Friday, September 02, 2005

Third world within the first world

New Orleans is a disaster area right now. Yes, that's right, a major city in the wealthiest country in the world is in dire need of assistance. It is estimated that thousands have died. Probably just as many are missing.

And yes, it is a natural disaster that could not have been prevented. However, that does not excuse was in which man-made forces exacerbated the suffering. The vast majority of those stranded during the hurricane were poor and black. They were unable to leave. For one thing, it is criminal that poor people in large American cities are so disproportionately black. For another, the lack of US government help that was offered to help those stranded is appalling. It was too busy cleaning up Bush's mess in Iraq.

The result was looting and shooting. This was reminiscent of the LA riots of 1992, after the Rodney King verdict. Reminds me of the Tracy Chapman lyric

Give him drugs and give him candy
Anything to make him feel happy
And he won't ever come for us
But if he does
And if there's no one else around
Bang Bang Bang
He'll shoot us down

This is a wake up call to those who fail to address the causes that led to the human scope of this disaster. Is anybody listening?