Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Katrina

I am in a rush, so please don't expect a long post (the kinds you simply love ;-)
I think we should consider donating something to the Katrina victims. Gosh! I loved New Orleans without ever being there. I used to tell myself, "If a city could produce such brilliant stuff (and I was talking about Jazz) then this city must be really fine." Well... Its in a bad shape now. Problem with countries with such an exchange rate is that a contribution of sizeable portion in our own country might not be/seem significant on the scene. Still, I think its worth giving it a shot. I gave what I could to Oxfam and am in the process of making my contribution to Brett Lott (Editor of Southern Review). I received a mail from AGNI with the following letter from Brett.

September 10, 2005

To the Community of Writers, Readers, Teachers, Students, Editors and Anyone Else Within the Sound of This Email--

Bret Lott here, editor of The Southern Review on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am writing to you and to everyone you can forward this email to with an opportunity to help victims of the hurricane. Forgive this rather long email, but it is important to the welfare of many hurricane evacuees in our area -- please read this all the way through.

No doubt you know the sorrow and hardship that has been visited on residents of our state because of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding caused by the breach of the levee in New Orleans. No doubt you know as well of the thousands of displaced persons who have lost everything because of the evacuation of that city.

As a result of so many New Orleans area universities and colleges closing down for who knows how long, LSU has taken on almost 2800 new students who were displaced by losing their homes and their schools; in addition, many students who were already enrolled at LSU have also suffered great losses.
These students have experienced hardships that few of us will ever know: they have lost their homes, their personal belongings, their books, their food -- everything, including, for many, the college or university at which they were enrolled. To help meet their needs -- and these are IMMEDIATE and GENUINE needs -- the LSU Foundation has set up Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

Strangely and beautifully and sadly enough, the latest issue of The Southern Review -- mailed to subscribers just week before last, right as the hurricane was making way for the Gulf Coast -- has turned out to be a very special issue for the artwork on the cover and that featured inside.
The artist, Billy Solitario, lives near GULFPORT (and I trust you have seen the pictures of the devastation there); as of this writing, we have not been able to contact him. The paintings themselves are of the Gulf Coast -- one of them is even titled "Spiral Cloud over Levee," another one titled "Storm Over the Mississippi"; still others in the portfolio are of barrier islands on the Gulf Coast -- places that don't even exist anymore. The artwork was selected about a year ago, and the synchronicity of this is a little too much to think about -- the issue, which went out just two weeks ago, celebrates a coastland that is, suddenly, gone. Also, and again the synchronicity of this is too much to behold, the lead poems in this issue are by Peter Cooley, poet at now-closed Tulane University; we have heard that he is safe in Houston at the time of this writing.

Here is where the community of folks to whom this email is addressed can help (and please read the following instructions CAREFULLY as they are being written this way so as to allow all of us to help each other legally!).

1 -- YOU SEND THE SOUTHERN REVIEW A CHECK FOR $8 (EIGHT DOLLARS) MADE OUT TO "LSU FOUNDATION," AND WRITE ON THE MEMO LINE "HURRICANE STUDENT RELIEF FUND." MAIL THAT CHECK TO:

THE SOUTHERN REVIEW
OLD PRESIDENT'S HOUSE
LSU
BATON ROUGE LA 70803

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS WHEN SENDING THE CHECK.

Or

CALL THE SOUTHERN REVIEW AT 225-578-5108 or 225-578-5041 AND GIVE US YOUR VISA NUMBER AND NAME AND ADDRESS

2 -- I SEND YOU A FREE COPY OF THIS ISSUE OF THE SOUTHERN REVIEW.

Please note that these two actions -- your donation, our sending you a free copy -- are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE (does anyone out there recognize yet the legal hoops I am having to jump through in order simply to help students in dire need of help? Sheesh!). Please note as well that it just so happens that the cover price for an issue of The Southern Review is $8 (eight dollars), BUT YOU ARE FREE TO DONATE AS MUCH AS YOU WISH.

Order as many as you want -- use them as gifts with the good knowledge that because of your generosity help is going to students in need; use them in your classes as a means to help your students rally to the aid of their comrades here at LSU; give them to anyone and everyone you know. And please forward this email to as many people as you know so that they might also be able to contribute to a worthy fund, and to enjoy the issue itself.

But finally, please note that NOT A SINGLE PENNY WILL COME EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE TO THE COFFERS OF THE SOUTHERN REVIEW; THIS IS SOLELY AN EFFORT TO GET MONEY TO STUDENTS IN NEED AND TO CELEBRATE THROUGH THE PAGES OF THE SOUTHERN REVIEW THE BEAUTY OF A COAST THAT HAS LARGELY BEEN LOST.

I know that to many out there this may sound like some sort of mercenary effort to advertise our journal and somehow to make money through the loss of others. Indeed, we will in fact be losing money in all this.

But you have my word -- Bret Lott -- that we will in no way profit from these mutually exclusive actions.

I know the outpouring will be a great one, and please know that we here at The Southern Review are prepared to handle the deluge of good will you are already sending our way. Thank you for reading all the way through this email, and thank you as well for what you have already done for the hurricane relief efforts.

Sincerely, and with thanks to all --

Bret Lott
Editor and Director
The Southern Review

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:35 AM

    Having already donated money, food and cloths to Katrina victims, can I ask you a question? The question was rhetoric I am going ahead and asking you the question. Why bother so much about Katrina. America is one of the richest countries in the world and definitely self sufficient. Having the advantage of living here I know the picture better. Because of the lack of governments planning and pathetic judgments of logistics, help was delayed and still is. With celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Kayne West joining hands, with people here raising awareness and money........I think you should do more for your country where you live in. Ironically I don’t see any of your posts in Dec-Jan to spread awareness and help people affected by Tsunami or help people of Mumbai slums displaced during recent heavy rains

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Anon,
    Why go anon? I don't bite ;-) Firstly, I don't do a thing for any country. What I do is for people. Have I always been generous? Nope. I go with my reaction to incidents. If an incident doesn't tug at my heart I do not do a thing.
    Secondly, the Tsunami thing was not written about because I was out there and when I got back, I didn't feel like writing... Contributions were made (corporate as well as personal) but I just didn't feel like writing about it.
    Thirdly, a post was put up about the Bombay deluge. I suppose you must have missed it! I did go to Bombay although I could only make it after the deluge and offered what I could during the rising epidemic in Goregaon area and a few others.

    Its not about whether a country can do it or not. If I had a neighbour there struggling to recover from something like that, I wouldn't go "Oh! Don't worry, America will take care of you." And your suggestion of working only for one's own country (and if that be extended to one's own state, city, community, suffering) might not have been the right thing to follow during the Tsunami.
    So I don't care whether someone else can handle something better than I can. I go with the flow of what I feel like doing. For all you know tomorrow, Oxfam might turn out to be a scam. Bad luck!

    I have been associated with Oxfam for a while and Oxfam has been sending its mails regarding donations requested for several purposes. I usually do not like contributing to an organisation as I am not sure how they mobile their resources. Even for the Tsunami victims, we bought supplies rather than giving money. But this one caught my attention. Simple.

    But one point that you raise is valid. A currency unit would go a greater distance in our own country than in places like America and hence, it makes sense contributing to such efforts in our respective countries... Like ProjectWhy... Point noted.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Madhu2:14 PM

    I am newcomer to the blogworld. Interestingly, I chanced upon all your blogs from Agnibarathi's article on Lasya. That, incidentally, is the name of my special one too. I hit upon the article while googling. then one thing led to another and I bumped on to your site.

    I visited the blogs of most of his friends and yours. feel free to convey this message to AB, I miss that link.. he writes well too, esp the Lasya one. Gets arbit and loses focus in a couple of places, but great piece overall. Arjuna, Subha, Girl interrupted, vatsa, vivhyd, doodles, RS, priya, bharath etc... visited many of them, out of sheer curiosity.

    What compelled me to write to you is:

    I simply liked the punchline on top of your blog site, the couplet titled "Like a feather...". Is it from a poem we know or is it your composition? Pardon my ignorance.

    Also, i liked your article on elevators. Hilarious, I must admit.

    I wonder if my job would permit me to blog, but, it definitely is a wonderful world. maybe I would someday, and maybe would meet you again.

    I may not share your altruistic and spiritual pursuits, but there is a burning desire to know more.

    To be fair on my part, here is my mail id in case you want to write to me.

    *********@***.***

    Cheerio!
    Madhu

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear M,
    Welcome. I chose to edit your email ID, in order to avoid tantalising people/bots from spamming your inbox...

    "Like a feather..." is not from any poem or any printed/communicated source I know of. By couplet, do you mean what is written below the blog's title?

    Welcome to this blog. There are some very good blogs that you should/could read like Lapsus Linguae (preferably read the older ones) or F3G (Ammani's blog) or Name of the Rose (if you can handle such variety of artistic pursuits!!). They are all linked on my blog. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous3:00 PM

    I mean the couplet written below the blog's title.
    Succint and superb, boy!

    M

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's Madhu again!

    Here is something I got over mail, but could not verify the veracity of. Since it is related to your article on Katrina, you should be interested to read on. Maybe, you could corroborate or feel otherwise. either way, read on...I don't know the character who has signed under this note, it was a much forwarded message. Got it through one of my yahoogroups.

    The following email I received (I am not vouching for the exact facts) is an eye opener. Dubya (otherwise called George Bush) could be browbeating other countries, but when it comes to his home affairs, he is zero. When Maharashtra CM Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh compared Mumbai and New Orleans, the mandarins in India cried foul and said the CM is playing dirty in a calamity.

    PS: Some of our members from US can give the exact details of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans.

    Quote:
    "Rain in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina... 18 inches
    Rain in Mumbai (July 27th).... 37.1 inches

    Population of new Orleans... 484,674
    Population of Mumbai.... 12,622,500

    Deaths in New Orleans within 48 hours of Katrina...100
    Deaths in Mumbai within 48 hours of rain.. 37.

    Number of people to be evacuated in New Orleans... entire city.. wohh
    Number of people evacuated in Mumbai...10,000

    Cases of shooting and violence in New Orleans...Countless
    Cases of shooting and violence in Mumbai.. NONE

    Time taken for US army to reach New Orleans... 48 hours
    Time taken for Indian Army and Navy to reach Mumbai...12 hours

    Status 48 hours later... New Orleans is still waiting for relief, army and electricity
    Status 48 hours later.. Mumbai is back on its feet and is business is as usual

    USA...world's most developed nation
    India...third world country......."

    oops... did I get the last fact wrong???"

    chittur venugopal

    Cheerio!
    Madhu

    ReplyDelete