloated. what does that look like? what does the air taste like to the woman in this photograph who has wrapped her headdress around her nose and mouth? i sit staring at swollen bodies whose lungs are drowned in water.

what made me lucky enough to live land-locked in america?

the look of devastation is the same everywhere, but this disaster has changed the way i regard it.

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