I have been reluctant to write about the disaster in New Orleans. I don’t really know what to say about this stuff most of the time, other than I send my condolences and I give money to the relief fund my union set up. This time I am speechless.
I have seen my country do a lot of crazy shit in my 24 years here. They have invaded other sovereign nations, and lied about the reasoning; fired thousands of workers in a giant union bust; attacked my friends and I for being true to ourselves; and on and on and on.
You would think my jaw would stop dropping … but it hasn’t. I am utterly shocked by my government’s ineptitude and callous toward the poor people of Louisiana. Why did they not come in and help sooner, and why was the help they provided so inadequate? How can our sworn third world enemy, Cuba, deal with huge hurricanes all of the time and not suffer the way we do?
Another great question is “why are they telling us to give to the red cross?” There is a government that I help fund, and it (the government) is suppose to take care of people when huge terrible things like this happen. But I think about it, and the catastrophe really is not the hurricane, yes it fucked a lot of things up, but the disaster is our response. We left people to rot and fend for them selves in a giant toxic waste dump.
I have one friend who was affected by the storm in the most real of ways. Her name is Sarah and she is a math Student at Tulane. She has a live journal that you can follow her story. Sarah, you know that if you need anything that we’ll do whatever we can.
On the point of looting, please read a comrade’s blog entry on the subject, it is right on. The notion of looting is so ridiculous to me, and yes I am sure there were a few idiots who stuck around to protect their lennox, but the reality it most people are starved, thirsty, and very desperate. Kanye West’s less than articulate point was important for people to hear. These people were not cared for, because this was a class issue and in the U.S. of A class and race go hand in hand. George W. Bush and the government does not care about black people, and it is why he was able to take more time off of vacation for brain dead Terri Schiavo, than thousands of poor black citizens of Louisiana.
The political punditry is already feasting off all of this, and analysis of how many GOP votes it is going to cost is trickling of the think tanks. That being said, there is even more of an affect happening. Both sides of the American debate stopped briefly and said “wow, our priorities are fucked up.” The National Guard is in Iraq, we can’t help our own neighbors and all we are told to do is give to private charities and keep our fingers crossed.
One of the most powerful scenes I saw though all of this was a young woman, about 13 in the superdome leading the chant “ Bring us help! Bring Us Help” it wasn’t “we want help!”, but a demand to the people who turned their back on them. A citizen should not have to demand help in this country, but I am so glad people are starting to do so.