First days of the rest of our lives: As the domestic situation moves from Houston on toward Beaumont, the New York Times has published a companion report from the flooded lands of South Asia.
In hard copy, it's the featured news report in the Times' International section. On line, the report is accompanied by a wealth of dramatic photos.
Texas flooding dominates cable news in this country. These descriptions from South Asia sound eerily similar to the situation in Texas, which now seems to experience a hundred-year storm every six months or so:
GETTLEMAN (8/30/17): More than 1,000 people have died in floods across South Asia this summer, and as sheets of incessant rain pummeled the vast region on Tuesday, worries grew that the death toll would rise along with the floodwaters.These descriptions and comments sound very familiar. Reporter Jeffrey Gettleman doesn't try to analyze the possible role of climate change here. We'll only suggest, once again, that these may be the first days of the rest of the entire world's lives.
According to the United Nations, at least 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal have been directly affected by flooding and landslides resulting from the monsoon rains, which usually begin in June and last until September.
And while flooding in the Houston area has grabbed more attention, aid officials say a catastrophe is unfolding in South Asia.
[T]he rain keeps coming.
On Tuesday, Mumbai, the sprawling financial capital, was soaked to the bone. Nearly all day, the rain drummed down. As people scurried up the sidewalks, the wind tore umbrellas out of their hands.
The sky seemed to fall lower and lower, pressing down on the building tops, cutting visibility to a few blocks, then a few yards. By midafternoon, it was so dark it felt like nightfall.
The monsoons have battered Bangladesh as well. A low-lying and densely populated country of 165 million, Bangladesh is chronically ravaged by flooding. This year’s monsoons have left roughly a third of its terrain submerged.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent said on its website that more than eight million Bangladeshis had been affected by the flooding, the worst in 40 years. At least 140 people have died, and nearly 700,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.
Corinne Ambler, a Red Cross spokeswoman in Bangladesh who had just taken an aerial tour of the devastation, said she was stunned.
“All I could see was water, the whole way,” she said in a telephone interview from Dhaka, the capital. “You have tiny little clumps of houses stuck in the middle of water.”
After visiting some of the afflicted villages by boat, she said that many Bangladeshis had told her, “We’re used to flooding, but we’ve never seen anything like this in our lives.”
A final thought:
At times like these, liberals and Democrats don't need to find ways to serve the nation our own scripted twaddle. We need to do what we've barely attempted to do in recent decades, as the music men, hustlers and con men have taken control of the discourse:
We need to find ways to inform the public about the many, many ways they, and we, are constantly conned—about climate issues, for instance.
Despite our tribal love of the practice, we need to stop insulting people. We need to start looking for ways to show The Others the various ways they've been conned—the ways they've been conned by the people they trust, as We increasingly are.