New Orleans

It’s hard to know what to say about the tragedy in New Orleans, now into it’s fifth day.

It’s hard to believe that thousands are suffering and dying in what is supposed to be a wealthy, advanced nation. It’s hard to understand why many went on the rampage piling on the misery. It’s hard to understand a lot of things here. Why people didn’t leave when they knew days before the scale of what approached. Would I have? I don’t know. Then again of course is the fact that for many people, the poorest, they simply couldn’t get out.

I wonder what was going though many viewers minds as they watch the 24 hour news channels (which I mostly don’t see).

What would happen to my community if it happened here?

Media coverage has been mixed. The BBC did a rough assessment of world tabloid commentary with some interesting opinions here. Some blame America’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty, some blame the President himself. All agree that they are amazed at what has happened and the response of the people and the government.

As day 5 has come and gone, the Federal Government, From Mr. Bush down are being roundly criticised, and New Orlean’s Mayor Ray Nagin grows increasingly tired and emotional, clearly frustrated at what he (and many others) see as an almost unwillingness to help the mainly poor people left in drowned New Orleans.

“I don’t know whose problem it is, I don’t know whether it’s the governor’s problem, I don’t know whether it’s the president’s problem, but somebody needs to get their asses on the plane and sit down the two of them and figure this out, right now.”

At a fund raiser, rapper Kanye West claimed the issue was racial, repeating a question many have made of media coverage:

“I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they’re looting. See a white family, it says they’re looking for food.”

That comment, though it went out live on the East coast, was deleted from the recorded West coast version.

As the tragedy goes on, all I can say is that I hope the weak and desperate find safety, that these morons who went on the rampage and cost lives find justice, and that somehow they manage to rebuild their lives and their city. As for the politicians, well, I agree with the Mayor of New Orleans:

“This is ridiculous. I don’t want to see anyone doing any more goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city and they come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops which we can’t even count.”