Katrina - A Storm of Injustice
"This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans." Terry Ebbert, head of New Orleans homeland security
"We go now...by the smells, just like the dogs." Doug Cope, search team manager, Pass Christian, Mississippi
All around the ravaged south they're looking for survivors and finding dead bodies. But in New Orleans, there are thousands of survivors -- virtually being left for dead. The images are haunting, and more, they're disturbing. Because most of those trapped in unspeakable conditions are black.
Matt Stamey, The Courier
We look at the photos, the video clips, the news reports and we're outraged. Our sense of anger and distress as viewers puts the very real rage and frustration of the actual victims in immediate perspective.
Eric Gay, AP
We don't treat animals they way these people are being handled. Except, in fact, we used to, back in the days of Slavery. And the scenes of black people, herded as they are into domes and busses, are far too reminiscent of slave auctions.
Phil Coale, AP
That isn't a football game, it's a sea of mostly black and poor humanity left behind in chaos because they had no money, no transportation, no help to evacuate. Like most of us, I hope, I'm doing what I can to help. But no matter what we do as individuals, it will literally take an army to provide the enormous amount of care the victims of Katrina need.
And where is America's home army, the National Guard? In Iraq and Afghanistan, some argue. That's true for a large number, but as we hear about troops still mobilizing from various staging areas in Florida, Maryland and around the country here at home, you have to ask: what the hell have their leaders been waiting for? And what in God's name are they afraid of? Is it possible that a few hungry, dehydrated, exhausted, desperate black refugees with handguns in storm ravaged New Orleans, LA, USA are more threatening that hundreds of fanatical terrorist warriors armed with bombs in Iraq? So it would seem.
I'm having trouble dealing with what I saw and heard this morning on the Today Show: NBC photojournalist Tony Zumbado reported how one helicopter dropped some pitifully small supplies without landing, as he made a live plea to the National Guard to bring more to the New Orleans Convention Center, promising it would be safe to land helicopters. The people won't hurt you, he explained, they just need food and water. "Three people died while I was there videotaping. It is the saddest situation I've ever seen, considering that we've covered hurricanes, understanding that this great nation knows how to take care of their people and ... yet 4 days later, nothing."
In describing some conditions too grisly for the networks to air, Zumbado said, "Half of the things that I videotaped I knew they were questionable, but it had to be documented so no one could ever say 'that wasn't the case.' "
I hope all news outlets are doing the same. When the finger pointing, revisionist recountings and Congressional hearings start in 6 months or a year, irrefutable evidence of the real sequence of events will be critical. And the biggest issue, sadly, has come down to black and white.
"Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response. I'm not saying that myself, but what's self-evident is that you have many poor people without a way out." Jesse Jackson
Those people in line have a way out. They're waiting to buy gas for their SUV's. It's striking to note that they are all White.
The stink of politics around Katrina already is beginning to rival the stench of sewage and dead bodies. The president flies into the South like Superman, and presto, truck convoys arrive at the New Orleans Convention Center. Are we really supposed to believe George W. Bush had a direct hand in that? Give me a break. Even if he did flip the switch, where the hell was he--and that convoy--4 DAYS AGO?
The smartest thing President Bush has done so far is to put these two guys in charge of fundraising. Too bad neither one is controlling FEMA. I have my issues with both men, and Bush Senior learned his lesson with Ivan, but frankly either one could do a better job than our current president is doing now.
Labels: Hurricane Harangues