Thursday, September 15, 2005


Hurricane Katrina exposed the underbelly of life in America. The response to the horrendous devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina delineated for all the world to see the real America that so many of this nation’s people experience on a daily basis. Those individuals who did not have the economic resources to leave the city on their own power (a majority of them being black) were so horribly neglected and shamefully treated by those in power that it was a stark reminder of the extent of corruption in government and the brutality of those who see themselves as worthy of special treatment. The events that surrounded this disaster make it terribly clear that racism and extreme prejudice is never far from the surface in American life.

Two profoundly important examples make this assertion abundantly clear. First, not only was the conditions within the Superdome deplorable beyond measure, but the National Guard, fully armed, was used to prevent the evacuees from leaving; they in fact became inmates in a prison like no other. Their crime was the fact that they were poor and mostly black. To quote an eyewitness, “The Superdome is patrolled by more than 500 Louisiana National Guard, many of whom carry machine guns as sweaty, smelly people press against metal barricades that keep them from leaving, shouting as the soldiers pass by: "Hey! We need more water! We need help!"

Secondly, according to a United Press story entitled, Cops trapped survivors in New Orleans (Sept. 9, 2005), an important escape route from the devastation across a major bridge over the Mississippi to the town of Gretna was blocked by police officers. These officers, obviously acting on orders, physically prevented people from crossing that bridge using gunshots to dissuade them. According to this report, "Louisiana police chief has admitted that he ordered his officers to block a bridge over the Mississippi river and force escaping evacuees back into the chaos and danger of New Orleans. Witnesses said the officers fired their guns above the heads of the terrified people to drive them back and "protect" their own suburbs.”

Chief Lawson told UPI news agency: "There was no food, water or shelter in Gretna City. We did not have the wherewithal to deal with these people. If we had opened the bridge our city would have looked like New Orleans does now - looted, burned and pillaged." Gretna is a predominantly white suburban town of around 18,000 inhabitants, and it seems that in the aftermath of Katrina, three quarters of the inhabitants still had electricity and running water.

These appalling and shameful events show America without its veneer of progress, without the flag waving, without ebullient speeches regarding the benefits of freedom and democracy, without the hollow words spoken by the demagogues that claim to be our leaders. We live in very upsetting and troubling times in which the powerful rule and the real issues that plague our nation continue to be ignored.

The president, if I can in all honesty call him that, is supposed to speak to the nation regarding “his vision” of what is to happen in regards to the reconstruction of New Orleans and the surrounding devastated regions. I suspect that, like what we have witnessed in Iraq, this supposed reconstruction will favor the affluent and represent yet another transfer of public monies to the private sector. We shall see.

1 comment:

jayeye said...

I am beginning to wonder if anyone really reads these blogs.

I do.

This is my comment to your blog. New Orleans and the crisis that occurred during hurricane Katrina was not racism, it was classism.

The Mayor of New Orleans is black but he has not been interested in spending the money on getting the levees done as long as he got his "pet projects" passed for New Orleans. He probably has stashed a good portion of the money that the state appropriated to get the levees reenforced. Studies and committee costs, travel to view other levees and construction of other alternatives.

The sight of the Mayor, George Bush, and the Governor of Louisiana in that large military vehicle riding through New Orleans recently was ridiculous.

You can tell that each one of them thinks they are above all of this situation. They have no loved one or friend that is suffering, only constituents that suffered.

Look at how the media have talked about the Senator from Mississippi losing one of his homes in the hurricane. Can you imagine, one of the rich Congress members Trent Lott lost one of his homes on the Mississippi coast. Can you imagine what this house looked like? It was probably oppulent as are the lives of all of Congressional members and their close friends that help them get re-elected each term.

Our government is suppose to be our security net. We pay taxes for it to have an infrastructure in place for us to drive our vehicles, gas for us to use in our vehicles, food available for purchase, free market system to create a business, free press for information flow, a strong military in case some other country or entity tries to attack us and the agency in place to help in a national emergency.

What I want to say is our military and security for our borders and our country is in Iraq. To spread democracy? I don't think so....We may never know the real reason the Bush administration could not wait to attack Iraq. Is it to gain a strategic locale in the Middle East?

Do you realize we Americans have enough food produced in this country to feed everyone but for some reason the government is not coordinating re-distribution to get this food processed and directed to help feed the poor of our country?

Instead the ones in charge throw money at the problems hoping they will go away. $2000 for everyone that showed up and registered at the dome during the hurricane. Can you imagine what the majority of those people will do with this money? They will buy all of the wrong things such as tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, junk food, gasoline, things that you can do without. This is money thrown at people that chose to live below sea level in New Orleans and not leave when a hurricane is bearing down on the coast.

A black mayor that did not have a clue how to feed and hydrate the tens of thousands that showed up at the dome in New Orleans. A member of the upper class of blacks in New Orleans he does not have a clue about the poor. The upper class white governor certainly has no idea about the poor people of New Orleans and the President is all talk and no DO when it comes to funding programs that help the poor and underpriviledged. His "no child left behind" program was never funded completely, anywhere in this country.

Neither party deserves our support. Neither party has the majority of people's interest in mind when enacting legislation and law. They all believe they are above most people. They don't live in the vulnerable areas and those that have multi-million dollar mansions on the coasts of this country have enough insurance to replace them or relocate them.

Class warfare is in this country's future much like it was in the earlier days of England when certain classes owned property, others worked for them.

They do not believe that the majority of the people have a clue as to how things should be run in this country.

Pity is they are correct in their assumption. Not many Americans understand what is going on in Washington. Just let me live my life, have my shopping, have my entertainment, have my transportation and I don't care how you run things. That seems to be the general attitude of most people.

That is when a country can be taken over by the bad guy and all us good guys get screwed. You turn your back for one second and the world changes without you knowing it. Guess what, the Patriot Act I & II have been enacted along with a bill to restrict your right to go bankrupt but made it easier for a company such as Delta to do it. Another bill restricted your right to comparison shop for drugs and get the best prices for your medication. All the while marketing a card you have to buy that gives you a discount on drugs bought from certain companies.