Obituary: Sandy is no more.
Sandy stayed in the limelight for about a week.
Sandy, the tropical cyclone with a sweet sounding name came into everyone’s life late October and left this planet without saying goodbye a few days later. Sandy lived her life to the full. She was brash, loud, angry, noisy and had a very destructive personality. To put it bluntly, Sandy was nihilistic. She came, she saw, she killed, destroyed, damaged and then, vanished. Everyone will be happy to hear she is no more. She will definitely won’t be fondly remembered. But let’s not be too harsh on her as no one can deny that she has served a purpose and has taught us a few important lessons.
1) The corporate media (also known as the manufacturer of consent) of the Western World does not care the slightest about people that pay their TV license in other countries (Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic). Those people’s lives are not supposed to interest us. We are not supposed to care. So, the media simply blank them out of our screens. They are forgettable people.
2) It is always useful for presidential nominees to have a disaster in the few weeks leading to a presidential elections. Why? Because, it takes people’s mind away from the emptiness of the overall debate and from presidential campaigns that around this time start to run on empty. It distracts them and allows the nominees to try very hard to be the saviour of the day. Also, it is a lot less costly for them than a war.
3) It gives apolitical people a slightly more interesting topic of discussion than “The X factor”, “Big Brother” or “Dancing with the stars”.
4) It reminded people, once again, after Katrina, the 2004 tsunami and many others natural disasters that, if we continue to disrespect nature in this way, she’ll be back with a vengeance. And it might only be the start. “The revenge of nature” might be a show that will enjoy a run never heard of before. It will actually probably be a show that will outlive us all. And please, don’t mention Kyoto, The Toyota Prius or Green light bulbs. Those are soundbites. Nature won’t buy it. Nature does not watch TV.
But finally, what’s the biggest and most important lesson Sandy has taught us? What should we take out of the rubbles?
Sandy was angry, yes. Very angry. But why? Why so angry? And why angry at us, simple folks that are simply trying to live a normal simple life? Because, let’s not fool ourselves, Sandy’s anger was directed at us. It was her way to tell us that we could not hide any longer, we had to face our responsibilities.
Sandy called us to account because she was dismayed about the fact that we only show love, compassion and solidarity when a disaster occur. Sandy did not want to have to do this, but she found that it was the only thing she could do to open our eyes on the endless potential of human civilisation.
And it worked.
People showed amazing courage, love, solidarity, kindness, compassion, intelligence, generosity towards one another for a few days. People with power offered others to re-charge their phones, people with food gave it away, people with shelters had others sleeping on their sofa, bed, floor. Street kitchens spread like mushrooms all over affected areas. People, working hand in hand, together, outperformed huge NGOs. The result of a grass root approach, from the bottom up, horizontal, uninterested, without leaders and free. Not from the top-down. The real meaning of people’s power. A People’s union.
On the grander scheme of things, Sandy asked us all a question: “If you can do this in these type of conditions, why stop when things get back to normal? Isn’t life better this way? More exhilarating? Full filling? Loving? Empowering?”.
Sandy is now gone but she’s got brothers and sisters who expect us to answer this question the right way.
Our future depends on it.