The debacle of Katrina’s aftermath is beyond a tragedy- it is an absolute nightmare. No one needs to be convinced of that fact.
Man can only be so inhumane to man – the recent mass transit bombings in London, the shopping mall bombing in Israel, the torture at Guantanimo Bay, the trampling in Iraq and so on – before nature stops us and says, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
I see New Orleans not only as possessing life as valuable as any other, but also as having invaluable cultural capital.
New Orleans is one of the birthplaces of jazz and blues music, and is quite possibly the most isolated and unique culture in America propagated by Creoles and African Americans.
Therefore, you will forgive my macroscopic, anthropological viewpoint on all of this when I conclude that the government is taking part in blatant, institutionalized socioeconomic racism and bigotry, while the world’s eyes are upon them.
The kind of disregard, and sometimes even inhumanity, that supposed “relief” workers, national guardsmen and police officers are showing to these victims of a natural disaster, is simply horrifying.
Where does the buck stop? The President? No. He’s a dull, vacationing fool.
What did he do to help with this tragedy short of expressing halfhearted condolences and telling his self-appointed FEMA director that he was doing “a heck of a job?”
Kanye West made a point on a recent NBC Katrina Relief Benefit Concert that “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people.” The point is, he is right, and neither does the rest of the Bush administration.
An exception to this would be Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She looked haggard and distraught in a recent press briefing, and is actually showing the kind of empathy expected from a person who grew up in the South.
And if the lack of empathy and action from our government is angering, what’s worse are the affluent Americans watching from their homes (on their flat screen TVs) saying: “How could this happen in America?”
It happens every day in America and around the world on a smaller scale.
New Orleans was a gritty place where the city population was approximately two-thirds black and one-third below the poverty line. Now, thanks to Katrina and our government’s delayed response, that population is lower.
Paul de Revere is a sophomore newspaper journalism student from Tallahassee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.