Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Less Unfortunate Casualties

In Puerto Rico — among Irma's less unfortunate casualties — the lights were out. In many places, so was running water.

Caribbean Devastated as Irma Heads Toward Florida (New York Times, September 7, 2017)

I guess the relativity of casualties is what is hard to handle
The "less unfortunate casualties" construction amounts to a great muddle
In context, I can sort of see where the writer was headed
But the more I think about it, the more confused I get

One is certainly fortunate to be injured rather than dead after an attack
Yet one is clearly unfortunate to have been attacked in the first place
On the one hand, a casualty is, by definition, unfortunate
On the other hand, we are full of concern for those less fortunate

How to distinguish between the typical usage of unfortunate
And the duty of care we always admonish for the unfortunate?
Thoughts and prayers should always go to the less fortunate.
But what of the reverse? What is due to the less unfortunate?

Those who ended up without lights were casualties, that we must admit.
There are gradations of fortune, it seems, a full spectrum of hardship
Harken to the circles of hell laid out in Dante's Inferno
And so we come, in this instance, to misfortune in Puerto Rico

Like mosquitos and other disasters, the hurricane didn't discriminate
The truth is, those who didn't have running water were certainly unfortunate
It seems a stretch to make a distinction between those without electricity
And those of the former group. Whither the less unfortunate casualties?

AnySlum, Accra


Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: November 30, 2021

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