what eyes don’t see

what eyes don't see.png

by Mona Hanna-Attisha about flint.. et al





this is the story of the most important and emblematic environmental and public health disaster of this young century. more bluntly, it is the story of a govt poisoning its own citizens, and then lying about it.. it is a story about what happens when the very people responsible for keeping us safe care more about money and power than they care about us, or our children..

but this is a story about a deeper crises we’re facing right now in our country: a breakdown in democracy; the disintegration of critical infrastructure due to inequality and austerity; environmental injustice that disproportionately affects the poor and black; the abandonment of civic responsiblity and our deep obligations as human beings to care and provide for one another..  along w all that – which is a lot already – it’s about a bizarre disavowal of honesty, transparency, good govt and respect for scientific truth.

those are demoralizing realities to face. but there is another story.. another side of flint… because it is also a story about how we came together and fought back, and how each of us, no matter who we are.. has w/in us a piece of the answer..


while charges have been brought against some of the individuals who were culpable, the real villains are harder to see.. because the real villains live underneath the behavior, and drive it..t


the real villains are the ongoing effects of fascism, ineq, greed, anti intellectualism and even laissez-faire neolib capitalism..  thees villains poisoned flint w policy..t

too much

resilience isn’t something you are born with.. it’s learned.. resilience is the key, the deciding factor between a child who overcomes adversity and thrives and a child who never makes it to a healthy adulthood.

just as a child can learn to be resilient.. so can a family/neighborhood/community/city/country..


a country.. can become a place where poverty is silenced instead of people..

begs mech to listen to all the people.. every day.. as it could be..

where healing begins

roots of healing

1 – what the eyes don’t see


this is what drew me to pediatrics – we pediatricians are at the pivotal intersection of clinical care and prevention.. frederick douglass: ‘it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’ .. walk into the adult floor of a hospital any day, and you’ll see beds of patients w problem like diabetes or heart disease that can’t be fixed, because to do that you’d have to time travel back to their childhoods and fix those too..t


1 yr to be 5


as much as i love spending time w kids and seeing one little patient at a time, i wanted to have as much impact as i could – on as many lives as i could – so right from the beginning, i made a tactical decision to be a med educator rather than a pediatrician in private practice..

imagine impacting 7bn .. w a means to leap to a nother way to live


dh lawrence: ‘the eyes don’t see what the mind doesn’t know’


community pediatrics is meant to widen the focus of pediatricians beyond whatever is immediately visible.. (ie: nosebleed, ear infection).. beyond common fevers/colds, many children are facing other struggles

navy seals and other special ops medic train in flint because the city is the country’s best analogue to a remote war torn corner of the world.. compares badly not just to rest of country but to neighboring communities.. median household income is half the michigan average.. and poverty rate is nearly double..  a kid born in flint will live 15 yrs less than a kid born in a neighboring suburb..  in a country riven by inequalities, flint might be the place where the divide is most striking..  this is why the routine work of pediatrics – immunization and well baby care and the rest – is not enough for a child in flint. our children need much more than routine primary care just to get an even shot at the rest of their lives..t

equity: everyone getting a go everyday

maté trauma law

healing (roots of) – maté basic needs law


poem from 1938 ‘a worker’s speech to a dr‘.. which lays out the stakes better than i ever could: ‘when we’re sick, we hear you are the one who will heal us. when we come to you.. our rags are torn off and you tap around our naked bodies. as to the cause of our sickness.. a glance at our rags would tell you more. it is the same cause that wears out our bodies and our clothes..’

physicians need to be trained to see symptoms of the larger structural problem that will bedevil a child’s health and well being more than a simple cold ever could.. but these problems are harder for even a well trained physician to id.. a child doesn’t come to my exam room for ‘food insecurity’.. ‘can’t make ends meet’.. when we know about the child’s environ.. we can treat these kids in the best, most holistic way..

let’s go even deeper..healing (roots of) – maté basic needs law

no need to even ask what’s wrong.. just ask.. what are you curious about.. rather.. just listen to each heart.. everyday .. as it could be..


we are looking for the larger factors in the child’s world that can impede development and diminish an entire life.. this is the most important concept in pediatrics and public health today..t

ie: 2 needs.. 2 missing pieces (1 and 2) .. imagine focus ing on just that.. for 7 bn people..

ie: 2 convers.. as infra

we may not be able to give every child a happy, healthy , and safe childhood – though we should keep trying

no child left

but we can mitigate the effects of adversity and toxic stress by building resilience..  resilience is learned..

upside of stress

my pediatric residents.. watch tutorials on brain develop and impact of toxic stress from harvard’s center on developing child and watch nadine burke harris’s tedmed



but it’s important and much more galvanizing if they see it first hand in community where our children live.. so at beginning of community pediatrics block.. residents go on a tour of the city and learn he history of flit, .. they record the number of blighted neighborhoods, liquor stores, neglect playgrounds, and boarded up schools…. curriculum includes webinars on race and health..  socioeconomic and racial disparities in healthcare…

what if what we need more (than people knowing more things about what is based on whales in sea world).. is a reset.. to just all be set free.. imagine the energy of 7bn alive people.. getting us back/to meadows undisturbed ecosystem


mayor dayne walling switching the water source ..april 2014..  i had no reason to suspect that the agencies we’d entrusted to look after our water weren’t doing their jobs. we were in america, not a developing country, it was the 21st cent. and flint was literally in the middle of the great lakes region, the largest source of freshwater in the world. why doubt the safety of what was coming out of the tap?

2 – the bbq

3 – the valedictorian


i know lead. all pediatricians know lead. it’s a powerful, well studied neurotoxin that disrupts brain development. there is truly no safe level..t


lead exposure is known as a silent epidemic because there are no immediate signs of it.. t.. but once it was in her bloodstream, the lead would enter redblood cells and wreak havoc, interfering w the mitochondria, the part of the cell where energy is produced..  it would go on to disrupt the formation of the dendrites, disturb the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers, and interrupt the way hemoglobin carries oxygen thru nakala’s body.. it would settle in her soft tissue and her bones, where it would crowd out calcium..


lead exposure can cause swelling of thee brain, headaches, lethargy, anemia, dizziness, muscular paralysis , sleeplessness, loss fo appetite and abdominal pain… can affect vision and hearing.. in extreme cases.. can cause kidney failure, coma and  death

for infant.. or 2 yr old.. enough exposure can mean developmental delays, cognitive impairments – literally a drop in iq.. as well as memory issues, attention and mood disorders and aggressive behavior

lead exposure in children causes an erosion of gray matter that makes it harder to pay attention regulate emotions, an control impulses..  like x men.. except victims aren’t getting superpowers.. being taken away

4 – haji

5 – red flags


what he discovered (marc edwards – macarthur genius grant for his research 2008) confirmed his worst fears. as many as 42 000 children in dc had been in the womb or under two years of age when they were exposed to harmful amounts of lead in drinking water from 2000 to 2004. the effects were irreversible – and almost impossible to prove.. no proof.. no blame..t


proving lead had harmful and lasting effects on specific children in dc was harder than proving that tobacco causes cancer.. went unchecked.. no one when to jail.. no one lost their job


water. it is the most essential substance on earth. 75% of bodies.. and an ever bigger % of baby’s body.. it helps maintain body temp and blood volume.. it removes waster, lubricates joints, protects tissues..

 6 – first encounter


it made no sense that communities w the most struggles and most poverty – and therefore the most health issues – were always allocated the last amount of money, but that was how it worked.. since the property tax revenue was smaller in poor counties.. similar w school funding

when city doesn’t generate enough tax revenue because property taxes doesn’t bring in enough money the poor people who live there are punished w higher utility bills.. very regressive thinking, asking poor people to pay a higher share of their income than other residents for basic public health protections like water or adequate plumbing.. the avg annual flint residential water bill in 2015 was 864.. about 300 more than any other city in michigan.. in fact.. highest in nation

inspection and lead abatement was more money than govt wanted to spend.. so instead, we offered mops and cleaning supplies..

(in meeting w health dept guy and confronting him about flint water.. he said.. water is not a part of his dept.. lead paint/dust was.. but lead in water ..have to go to another dept for that

too much

7 – miasma


it’s been only fairly recently, over last couple of centuries.. that govt became involved in protecting the health of citizens


a century ago the biggest threat to life wasn’t cancer or heart attacks – it was infectious disease..

cholera .. quickly evacuating all fluid form body.. in a matter of hrs after contracting disease, the victim often dies.. in 19th cent.. then water system spread disease.. london’s first outbreak 4736 dies.. 17 yrs later.. 2nd outbreak 1849.. 14 137 dies.. 3rd outbreak 1854 in crowded neighborhood.. 10 530 die..

john snow doubted the prevailing ‘miasma’ theory that cholera was spread by breathing stagnant air.. snow thought it to be unsanitary drinking water.. but few drs in london at the time felt comfortable bucking consensus.. and politics played a part.. miasma was the established theory..


if it weren’t for snow’s science, stubbornness, persistence and passion for truth, cholera might have raged on for another decade or more.. when i think about snow.. what has always grabbed me most.. is the way he insinuated himself into the epidemic.. nobody hired or paid him .. or even asked him.. to solve this epidemic.. but he had a crucial tool at his disposal, epidemiology, and a problem right in front of him… in his own neighborhood, and that was enough for him to get started..t


rather than standing on the sidelines, snow got passionately involved. his work wasn’t about abstract scientific discovery alone. it was about people and community. that’s what science is supposed to be about – not an academic exercise for the ivory tower, or racking up publications, grants, and offers of tenure.. it’s about using the tools/tech available to make lives better, no matter what articles of faith obstruct the path..t

i love stories about people who can- simply by being persistent, methodical, and dedicated – change the trajectory of a life or even an entire population and generations to come


paul shekwana… distant cousin.. 1904.. contribution of journal article.. urging all drs to wash and disinfect hands throughout day..

8 – no response


it was bad enough to take on a county health dept, but now i suspected that my battle might be much bigger, taking on preconceived notions and established dogma in the entire field of public health..  it was incredible how little impact the dc crisis had..

9 – sit down


autoworld ‘s first attraction upon entering the theme park was a history lesson: jacob smith.. the man who bought the land that became the city of flint from the ojibwa tribe in 1819. interestingly, smith married an ojibwa woman and lived w her people as an ojibwa himself.. but the exhibit completely ignored the darker tale of the treaty of 1819 and subsequent treaties that forced native americans off their land and pushed them into canada.. i guess historic crimes and ethnic cleansing would have ruined the theme park vibe..  park only lasted a matter of months

indigenous peoples


the next thing i remember about flint was michael moore’s career making doc.. roger and me..  1989.. almost everyone got behind the way he went after roger smith, the ceo of gm, for closing the flint plants..



the years after the doc – the word flint alone came to stand for the ravages of deindustrialization..  what happens when giant corp abandons workers and outsources jobs and installs robot on assembly line..

in med school.. did my clinical training in flint.. i was fed up w bad press.. depressing stats..  i came to flint for its hope.. but also for its lessons.. both terrible and beautiful..  flint from its beginnings has been a place of extremes.. where greed meets solidarity .. bigotry meets fairness.. and where the struggle for equality had played out..

as soon as ojibwa natives were unceremoniously driven off.. flint was center of fur trading and lumber.. this led.. to manufacturing carriages.. which led to manufacturing of cars.. gm traces its roots to a carriage factory built in flint in 1880.. first foray into cars in 1908 w opening of a buick factory..  1913.. chevy..  at one time gm’s original buick plant was the largest factory in the world..


the boom continued, fueled by ww2.. gm built tanks.. bombers..

immigrants from europe and middle east..moved to michigan’s industrial centers..  between 1915 and 1960 more than 6 mn african americans  hoping to escape jim crow in the south came north for those expanding employment opps..  many drawn to flint..  even though hiring/working conditions of the auto industry were unjust..


while schools were segregated..at least the ones in flint were some of best in country.. via charles stewart mott..gm’s largest share holder.. until 1960s did community schools.. integrated recreation, health, et al..


(after talking about successful worker strikes): it was in flint that the middle class, and some would say the american dream, was truly born

governor frank murphy.. was called a new dealer before there was new deal.. during his 2 yrs as governor (1937-9) murphy defended autoworkers during the sitdown strike and supported recognition of the uaw – grew from 30 000 to half a mn during his term alone.. (united auto workers)


the (house of un american activities) committee blamed murphy for michigan’s ‘state of anarchy’ and flint’s city manager accused him of treason

murphy’s vision of a just world caused him to lose his bid for reelection, but the strength of his conviction s and leadership placed him in national positions almost immediately..  ie: us attorney gen.. us supreme court.. championing outsider, underdogs, minorities and he underserved..

10 – jenny & the data

11 – public health enemy #1


to my mind there is no greater public health villain – lead (via reading about kettering) (white lead noted for tis sweetness, which is why lead paint tastes good to kids.. et al)


given the rejection of lead in 1922 by most of the world, it’s kind of amazing that just a year later it was added to gasoline in america.. it was heralded as a giant tech break thru ‘a gift from god’.. it’s funny how we talk about ‘unleaded’ gas now as if lead were a natural component of gas and removing it required a complicated chemical process.. maybe even at great expense..

the reason (lead added to gas).. to stop engine knocking.. an annoying noise in early car engines that occurred when the mix of fuel and air burned unevenly.. according to gm legend, it took kettering a decade of intense experimentation to find his anti-knock compound..  the health hazard of tel (tetraethyl lead) was no secret..  fat soluble and easily absorbed by the skin.. even tested by us war dept as a nerve gas.. just 5 tsp applied to healthy skin could be fatal.. (alts like ethanol could not be patented and profited from)


in oct 1924, noxious fumes poisoned and killed workers in a section of a standard oil refinery in new jersey where the new gas w tel was being made.. several exposed workers were straitjacketed after exhibiting paranoid behavior, experiencing delusions and becoming violent.. when the first death occurred – 17 people died in all – the local district attorney called for an investigation .. for remainder of 1924 and most of 1925.. debate was one of sharpest of the early century..


alice hamilton – when she was offered a position at harvard med school in 1919 she was the foremost american authority on lead poisoning.. and one of only a handful of specialists in industrial disease.. but when harvard offered to hire her as its first woman prof.. it made three stipulations 1\forbidden to enter the faculty club  3\ no tickets to football games  3\ not allowed in commencement procession..

she took the job anyway..


(on kettering vs hamilton – rather lead vs health) ‘safe until proven dangerous’ became known as kehoe’s paradigm or the kehoe rule. the approach was later taken by climate change deniers

the costs of the surgeon general’s decision have been incalculable.. by 1960 almost 90% of all gas contained tel.. by 65.. the avg american had 100x more lead in her body than her ancient ancestors did..


we know lead’s potential to twist behavior, attack every system in the body, erode cognition, and possibly even warp one’s dna


decrease in elevated blood lead levels.. good.. but perceived ‘victory’ cans..  create new problems.. pediatricians thinking it’s over ..just because can’t see it in icu.. it’s in paint chips (lead was required in public housing until 1978).. worse in summer when heat makes lead dust rise.. it’s in soil.. from car fumes over the years

but in all my training and clinical care, both in pediatrics and in public health.. and in all my work in communities disproportionately impacted by lead .. i don’t recall ever hearing about the possibility of lead in water.. never.. not until the summer of 2015..t


the dc crisis had come and gone and .. suitably covered up.. i didn’t know lead was in pipes.. and kitchen faucets..  even ‘lead free’ brass could contain up to an avg of 8% lead until 2014 when regulations changed again..

the poisoning can affect so many systems of the body, it’s hard for drs to diagnose..   miscarriages.. harm to young development


despite the well documented history and science of lead in water, the issue remained underground and out of sight.. yet unlike any other form of lead exposure, lead in water impacts a much younger and much more developmentally vulnerable age group..  even more insidious than lead in paint, lead in water – colorless, odorless, and invisible – is meant for ingesting..t

if children who have an empty stomach or are deficient in certain nutrients are exposed to lead, their bodies will absorb more of it

12 – what field are you on

13 – environmental injustice


we knew that lead was more prevalent in poor and minority communities and thus lead exposure exacerbates our horrible trends in ineq and the too wide racial ed gap.. shifts entire bell curve of intelligence.. adding more people w severely reduced intellectual capacity but also reducing the number of exceptionally gifted people

well.. exceptionally gifted is all of us..

15 – poisoned by policy


(on pediatrician meeting not being bogged down w bureaucracy).. we don’t just treat children’s bodies – we fiercely protect their potential..


(mark – her brother – who’s field is working w whistleblowers): ‘this isn’t about what happens to you if you do something. this is about what happens – or doesn’t happen – if you don’t do something’..t



it wasn’t a choice really. i was ready to do whatever was needed..

exactly how i feel.. at the marc level.. and beyond water..

16 – shortwave radio crackling 


almost nothing was written about saddam hussein in the us media in the 1980s. saddam was considered a friend of the reagan admin even though his brutalities and murders were well-known abroad.. during the iran iraq war 80-88, the us actively supported saddam w intelligence and food credits and also allowed iraq to buy high tech equipment for chemical weapons..

the truth is oil made iraq a prosperous ally in the middle east, and saddam’s anti communist zeal blinded europe and the us to his true nature.. this outraged my dad and fed the fire in him..


saddam had spies and agents in the us, people who could hurt us, but that never stopped my dad either

i was 11 or 12 when he showed me photos from the genocide of halabja in s kurdistan..  saddam ramped up his attack to chemical weapons..  7 or 8 iraqi warplanes dropped bombs of poison on residential area of halbja.. killed people immediately.. others were burned and died slowly and painfully. as many as 5 000 civilians were killed and another 7-10 000 were horribly injured.. the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian population in history.. an entire city was poisoned.. that was the first time i saw a dead child..

mark and i grew up quickly that way. we understood that leader could be dangerous..  that injustice must be challenged..  we were taught not to look away.. t


overall the 1990s were a time of pointless misery, when tens or even hundreds of thousands of iraqi children may have died..  left me wondering.. if leaders of my adopted home cared about kids at all..

we knew how lucky we were. and we knew how bad things could be.. challenging injustice means standing up for the weak/vulnerable/abused/forgotten..  be it in health, employment ed, or the environment..

how about all of it.. ie: soul and world peace

17 – meeting the mayor

18 – aeb


down deep, something else was eating away at me. aeb. it was difficult to describe w/o using the imprecise word shame.. it was not just an iraqi thinking; it was an arabic thing. it was the idea that you were never acting independently of your family or larger community.. .. there were always repercussions.. if you behaved badly or strayed even a little bit from the accepted norm, you would bring shame not only upon yourself but on your people. there was nothing worse..


aeb is used to keep people in line, particularly kids and particularly girls. anything could be aeb.. getting in trouble in school.. not going to church.. being gay.. wearing skimpy clothes.. whatever…


i hate aeb. it’s a debilitating an ugly concept. i try not to conform..  the concept of aeb was deeply ingrained in us.. my mom still talked about aeb. my dad did too. aeb is the reason i started eating meat, so i wouldn’t insult elliott’s mom.. it’s serious in our culture.. and hard to ignore..

i thought about the press conference, the public release of my research.. i thought about getting it wrong, embarrassing and shaming my family/colleagues/clinic/profession.. in such a public way.. that would be the most colossal aeb of all


but why does it have to be mona … bebe asked.. not somebody else..  because mona has the data. she has the proof. nobody else has done that.. she is a dr, a scientist, maybe they will listen..t


he saved the news about his homeland for the ending, a memorial space for those still in iraq, still suffering and in danger. we never wanted to forget them. as for us the message was clear: the hanna family had once lived in iraq.. we loved that place in the deepest part of ourselves.. and we were living w its loss w homesickness.. w disturbance w injustice..t

the loss only go worse after sept 11..  it hit us all, and it will go down as one of the modern world’s great evil acts. and then the lies of george w bush admin about iraq’a weapons of mass destruction, death, and suffering. some 5 000 american soldiers died in the iraq war, tens of thousands were injured, and an entire generation of soldiers will live w lifelong trauma


a great may more iraqis have been harmed or killed. since the 2003 invasion, according to the iraq body count website, some 268 000 iraqis have been killed by violence – most of them civilians – and as many as half a mn have perished in total, if all the deaths resulting from the war are counted..

in america, it’s easy for some to pretend that the suffering world is a mn miles away, on another planet, while we are safe and  innocent. but for me, the suffering world was etched in the sadness on my parents’ faces..t

now as the press conference loomed, i was beginning to see that my family’s saga of loss and dislocation had given me my fight – my passion and urgency..  it was what had led me to the after school meetings of sea at kimball. when i heard roberta magid’s dismay at what was happening to he planet, i had felt it too, because i grew up w dismay and knew how wrong leaders could be, how cruel and negligent..  they have to be held accountable, have to be challenged, because power corrupts, and our moral sensibility can be so dulled that we let atrocities happen right around us, unless we manage to stay constantly vigilant, sensitive, aroused, and ready to take a stand..

or perhaps.. ready to offer a global alternative.. because what we need most is  the energy of 7bn alive people.. to get us back/to an undisturbed ecosystem


i was drawing on something deep inside me. maybe it was the letters my mom received from jaji in baghdad, or the pictures i’d seen of the gassing of the kurdish babies.. maybe it was the tenacity and optimism.. strength and integrity of my dissident parents. maybe it was the inspiration of my heroes.. or maybe there was even something in my dna.. or maybe it was simply that i was a mom.. i cared about kids in flint as if they were my own.. i cared about injustice.. that’s all i knew.. that’s all i could think about.. that fueled me, drove me on, gave me a sense of commitment an dinner purpose.. all of me was in the fight now

a mom.. who’s seen too much to not.. i cared about all the people

19 – the press conference


i had been stalking and harassing the state health offices w concerns, inquiries, and warnings for weeks. nobody cared. nobody gave a shit. now suddenly i was in trouble for not being in touch w gov snyder directly.. you have to be fucking kidding.. they were trying to cover their asses in so may diff ways at once, it was stunning. and somehow it was all my fault..t

dang.. so resonating.. everywhere.. no..? too much ness


what do you do when the people at the top of the chain are doing nothing and every day counts..?..t

maybe it would have been easier for him and everybody else if i did that and stayed a good little pediatric residency director and waited for the proper authorities to come to their senses.. but that’s not how i see things..t

the world shouldn’t be comprised of people in boxes, minding their own business.. it should be full of people raising their voices, using their power and presence, standing up for what’s right.. minding one another’s business.. that’s the world i live in and that’s the world i want to live in..

i wondered if part of the pushback was about the 270 mn state govt approves for msu.. the power of money can’t be underestimated, ever.

20 – splice and dice


spliced and diced? there’s nothing worse to say about a scientific study or about a scientist.. splicing and dicing meant that i was knowingly lying..  felt like a public stoning

this implicated another scientific sin, one i was nakedly guilty of: my research had not been peer reviewed.. which was highly unusual. peer review is both an ancient and modern procedure, a way to legitimize research by independent experts prior to publication. but peer review can take months.. so i knowingly skipped that step..t

good on you.. peer review.. ugh.. too bureaucratic ..these days for sure..


it was academic disobedience and a risk to my reputation.. but urgency called for it.. the research was too important to wait another day..t


my fitbit recorded 200 beats per minute.. i never wore it again after that night..

the onus would be on me to keep fighting..

you don’t necessarily hear this part of the story often, but when you’re in the middle of a backlash, the psychological stress is extraordinary. the emotions are big, overpowering.. and they come as a total surprise..


i had wandered out of my league – and was not being ridiculed. i couldn’t imagine feeling good again, ever..

21 – numbers war


a new feeling was growing inside me. my despair was bein replaced w something else – a sense of strength and certainty. this fight wasn’t about me.. it had nothing to do w me..  it was about reeva and her sweet smile.. that look of trust on her face. it was about the way nakala’s fuzzy head felt in my hand.. and it was about jalen, who had pinkeye, and macy who told me at her 4yr checkup that she wanted to be 5yrs old.. . all the flint kids i knew and saw all the kids i’d ever known and seen, were pushing me forward, lifting me up.. this war of numbers and data was really about children..  for them i’d keep fighting and never stop..t


let the state ‘expert’ come after me.. try to destroy me w all their lies.. they were scared and negligent and arrogant.. they were incompetent, not me..


what we could do.. the burgeoning neuroscience in this area gave us the answer: the treatment was to build resistance..  ‘ecobiodevelopmental’ approach.. w short term, intermediate, and long term interventions that touched every level of a child’s life..

our science spoke truth to power. and now i wanted the science of child development to lead the way in our recovery..t

what if that needs whistleblowing.. even more so..?.. even more invisible to the eye..  ie: we don’t need early ed.. we need a nother way to live..

i wanted the most extensive and proven to work intervention available, regardless of expense.. my flint kids deserved this and more..

2 convers.. as infra.. in the city.. as the day..

best resilience: gershenfeld something else law.. to get to the energy of 7bn alive people

aka: an undisturbed ecosystem


wurfel stayed on message and continued to try to discredit me. w the release of my research, the water controversy in flint was reaching ‘near hysteria’ he said.. there it was again, the sexist hysteria, the word used against alice hamilton. i wore the insult like a badge of honor.. t

this today:

‘who hasn’t been called hysterical. It’s just a defence mechanism on their part.’ – Arundhati Roy https://t.co/VtrlEFdrOM

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/monk51295/status/1037056325794983936

‘We should be hysterical’ – Arundhati Roy https://t.co/AH41UNUyrk via @City_Press

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/alnoorladha/status/1037053221263429633


we wondered why the state didn’t send support, but then we realized that sending in relief at such a large scale would be an admission of blame..

so the stalling continued..

on hold ness

22 – demonstration of proof


finally i was having a p2p convo w another scientist and dr, discussing my findings and how i got there

someday.. god i hope

finally somebody was thinking about the science and methods instead of ridiculing me and calling me ‘unfortunate’ and ‘hysterical’

23 – all the things we found out later


having the study peer reviewed and published protected me from further criticism and laid the groundwork for more serious recognition of the crisis. it also gave me leverage when time came to talk about long term care and prevention



the outpouring was tremendous. but soon we’d need more than bottled water. we would need an investment in the tomorrows of our children.. knowing that some of the effects of lead exposure might not be seen for ten yrs or more..  rep kildee started talking about setting up a health fund of some kinds.. separate from the interventions that we were recommending

how about just setting up a healthy community.. via listening.. as it could be.. via the energy of 7bn alive people

suggested cities ness

25 – truth and reconciliation


michael moore ‘this is a racial crime. if it were happening in another country, we’d call it an ethnic cleansing’


how many african americans and others, are in jail for the most minor offenses.. simple assaults, minor burglaries, bail violations, drug crimes..  1 in 3 african american men will be incarcerated at some point in their lives. too many.. it’s racially driven mass incarceration. yet i won’t be surprised if relatively little jail time is served by anyone for the flint mess, even though it could measurably alter 8-10 000 kids’ lives..t


i’m wise enough to know wurfel and others got their marching order from higher up.. i also know that most people except for megalomaniacs like saddam hussein, don’t wake up in the morning say, ‘i want to poison thousands o f people’

jiahd et al

rather than seeking retribution or political advantage i decided to remain loyal to only one group: flint kids.. i will do whatever it takes to help them and to keep on helping them, even if it means working w people whose ideology and actions got us into this mess..t


(after flint 200 mn settlement and lots of firings) accountability is another matter. i dc it is what marc edwards hoped for but never received.. the dc water crisis took a decade to be resolved and unsatisfactorily: negligent and deceitful govt employees and water utility w execs never paid a price, were never charged w a crime, never even lost their jobs.. most of the children in dc who were affected – potentially 42 000 – were never compensated or even made aware of what had happened..


every day children are trapped and held hostage by bureaucratic governmental processes..t

too much ness.. for all of us

a nother way

we ran into the legendary water warrior erin brockovich..

26 – prescription for hope


moms are always right. every parent should listen to that primal instinct to protect their kids

see w heart


many families want to call it quits and leave flint.. can’t sell their homes, because the home values have tanked.. those who remain feel angry at everyone almost every day.. it’s a community wide ptsd. the mental health problems are no just as serious as the physical ones..


that’s not how it’s supposed to be. the dream shouldn’t have to come by way of a miracle..  it should come fairly to all and be big enough for everybody to achieve..  the environ shouldn’t be stacked against anybody, esp our kids. we owe it to them and to one another..

epilogue – haji and the birds


as it could be..

2 convers.. as infra

ie: hlb via 2 convers that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

the energy of 7bn alive people

undisturbed ecosystem

in the city.. as the day..

gershenfeld something else law


detroit lead water like flint..?

deray (@deray) tweeted at 6:13 AM – 30 Aug 2018 :
Drinking water to be shut off at all Detroit public schools https://t.co/FV1ppl4CE7 (http://twitter.com/deray/status/1035138481025175552?s=17)

CNN (@CNN) tweeted at 6:10 AM – 20 Sep 2018 :
At least 57 Detroit public schools have tested positive so far for high levels of copper, lead or both in drinking water https://t.co/yHkDMDvN2h https://t.co/boIxhyzIJb (http://twitter.com/CNN/status/1042747719259963392?s=17)