Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina

I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the catastrophe in New Orleans, but while I’ve been thinking, most of it seems to have been said.

Our Swedish TV news let president Bush’s speech from today be illustrated by helicopter images of people running for their lives through the streets of a New Orleans in ruins. The contrast couldn’t be clearer as he said “…and we will show, once again, how the worst of times brings out the best in America…”

That is just the thing. I don’t hear about the “best in America” at all. The news’ stories are instead more about looting, racism and violence. It really shows humanity at its worst when there are people taking advantage of, rather than helping, each other at a time of crises.

It is difficult not to compare with the much bigger disaster of the tsunami in south east Asia, but only because that is the most recent nature catastrophe of magnitude I guess. Because the comparison stops there. For example 120.000 lives is a lot more than 10.000 even though both are scarily large numbers.

After the tsunami we heard about the world coming together to help, and even the day after we got stories about every day heroes rescuing strangers, caring for somebody else’s child minutes after losing their own and of people looking out for each other. I am sure that New Orleans also is full of heroes right now, and the world is coming together to help the victims, and I’m sure there are plenty of stories about heroes and humanity in the aftermath of this catastrophe. And yes, there where looters along the beaches of Thailand too, but as I said… It is difficult to compare the two.

Politically I place myself to the left of the scale, since human rights and solidarity with everyone is always at number one of my political agenda. That has also been my biggest concern about “the American Dream” as a political platform of some sort. If a nation is basically based on the belief that everyone’s in it on his own, then maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that evacuated homes are being robbed, people are shot dead and bodies robbed in the streets and half of the news being about the opposite of helping out, rather than anything else. But according to mr Bush, this disaster was supposed to show the rest of the world how united they stand and it was supposed to bring out “the best in America”. It seems to have brought out looters, blame that’s passed around tables and a lot of chaos.

Sometimes this planet is nothing but scary.

6 comments:

Mandy said...

Because I live in a cave with no cable, I am getting my news through blogs and word of mouth. Did you hear the one about Bush saying they don't need international aid? That they could take care of their own? How did he get to be president again?
BTW, a friend told me he heard the theory that things like shooting at rescue helicopters, etc. are probably being done by drug addicts that can't get their drugs now and are going insane detoxing. How terrifying that must be. (Not an excuse for murderous behaviour, but a scenario I would never have thought of.) Did you know New Orleans is supposedly the murder capital of the USA? I think a lot of scary shit happens there on a normal day too. :(

Peter said...

You might want to turn on the word verification function. It's located in the settings under the comments section. That way, you'll stop most of the SPAM (i.e. SMOG) from invading your BLOG.

Anyhow, years ago, I had a good friend in High School from your hometown. His name is Erich Tellow. What's the best way to find someone in your Hometown?

Dani said...

Indeed, it is scary right now. I have been avoiding any footage or news reports because I can't stand the hyperbole that abounds in times like these. I finally spent most of last night checking official sources (like CNN) and sources in the trenches (blogs and first-hand reports on Current TV). It breaks my heart, especially when I hear reports that people who want to help are having trouble getting through. The survivors in New Orleans must feel like caged animals.

porchwise said...

Where are all of those countries that are 'sending help'? Haven't seen nothing but the U.S. down there...much like every other disaster in the world, including India.

Spencer said...

Porchwise must only get American television, probably just FOX News.

There are several countries that have sent people and equipemtn or in the process of doing so.Many also offered and were refused by teh American government. Ie. the 1500 doctors Cuba wanted to send.

Same as in Indonesia and in India.

USA news people tend to not bother covereing them since the average American is assumed to not care about the rest of the worlds, and so only stories where Americans are somehow involved are covered.

Finding this fine blog by a CANADIAN knitter i hope will be an enjoyable first introduction to the international community that is the internet.

I suggest www.bbcnews.co.uk www.guardian.co.uk http://www.sky.com/skynews/home if you want to read more about all these non-Americans you haven't heard about.


There's over five billion of us.

Embarrassed Canadian said...

Well thereyou have it. Ignorance is also international. I got my blogs confused. THIS blog is a brilliant and beautiful and frighteningly intelligent SWEDISH woman. Not a CANADIAN knitter.

My bad.