Community Comment

The Grapes of Wrath Revisited?

A family flees a military offensive in the Swat valley approach in Dargai, located in the Malakand district, about 100 miles northwest of Pakistan's capital Islamabad. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed
(May 15, 2009) Reuters
 (The Spokesman-Review)
A family flees a military offensive in the Swat valley approach in Dargai, located in the Malakand district, about 100 miles northwest of Pakistan's capital Islamabad. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (May 15, 2009) Reuters (The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning, Netizens...


Having been an avid fan of John Steinbeck's writing for decades, when I first glanced at this picture this morning, my mind warped back to Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and the Joad family fleeing the Dust Bowl for the promise(s) of a better life in California.


Granted, the truck is a little newer than the 1920's model from the award-winning movie that featured Henry Fonda, but sure enough, there is Granny sitting on the back of the truck as they weave their way across the sand-blasted sered desert looking for shelter. If you close your eyes and screw your face up a bit, you can easily imagine the dangers that the Joads faced in the eyes of Steinbeck being reincarnated in Pakistan today. The only difference between then and now is the camp guards now have automatic weapons and mine fields surround the work camps.


Still, there is that indomitable will to find a safe place to call home, where food is plentiful and the next generation of children can safely grow up carrying their family's history in their hearts. Somehow I wish Steinbeck were alive today, for I know in my heart of hearts he would see the sadness, the pageantry and the strange beauty of the desert and these families seeking a place to live, again and again.


Like the Grapes of Wrath, as the story unfolds in Pakistan, it, too, would become an award-winning novel and perhaps then with learning would come compassion for these people.


Dave






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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.







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