Sympathy Is Not Enough For Katrina Survivors
:: Thursday, September 01, 2005 ::
If they didn't die during Hurricane Katrina itself, they are now. And worse, the scope of devastation is so beyond what most people ever dreamed would happen in the mighty USA, that in the end, even here, large numbers will die because help will not come in time.
I have to admit that I'm unable to concentrate on work today. It's been difficult all week. Now CNN is showing images of people who are dying because of no medical care, water, food and inhumane living conditions most of us wouldn't submit our pets to live in.
Pathetic. The US Federal Reaction
How is it that planes and helicopters came quickly after the Tsunami to drop supplies in fields and towns in an effort to keep people alive until more help could come?
How can it be so easy to fly US planes over enemy territories to drop pamphlets of propaganda for our side, and yet no attempt has been made to communicate with the people struggling after Hurricane Katrina? They think the whole world has forgotten them. They don't have TV, phones or radios to let them know that corporations are gearing up to send milllions in aid and supplies, and they must not lose faith.
From where they sit, surrounded by trash, starving and frightened children and dying people, I don't blame them for feeling completely abandoned and furious enough to act out violently.
This is the US Government in action. This is how it cares for its own people in an emergency situation. Yes, it can send billions in aid to other countries. That's an easy task requiring a few phone calls and a $100 official pen to sign the papers. But, it can't get people out of a Superdome in a city. That, I'm afraid, requires more thought. It requires more than "We send our sympathy" messages from President Bush.
By dropping the gas tax right now, Americans could afford to caravan to disaster areas and bring in aid on their own. In bad snowy winter storms, where I live, the call goes out to anyone with an SUV who can volunteer to drive in doctors and nurses to the hospitals, and yet there was no such thing planned for this major disaster? Did they really believe roads, bridges and rails would survive "The Big One"?
Washington politicians, who are paid the big bucks to solve problems and make rules, seem to not understand the urgency of this disaster. Their bathrooms have maids to clean up after them. Their conference rooms are air conditioned. Lunch is around the corner. Their spokesmen come on TV to say they've sent "28 rescue teams", as if this could possibly be enough. They tell us things like 20,000 National Guard have been dispatched, as if this could possibly be enough.
I agree that there is no point in assigning blame. But when President Bush and his people fly over these areas, are they also dropping down food or is this just another public relations peep show?
Discrimination in Action
Before Katrina hit, I watched footage on TV where lines of people were waiting to get into the Superdome. These were the people from the inner city who couldn't afford their own cars and relied on public transportation, which was useless in a pending emergency. Obviously, the great minds who were paid to think about evacuation plans didn't account for what happens to those who rely on public transportation. I knew right away what was going to happen and later that night I remarked to my husband, "All the poor people from the city are going to be ones who die in this." Katrina hadn't even hit land, but I knew what would happen to these people and I began to grieve for them.
Sometimes in my dreams, I'm able to fly. I'm sure this has happened to many of you too. My body can do things it can't do when I'm awake. (It also looks much younger.) I can't describe how frustrating this is to not be able to fly right now. I wouldn't have to wait for airspace clearance and I would fill my arms full of water bottles, baby bottles, toothpaste, and I'd fly a million trips.
For every segment CNN shows of the severe suffering in New Orleans and elsewhere, there follows a rush by the Federal Government to respond with numbers and statistics intended to promote themselves and market their efforts. CNN responds next with images of a dead woman in a wheelchair pushed against a wall at the Convention Center, with another dead body covered in a white blanket lying near her. Which one do you believe is having more effect?
When the folks from New Orleans were waiting for permission to enter the Superdome or taken to the Convention Center, they trusted The Plan. They trusted they would be cared for. They never thought that some of them were walking to their deaths.
They are the statistic nobody wants to talk about yet.
Sometimes It Is Important to Write and Not Hold It Inside
But, of course, this blog is my vent and for every rant I have, there is someone else who is sending donations, creating fund drives, and rallying those who want to help in any way. Which is all great, and will be wonderful when someone figures out how to get this aid to the people, many who are still days and days away from rescue, waving white flags on rooftops.
Help isn't coming fast enough and yet I know there are millions of Americans just like me who desperately want to get to these people just as badly as those suffering want us to help them.
For now, I will fly to them in my dreams and bring an army of Angels with me.
:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 9/01/2005 01:20:00 PM
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