Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This Spot on Earth

I made some toss-away comment today, in the car, about how this long/lat is the worst possible place to have built a city. Forget the rebels and the war. There’s the volcano, the earthquakes, and the poisonous gases beneath the lake. It’s just insane. You can picture Zeus up in his clouds, aiming his lightning bolt, one eye squinted shut for perspective, the other eye focused directly, harshly on Goma.

My supervisor responded that she loves this city. Why? Because they rebuild. Every time, after everything, people rebuild.

But I don’t know. I’m not convinced people rebuild out of love for the city. Maybe it's just simple, horrible necessity; or in the case of rebels and miners, greed. It’s a romantic notion: That people rebuild this city out of love. But the volcano is going to erupt again. And the lake may invert itself. And the tectonic plates beneath this earth’s rough surface will shift, wrecking havoc up here above. People will die. Schools will be destroyed. Health centers will burn beneath hot lava. Goma is anything but sustainable.

And then there’s the war.

And yet. This is the home of over 240 thousand people. It’s their homesweethome. Who deserves to judge that?