As I sit here on dry land, in the safety of my comfortable apartment in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, the news of the disaster has slowly gained strength, jut like Hurricane Katrina that preceded it, in the sphere that shapes my world.
My friend, Dagmara Grajewska, is sitting in a hotel room, 90 miles SW of New Orleans at this very moment. She was visiting her brother who had just arrived from Poland on a Nigerian operated, Greek-owned tanker just a few days before Hurricane Katrina crossed over Florida. She and her brother are safe. They have food and water, but she reported tonight that the lawlessness has crept from the city’s center out into other parts of Louisiana, reaching where she is now.
Her hotel is now filled with refugees of the disaster; families sleeping six or eight to a room. No one can get gas right now and she said that it’s too dangerous to go to the supermarket, because people are getting robbed of their food and supplies at gunpoint when they push their carts out to their cars. She can definitely feel the sense of loss, urgency, stress, sadness all around her.
The children are getting food from local schools and parents are spending their time trying to put their lives back together, trying to contact loved ones on borrowed cell phones. People are donating clothing and other supplies from around the community, but she’s still, at this point scared to take her rental car out on to the road. For one, she’s only got a half a tank of gas and she’s pretty confident it’s too dangerous for a girl to drive alone as she may get carjacked. And second, she’s afraid if she takes the car out of state to get to another airport, the car rental agency will charge her a drop-fee for no returning it to its original rental location. Of course, I told her she shouldn’t worry about that and that she should call the agency, I’m sure they must be waving the fees at this point.
Tonight, I tried to view a few video clips on CNN.com. I found it particularly disturbing that CNN kept its video advertisement running in its Internet video player, despite the trajedy. Corporations need to be sensitive to the events going on around them and pull insensitive advertising, or any advertising for that matter, in the interest of getting the information out first.
Once you get to their player, the first thing you see is an advertisment for Dow Chemical promoting, guess what? FRESH WATER! Crops and food, like the pics of the juicy watermelon stocked on stores shelves wth happy people smiling. After the ad finishes, a news story starts about death and distruction in putrid water where there are no smiling, happy people picking watermelon off the store shelves or running a tractor in a corn field, while Dow promotes themselves as “improving” the environment. If Dow wanted to improve anything, it would be New Orleans…as soon as humanly possible.
I’m sure, on this Thursday night before a holiday, the Ad Traffic Department at CNN is thinking of other things, like their vacations on Long Island, besides the fact that Dow ad is the first thing you see when you want to get important information about a disaster. I can’t fault them, because the last thing anyone thinks about is internet video advertising, but someone at CNN better get on the ball and think about pulling that ad, not only for their own piece of mind and reputation, but because I’m sure Dow would ask that it be pulled as well. No respectable multi-billion dollar corporation wants to be associated with trajedy. None that I know of anyway.
Nothing better than to watch how a billion-dollar chemical company can keep your water fresh for the people who can afford it while there are tens of thousands of people who’ve had to endure disgusting, feces and trash filled water for days on end.
I hope and pray to the deities of all religions and faiths bless those unfortunate people. That law and order is restored, that senseless deaths of hundreds slows to none, that the children are fed, the mothers are taken care of and the father’s find comfort, food and shelter for their families.
What can I do? Donate money, clothing and shoes to the less fortunate than I, which I will be doing over the next couple of days. The Red Cross phone number is 1-800-HELP-NOW. I would hope all my friends and readers see it in their hearts to help donate time, energy, money, prayers, blood, clothing, food.
Remember, these are just my opinions. And in the interest of not being a hypocrite, I promise not to run a Google ad directly under this specific post, because that would be like the “pot calling the kettle black.”