So many awful images from Hurricane Katrina – the ones involving children stand out for me. A desperate father holding up his three week old baby, crying out for formula. Babies in intensive care whose parents were evacuated. And, most poignantly of all, a quick pan over from the camera catching a little boy of perhaps 5, holding onto a white emergency personnel officer’s pant leg, his words caught in passing by the camera crew: “My mama dead. She got push in the water.” His words, his face, his plight haunt me. Who is that child? Does he have a grandmother, a big brother, a cousin or aunt who will care for him? If so – where are they? Why was he with the rescue person and not someone he knows, someone who loves him? Were they all dead too, slaughtered by the inaction of a government heavy on moral posturing and light on compassion? And would this scene have been televised without fanfare had he been a white child or from a more affluent neighborhood?
Posted on September 14, 2005 in Children and Society