Sunday, September 04, 2005

He lacks the words

From today's Observer, Richard Ford writes an elegy for New Orleans:

In America, even with our incommensurable memories of 9/11, we still do not have an exact human vocabulary for the loss of a city - our great, iconic city, so graceful, livable, insular, self-delighted, eccentric, the one Tennessee Williams believed care forgot and that sometimes - it might seem - forgot to care. Other peoples have experienced their cities' losses. Some bombed away (by us). Others gone in the flood. Here now is one more tragedy we thought, by some divinity's grace that didn't arrive, we'd missed. But not. Our inept attempts at words only run to lists, costs, to assessing blame. It's like Hiroshima a public official said. But, no. It's not like anything. It's what it is. That's the hard part. He, with all of us, lacked the words.

You know (for a moment) I thought he meant Fallujah.


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