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Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina

My heart really goes out to all those people living the disaster that is the Gulf Coast, particularly New Orleans. I can't imagine the fear and desperation.

BUT

For those who have been shooting at police
For those who have been shooting at rescue workers
For those who have formed gangs and are prohibiting others from leaving the Convention Centre, raping and brutally dealing with their neighbours
For those who have been ransacking stores of electronics equipment when you haven't a home nor electricity to use it
For those who use this time to not show how selfless you can be in helping your neighbours but let it show how truly callous and selfish you are

THINK

When 911 happened, the people of New York didn't pummel each other in an effort to escape the disaster. They picked up the strangers beside them who fell running away and helped them up, helped them to safety.

Why is this different? I know it's only a small portion of the population, but they are getting a disproportionate amount of coverage. And in the 21st century, more so than ever, the media is the message.

Is this different because you've no one to blame? There's no ominous shadowy figure dressed in a white robe and carrying a gun toward which you can focus your anger?

I have this awful feeling that there is an extremist somewhere, watching some TV, say, Al Jezeerah, and watching the conflict of man vs man in New Orleans, watching the anarchy descend. And this extremist points to the television and says: See. We knew it. They act just like the animals we said they were. Killing them is not killing a man, it is killing animals.

You're giving them a twisted justification for the murders they plan against you.

I know it's easy for me to sit here in a different country and voice my opinion. But I'm just telling you what it looks like from the other side of the neighbour's fence that we share.

I hope that order is restored soon. And not just because an extra 20,000 National Guard arrive. I hope that this small group realises that they are hurting more than their immediate neighbours, that this is a window that the whole world is peeking through. It'd be a shame to have come through 911 with bravery and compassion to fall apart now.


Anonymous iinaslip said...
Have you never done something you regretted later out of desperation or fear or rage?

I just want to state upfront that I am in no way condoning the actions of the people you mention, the looters, the thugs, the rapists.

But I think perhaps now is not the time to be shaming the citizens of New Orleans. I lived in Manhattan, not very far from the WTC on 9/11. Although there was an awful lot of destruction and loss of life, I went home and slept in my own bed that night. I had running water. And frankly, the amount of security that was in place later that day was stunning. No one knew what was coming next, but even though I am not pro-Bush by any means, I felt the government had our back.

The situation in New Orleans couldn't be more different. Wheras we faced destruction of several city blocks, the whole city of NO is unlivable. They are evacuating the entire city. I can't even wrap my mind around that.

Anyway, I don't think a bunch of New Yorkers, had they been stuck in a loosely-secured stadium with overflowing toilets and no water for several days, would somehow manage to be on their best behavior.

Also, I don't think anyone here cares about what Al Quaeda thinks of us right now... that would be pretty out of character for Americans anyway, right? But it might be a little optimistic to think that even if everyone were on their best behavior, that would mitigate the hate. You don't have to be Canadian to know it goes deeper than that.  

Blogger blondzila said...
I'm not meaning to shame the citizens of New Orleans. And yes, I know that New York still had running water, electricity etc. And have I ever done something I regretted out of fear or rage?? LOL - I'm bipolar: it's part of the diagnosis.

I'm also not saying that you should change your behaviour simply to mitigate the thoughts of a terrorist.

I'm just trying to voice my opinion of how the horrible events happening in your south look to me, from the outside looking in. The US was able to pull together, as you said, with stunning presence so quickly after 911. It seems New Orleans was nearly abandoned and now that the help is coming, for some it is too late.  

Blogger moodymicello said...
I think you said it well. It's what we look like too me and I'm not even a neighbor! As far as the violence and terror, I would imagine that some Al Queda member is perhaps taking the glory for stirring us with such terrorr that we are reacting this way out of fear. And we should care how we are perceived. I have a lot more to say so I'm going over to my blog as I was going to write something related myself...  

Blogger sansanity said...
i have a true belief that those who are doing such things ALWAYS did such things. but the rest of the world never cared before. now media attention is focused in that spot and people can see. in many poor neighborhoods, people are controlled by hoodlums. it's those hoodlums who are out and about now and feel like they have hit pay dirt.

why is 9/11 so different? because 9/11 affected an area where there were mainly professional and working class people, and those people had a better basic upbringing. in a time of hysteria their basic moral fiber kicked in. those looting (for things other than necessities) and raping have no moral fiber in the 1st place.  

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