An American Pieta
photo by Bruce Chambers, Orange County Register
The picture is horrifying, but it is beautiful because it represents a miracle of survival. A miracle which would have slipped away if members of the California National Guard hadn't disregarded FEMA orders and broken into Edgar Hollingsworth's New Orleans home.
He lay on his couch for almost three weeks, going in and out of unconsciousness. His faithful dog sat at his feet, in forlorn hope that his master would get up and feed him, or maybe just pet him. He had apparently not eaten or drank for days.
He is now in the hospital. Maybe he will recover. However, he's 74 years old and has been starving and dehydrated. His chances aren't so great.
Let me refresh your memory about what Michaelangelo's masterpiece looks like:
And let me reacquaint you with the words attributed to the man in the sculpture:
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:34-40, KJV
I know I've been quoting a hell of a lot of scripture lately for an unbeliever. However, I was on the other side for a while, and in times like these the sickening hypocricy of the G. W. Bush administration and the readiness of them to quote scripture for their purposes makes me want to cram this down their throats.
If you know your Christian Bible, you know that the next words of Yehoshua ben David took this beautiful picture and twisted it 180 degrees around, where the damned, the "goats," were pitched into Hell because they wouldn't do what the true believers had done throughout their lifetimes. Inasmuch as thou hast fucked over the least of these my brethren, ye have fucked over me. Maybe it's not exactly what he said, but you get the idea.
I hope this man survives. I don't believe in an afterlife, but if I did I could see this guy testifying against Dubya and his buddies before the Great White Throne. And I can hear the judgement now..."depart, ye sinners, into the place God hath made for Satan and his Angels..."
A disaster of Biblical proportions, indeed.
Note 9/21/2005, 6:40pm: Edgar Hollingsworth didn't make it. He died a few days ago and was buried yesterday. Details here, including Flash-delivered video.