There are five degrees between them (Mosul, Iraq, is North of Cocoa, Florida), but down by the waterside the lush, green vegetation looks the same in both locations.
In Mosul there is plenty of Attitude: families who’ve taken refuge on the East side of the city, crossing the pontoon bridge over the River Tigris, returning to the bomb-ravaged West, determined to salvage something from their former existence.
And who could blame them if the TV or cooker they struggle back with, came from the remains of their neighbours’ home, ’stead of what’s left of their own?
On the side of the city that remains habitable, increased demand for accommodation means that landlords are doubling the rent. Beyond the boundaries, another tent city springs up – ready for refugees-in-their-own-country.
Here in the cradle of civilisation, there are children who’ve clearly seen too much and others who seem unmarked. Was it just the accident of where they happened to be, or that some families had more to fall back on, or whether the struggle to survive each day provides sufficient urgency, or if they are young enough to see themselves in the future/a future for themselves – which?
In Cocoa there is excessive Lassitude: five youths hanging out in the long grass, smoking……and filming a drowning man.
There it goes again, the little black blob of his head, up above the flat-calm surface and then down below with a spluttering cry.
Snickering and name-calling, as if the drowning man (Jamel Dunn, 31, disabled, heavily tattooed) is losing face instead of his life.
Here in the crocodile of civilisation, did you feel like gods laughing at the puny struggle of a mere mortal? And if that’s how you felt, why use the phone your filming on to dial 9-1-1?
‘Never in my life would I ever have thought we would need a law to make this happen,’ the Mayor of Cocoa said. Of course he’s correct.
But unadulterated youth can afford to be implacable as nature: it represents a future which others are destined not to see.