After having the day to reflect on what Mr. Maurice van Es did, I have come to terms with a few important things about what happened in the Union Beach Photos and Misplaced items on Facebook. I do not still understand what Maurice van Es thought he was doing with the photos. I am dumbfounded as to what his insight could possibly be into the photos. That yes survived Sandy. But that is the end of his insight.
The editor for the reporter Jakob Schiller called me irrational. Funny how you are irrational when you don’t agree with someone. I could call the editor irrational because he disagreed with my point of view however, I am sure he is a rational man. I am sure if and when he has a family tragedy or natural disaster and something happens to him or his family he will still believe that as an editor the public has a right to know no matter the situation. I do not wish ill harm on the man or his family but karma is a witch that loves to rummage.
He also thought we could come to a mutual agreement. Which meant that I would agree with his point of view? I understand fair use however; here is what I don’t get. Fair Use, if wired.com came to the wix.com page or the Facebook page and took photos, totally get fair use. However, Maurice van Es took the photos without the knowledge of the families or me. He represented himself as the person that scoured 100’s of social media sites to find these photos. Two sites website for Union Beach Memories (photo gallery taken down) and the Facebook page (photos removed). If he looked at the other projects that are happening apparently Union Beach Memories is a gold mine for him.
The editor (wish I could remember his name) for wired.com also told me that I am no better than Maurice van Es because I stole the families’ photos. I never stole the family photos, I gathered, I climbed through muck, I searched in public locations. I left the photos at the police station and the firehouse so families could freely get the images back. I never went behind the families back. Every step of the way, families in Union Beach knew what my intentions were and what I was doing. Unlike Maurice van Es, I never hid what I was doing. I was upfront and honest. If a family asked me to remove a photo I did it. Families have repeatedly requested Maurice van Es to remove the photos from his website for the past 2 days.
Maurice van Es was a member of the group on Facebook. When he joined, I wasn’t sure why he joined but I thought being an artist, maybe he was here to help the families. Maybe use his skills to retouch a photo, call upon his friend to help. That was the naïve me.
My community has been through hell and back. Maurice van Es was a member of the Facebook group, he never participated in the group more lurked and removed what he wanted. If he had taken the time to read the page, he would have seen the heartache and stress the families were enduring. This did not matter to him or wired.com. He had free access to the families. If he truly believed he had good intentions, why didn’t he just ask the families? He could have explained what he wanted, asked the family and life would have rolled on. He could have shared what he had done in the group, however the families didn’t find out until I broke the news to them yesterday after the final “irate” conversation with wired.com. The families are upset. They don’t know why Mr. van Es picked their photos. All they want is answers. Answers, Mr. van Es is not willing to give.
removed himself from the group only after doing damage. As indicated all the photos are down. We as a family, a community will determine what we will do to keep the project going. We will not post photos publicly again.
Maurice van Es has remained silent about his intent about the project. He hasn’t tried to clarify what he wanted to do. He hasn’t apologized or even acknowledged the families. Mr. van Es
What is more insulting is the Mr. van Es was in the group when the firestorm happened when the families’ photos were removed from the town. Union Beach residents were violated by Sandy. They are stressed, tired of fighting FEMA, insurance companies and struggling to survive. As a town we are thankful beyond words that volunteers are helping the community. But sometimes the volunteers over step their bounds and remove photos. When that happens we feel as if someone is violating us again. If Mr. van Es even remotely cared about the families we would have understand the passion and determination that Union Beach residents felt about their photos.
At the end of the day, this whole mess could have been so easily resolved is Mr. van Es would have been upfront and honest with the families. They may have embraced his thoughts on the photos there could have been a great exchange of ideas. However, Mr. van Es crossed a line that should never be crossed when it comes to survivors. Taking control away from the survivor when they are in survivor mode is dangers. We have so little control so we fight our hardest and loudest when we feel threated. And the little we hold sacred was taken. We are raw. We are emotional. We are burdened beyond belief with things that only other natural disasters survivors can begin to understand.
Survivors of natural disasters are tired of being taken advantage of. When our lives were in shambled we were front page news – we were news worthy. As recover started and our towns were knocked down one by one we stood tall and became the symbol for strength on the front page. Six months later we are yesterday news so we get buried back in the community section. Recovery is no longer news worthy because everyone thinks things are “normal”. If normal meaning being apart from your children, parents, living in mold infested homes, living with no heat and watching your neighborhood one house at a time turn to rumble, yes we are the new “normal”.
Union Beach is a friendly, caring and compassionate town. Mr. van Es isn’t seeing that side of us because he kicked the hornets’ nest and ran away. If he wants Union Beach families to forgive him, he needs to apologize for taking advantage of them at a time of need. He needs to explain what he thought this would do for survivors.
All the families are asking for is Respect. Is that too much to ask Mr. van Es? Is it too much to give? It cost you nothing to say “I was wrong, please forgive me!” and what you gain is a community that could forgive you. You can do it, if you really cared. If not, than you are a man with no integrity and I feel sad for you. A man without integrity can never be truly happy and healthy because things weigh you down.
I apologized to the families for my part and asked for forgiveness. I have to face my family/ community daily. My community is forgiving but you need to come to them for the forgiveness. You have to accept the consequences of your actions. If not, as I said, I am sad for you.