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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


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Guilt can be soooooo oppressive. Only purpose of guilt is to bring about change, otherwise it paralyzes those who hold on to it.

Erin & I just returned from a 10 day STM (Short Term Mission) trip to Slidell-across-the-lake-from-New Orleans LA. As you comment above regarding the ineptitude of government to deal with, and often mess up stuff we witnessed first hand the devestation that continues to strangle the lives of millions in the Gulf region. There was no place we went to that was unaffected by Katrina and this continues to remain so ten months later. There are still tons of debris and garbage, thousands upon thousands of abandoned homes... not enough people in their FEMA trailers (we saw what must have been a field of two thousand FEMA trailers in Mississippi about 30 miles north of Slidell sitting empty and unattended) and very few people who were actually back in their homes. Most folk are just trying to survive day-to-day. The business community is just wiped out except for the French Quarter in downtown NO which was virtually untouched (so much for judgement doom sayers). We saw strip mall after strip mall completely abandoned and in bombed-out-like ruin all around the area - we were able to drive into NO and some of the surrounding areas. It's hard to describe. Cynicism not withstanding... if it were not for the faith-based Christian churches in this area and other Christian groups like ours coming to the area to help folks clean up and rebuild this area would be far worse off. We heard this comment from people everywhere we went with out exception. It's too bad we can't muster up the same compassion for the oppressed Iraqis but that may be asking a lot that folks can't grasp.

Anyway, our group of 15 was able to work on five different homes with things like installing flooring, painting walls and ceilings, finish painting, cleaning debris, getting yards back in shape and we also cleaned and repaired a community playground that had been untouched since Katrina. Though a drop in the bucket it contributes to the literally hundreds of church teams that are working throughout the entire region.

Mike, keep up the good work and the conscience driven rants.


Aw shucks, Dad thinks I'm special! :)
But seriously folks, I'm not sure how many more conscience-driven rants are in me... this week I seem to be back to my old happy-go-lucky-me self. And there's nothing faith-based churches or other such groups can really do in Iraq, anyway... I'm afraid it's worse than a natural disaster; it's a Bush-tastrophe. It's a superpower-sized mess, and only a superpower can clean it up. Unless Churches in the States want to organize relief bus groups to Baqubah? Yikes, I'm afraid to see what would happen there... I don't know if even any Muslim-relief groups have dared come over; Besides like, the Red Crescent Society, anyway. And even they can't make any real headway... No, this is going to take a full US withdrawal and 20 years of bloody strife to get Iraq back to anywhere near it's pre-Bush Jr. Occupation levels, let alone it's pre-Bush Sr. Invasion levels.
Oh, and not to change the subject, or go against what I said about being out of rant-steam or anything, but I see alot of articles online, and in the military newspaper, 'The Stars and Stripes' in particular, about how a big part of the reason Baghdad doesn't have enough electricty to go around these days is because of all the brand new electrical gadgets Iraqis have been free to buy since we "liberated" them that they never had before when Saddam was in charge. And so these whiz-bang new neat-o toys are supposedly sucking up all the extra juice and causing a lack of enough power to go all around the city equally... Well, excuse my English, but that's utter BULLSHIT!!!!! Before we invaded, Iraqis had perfectly good access to any electrical gizmos that most of the rest of the world did. Baghdad was not a back-of-the-sands brown-neck medieval conclave... it was one of the most advanced, cosmopolitan, and educated cities in the Muslim world! They had nice big refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and playstations aplenty! I think the only thing Saddam wouldn't let them have were satellite TVs, and sorry, those don't suck up %35 of Baghdad's power supply all by their little selves.
So don't believe the propaganda, is all I'm saying.
(Wow, this could have been a post. Ah well.)

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