October 26, 2007

The San Diego Fires - my reaction as a victim


Below is a blog comment that I left on the NY Times website about the Wildfires raging through my hometown of San Diego. It's comment # 313 if you click the link above:

I didn’t find out what happened to my house until yesterday when my mom
called me. My house, the house I grew up in and that has been in my family for
almost 30 years, is gone. The place where my house used to be now resembles “a
volcanic crater” according to my Dad. I’m currently studying abroad in Madrid,
Spain, and while I’m here going through midterms, the rest of my family is in
Escondido, CA dealing with the greatest disaster we’ve ever gone through…and I
don’t know what to do. Right now I’ve kind of just pushed everything to the back
of my mind, pretending like it’s just some primetime drama I watch on Thursday
nights, and not something real that’s actually happening. Because I’m afraid
that if I allow myself to face the truth then I won’t be able to function and
take care of my responsibilities. I have midterms right now and I want to make
sure that I do my best so that during this dark time I can show my parents my
strength just like they’ve shown me theirs.

Look, there is a lot of political arguing and a lot of placing blame that
is going to happen in the next few months, and it makes me shudder. Solidarity
is what we need, not more division. Not more division about what’s going on in
Iraq. Not more division about what to do in Burma. Not more division over our
ecological footprint. And not more division about who gets blamed for what did
or did not happen in response to this, our most current, disaster. The more we
criticize, insult, and divide each other the weaker we become. I encourage you
to remember in these coming months that it is our solidarity and trust in our
fellow man that will get us through. It is our care we exhibit and our actions
that will give support, and not our words and arguments. We must act like we
care, not just talk like it. We must make change, not just talk about it. We
must live what we believe, and create the world that we want to live in, not
just dream of it.

To everyone in San Diego. To all my friends and neighbors I hope that you
are safe. Some of you may have lost your homes, like me, but you still have your
lives and your loved ones. Remember those were only things that burned in the
fire. Things that represented memories and emotions which we still have in our
minds and hearts. No fire can take them away. I encourage you to not be afraid
to seek help and counseling from friends or professionals. It is important to
let people in especially during a time of pain like this. Love is what will heal
us and make us strong once again. Right now we have a choice, a choice to act
out of fear or out of love. With every action we must choose.

I choose love.

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