Rachel's Blog: Katrina

Thu, 08 Sep 2005

I wasn't going to say anything on my weblog about Hurricane Katrina and the unbelievable aftermath, and I'm still not sure that what I'm about to say will make a difference to anyone. Other people have written a lot, and written it better than I could. Making Light in particular have a comprehensive analysis going.

I think what instigated this post though was the realisation that, over a week after the storm, things aren't getting substantially better yet. Thousands of people stuck in a drowning city have been deliberately ignored by their government. Many have died unnecessarily.

Some have tried to evacuate on foot and have been forced back towards the city at gunpoint:
[Armed sheriffs] responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

There are stories coming out of communities forming and people looking out for each other, but you really have to look for them. They do not make for good (read: saleable) "news". But they do make for good news. I suspect that this is the vast majority of the experiences of survivors (who are not in the Superdome or Convention Center). At least that is what I have to tell myself to keep the nightmares at bay.

There are 295 million people in the USA. Imagine if they rose up against their government and its incompetencies, racism, "won't-do" attitude and carelessness.

There's a planet between me and my comfortable lifestyle and the inhumane conditions the residents of New Orleans now find themselves in. I wish I could physically help.