Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

New Orleans crisis shames Americans

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • New Orleans crisis shames Americans

    New Orleans crisis shames Americans
    By Matt Wells
    BBC News, Los Angeles

    At the end of an unforgettable week, one broadcaster on Friday bitterly encapsulated the sense of burning shame and anger that many American citizens are feeling.

    Downtown New Orleans, near the Superdome
    Flood victims were left virtually to their own devices for days

    The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better.

    It has been a profoundly shocking experience for many across this vast country who, for the large part, believe the home-spun myth about the invulnerability of the American Dream.

    The party in power in Washington is always happy to convey the impression of 50 states moving forward together in social and economic harmony towards a bigger and better America.

    That is what presidential campaigning is all about.

    But what the devastating consequences of Katrina have shown - along with the response to it - is that for too long now, the fabric of this complex and overstretched country, especially in states like Louisiana and Mississippi, has been neglected and ignored.

    Borrowed time

    The fitting metaphors relating to the New Orleans debacle are almost too numerous to mention.

    First there was an extraordinary complacency, mixed together with what seemed like over-reaction, before the storm.

    Flood victims walk the street in front of the Convention Center in New Orleans, 1 September
    The city's hurricane shelters grew increasingly filthy and crime-ridden

    A genuinely heroic mayor orders a total evacuation of the city the day before Katrina arrives, knowing that for decades now, New Orleans has been living on borrowed time.

    The National Guard and federal emergency personnel stay tucked up at home.

    The havoc of Katrina had been predicted countless times on a local and federal level - even to the point where it was acknowledged that tens of thousands of the poorest residents would not be able to leave the city in advance.

    No official plan was ever put in place for them.

    Abandoned to the elements

    The famous levees that were breached could have been strengthened and raised at what now seems like a trifling cost of a few billion dollars.

    The Bush administration, together with Congress, cut the budgets for flood protection and army engineers, while local politicians failed to generate any enthusiasm for local tax increases.

    Too often in the so-called "New South", they still look positively 19th Century

    New Orleans partied-on just hoping for the best, abandoned by anyone in national authority who could have put the money into really protecting the city.

    Meanwhile, the poorest were similarly abandoned, as the horrifying images and stories from the Superdome and Convention Center prove.

    The truth was simple and apparent to all. If journalists were there with cameras beaming the suffering live across America, where were the officers and troops?

    The neglect that meant it took five days to get water, food, and medical care to thousands of mainly orderly African-American citizens desperately sheltering in huge downtown buildings of their native city, has been going on historically, for as long as the inadequate levees have been there.

    Divided city

    I should make a confession at this point: I have been to New Orleans on assignment three times in as many years, and I was smitten by the Big Easy, with its unique charms and temperament.

    But behind the elegant intoxicants of the French Quarter, it was clearly a city grotesquely divided on several levels. It has twice the national average poverty rate.

    The government approach to such deprivation looked more like thoughtless containment than anything else.

    New Orleans under water
    It will be many weeks before the flood waters are cleared

    The nightly shootings and drugs-related homicides of recent years pointed to a small but vicious culture of largely black-on-black crime that everyone knew existed, but no-one seemed to have any real answers for.

    Again, no-one wanted to pick up the bill or deal with the realities of race relations in the 21st Century.

    Too often in the so-called "New South", they still look positively 19th Century.

    "Shoot the looters" is good rhetoric, but no lasting solution.

    Uneasy paradox

    It is astonishing to me that so many Americans seem shocked by the existence of such concentrated poverty and social neglect in their own country.

    In the workout room of the condo where I am currently staying in the affluent LA neighbourhood of Santa Monica, an executive and his personal trainer ignored the anguished television reports blaring above their heads on Friday evening.

    Either they did not care, or it was somehow too painful to discuss.

    When President Bush told "Good Morning America" on Thursday morning that nobody could have "anticipated" the breach of the New Orleans levees, it pointed to not only a remote leader in denial, but a whole political class.

    The uneasy paradox which so many live with in this country - of being first-and-foremost rugged individuals, out to plunder what they can and paying as little tax as they can get away with, while at the same time believing that America is a robust, model society - has reached a crisis point this week.

    Will there be real investment, or just more buck-passing between federal agencies and states?

    The country has to choose whether it wants to rebuild the levees and destroyed communities, with no expense spared for the future - or once again brush off that responsibility, and blame the other guy.

    E-mail this to a friend Printable version
    Make America Great For Once.

  • #2
    A genuinely heroic mayor orders a total evacuation of the city the day before Katrina arrives, knowing that for decades now, New Orleans has been living on borrowed time.
    Yeah, heroic. He's done nothing but bitch since this happened. Could have been a leader - instead he's been finger-pointing since day one.

    Worst possible city for this to happen to give the high poverty rate and inadequate/corrupt public officials, police, fire, and emergency services.

    Moon

    Comment


    • #3
      Call it what you want, it was ethnic cleansing on American soil.

      Unforgivable.

      GWB is lucky he can't run again, I could probably beat him if he could.
      Official Lounge Sponsor of:
      Brett Hull & St. Patricks Day

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Moon Man@Sep 3 2005, 05:50 PM
        A genuinely heroic mayor orders a total evacuation of the city the day before Katrina arrives, knowing that for decades now, New Orleans has been living on borrowed time.
        Yeah, heroic. He's done nothing but bitch since this happened. Could have been a leader - instead he's been finger-pointing since day one.

        Worst possible city for this to happen to give the high poverty rate and inadequate/corrupt public officials, police, fire, and emergency services.

        Moon

        The photo of all of those buses siting in flood water speaks in massive volumns for this mayor's planning.
        Make America Great For Once.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The Kev@Sep 3 2005, 06:53 PM
          The photo of all of those buses siting in flood water speaks in massive volumns for this mayor's planning.

          But where were they gonna' go?

          The people made it to the Superdome, which is about the only place the schoolbuses would have taken them.
          But wait. There is something that can be done afterall. My good friend Angelo is a cop in the Tampa/Clearwater area. Since I kept all of the files from the access logs when I had the power to see them, guess what, I have everyone's IP addresses. Hmm..what can I do w/ those??
          ...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by The Kev+Sep 3 2005, 06:53 PM-->
            QUOTE(The Kev @ Sep 3 2005, 06:53 PM)

          • #7
            Originally posted by BlueBrained@Sep 3 2005, 05:52 PM
            Call it what you want, it was ethnic cleansing on American soil.

            Unforgivable.

            GWB is lucky he can't run again, I could probably beat him if he could.
            Did the black mayor help plan this, or is he an Uncle Tom?
            RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
            You'll never be forgotten.

            Comment


            • #8
              Call it what you want, it was ethnic cleansing on American soil.
              I'm going to bookmark this one for December.

              It's a new front-runner for Dumbest Post of the Year.

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by The Skeptic@Sep 3 2005, 06:37 PM
                Call it what you want, it was ethnic cleansing on American soil.
                I'm going to bookmark this one for December.

                It's a new front-runner for Dumbest Post of the Year.
                ++
                Official 2014-15 Lounge Sponsor of Jori Lehterä
                "He'll Finnish You Off"

                Comment


                • #10
                  Believe what you want but if NO would have been a city with a white majority help would have arrived faster.
                  Official Lounge Sponsor of:
                  Brett Hull & St. Patricks Day

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by BlueBrained@Sep 3 2005, 06:54 PM
                    Believe what you want but if NO would have been a city with a white majority help would have arrived faster.
                    Sure...
                    RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
                    You'll never be forgotten.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by BlueBrained@Sep 3 2005, 06:54 PM
                      Believe what you want but if NO would have been a city with a white majority help would have arrived faster.
                      I dunno Blue.
                      I suspect had they been richer they may have, regardless of race.
                      I mean, switch Atlanta and NO and I suspect there's more relief at a faster clip.

                      Plus I still suspect there's certain members of the government whose...shall we say religious idealogies, made them less concerned about getting there ASAP.
                      "Whaddya mean I hurt your feelings?"
                      "I didn't know you
                      had any feelings"

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Believe what you want but if NO would have been a city with a white majority help would have arrived faster
                        .

                        I'm going to bookmark this one for December.

                        It's a new co--front-runner for Dumbest Post of the Year.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by The Skeptic@Sep 3 2005, 07:04 PM
                          Believe what you want but if NO would have been a city with a white majority help would have arrived faster
                          .

                          I'm going to bookmark this one for December.

                          It's a new co--front-runner for Dumbest Post of the Year.
                          Bookmark whatever you want, tell me I am dumb, give me the dumdest post of the year award. I could care less, at least I am not blind.
                          Official Lounge Sponsor of:
                          Brett Hull & St. Patricks Day

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by SunuvaNun+Sep 3 2005, 07:02 PM-->
                            QUOTE(SunuvaNun @ Sep 3 2005, 07:02 PM)
                          Working...
                          X