Genocide in New Orleans

by Kirsten Anderberg Friday, Sep. 02, 2005 at 7:12 AM Seattle, Wa

I was seriously hoping that I would not have to write this article. But it
has been too long now, and I have to say something. Regardless of whether
the deaths en masse of poor black folks in New Orleans is due to neglect or
maliciousness, the end result is constructively a genocide on poor blacks in
America, right now, in 2005. The lack of aid to New Orleans at this late
hour (7 pm, Sept. 1) is not explicable. I have only one explanation that I
can muster up. And that explanation is classism and racism.
The reality is these refugees in New Orleans right now were already poor, so
that tells you how much the government cared about them BEFORE this
disaster. Why would you expect the government to all of a sudden, now,
prioritize the group they did not care about before, to the tune of
inadequate health care, inadequate and expensive housing, etc.? So this is
not a shock, I guess, that the American government is apparently going to
let poor black Americans die for no apparent reason, right on the nightly
news. They were already not caring about the health of these people, so I
guess they are still in that mindset.
Look, New Orleans is not on Mars. I cannot explain why military aircraft
carriers, the like we saw during the South Vietnamese evacuation in the
Vietnam War, are not landing in New Orleans and airlifting these folks out.
Are they all in Iraq or what? I also cannot explain why they are not, at the
very least, airdropping food and water onto the people in New Orleans, like
they did in Afghanistan after 9/11. These people are literally DYING because
America is not doing that! I cannot explain why they did not evacuate the
New Orleans jail until AFTER the disaster, either. The many, many ways that
the American government has now jeopardized the lives of poor black
Americans in this Katrina disaster has literally scared me to death, as a
poor person. I feel very strongly that if those were middle class white
people stuck in those conditions in New Orleans right now, that relief would
have come days ago. For some reason, just as the cops let L.A. burn in the
Rodney King riots, this smells of racism to me.
New Orleans is not even a day away from the West Coast. I cannot explain why
it is taking days to get help to those people dying down in New Orleans
right now. But I remember when I was in the Northridge Earthquake in 1994,
that the white middle class people had all the water they could use from the
national guard, while only a few miles to the south, the mostly Hispanic
communities, were standing in lines for hours in the sun to get only 5
gallons of water. My son and I drove up from the San Fernando Valley into
the Santa Clarita Valley in 1994 after the quake collapsed our apartment,
after seeing block-long lines at stores for water and long lines at high
schools and parks with National Guard trucks giving out water to anyone with
a 5 gallon container. When we hit Santa Clarita, there were cases of bottled
water at every I-5 off ramp, with military personnel just sitting there,
waiting for these middle class families to drive up. When I hit the Santa
Clarita Red Cross, they also asked me to take some water off their hands,
unloading a few cases of Evian water into my trunk! They had a surplus. I
asked both the military and the Red Cross to please load the water up and
drive just a bit over the hill where the water was desperately needed. And
they refused. Maybe that story is a microcosm of what is going on here in
New Orleans right now. No one wants to drive over the hill with supplies?
I cannot explain why there is not at least food and water for the people we
are seeing suffering in New Orleans, and the idea there is no landing strip
is not true. I have seen flat lawns with massive people littered on them, I
have seen abandoned highway strips that could sustain a landing, and I am
sure if you told the refugees if they move out of the area for the plane to
land, they will be airlifted out, they would cooperate right away!
I have watched insane police hold machine guns to the bodies of mothers
carrying clothing out of department stores on TV news. I saw the cops force
the mothers to drop the clothing, with his gun in her chest, and she dropped
the clothing, and it floated away. A pure authoritarian waste. Even Nazi-ish
in nature! I saw police allowing their own into stores for food, but holding
the people back from the same luxury, calling poor blacks desperate for food
and water "looters" while the cops do the same exact thing and are NOT
called looters. I would assume some cops are gonna die if they keep trying
to act like this. I see America fueling a heavy crisis in New Orleans, then
blaming the refugees for getting desperate. Just as it is in the Middle
East, if people were fed by American government, instead of patrolled and
pointed at with guns while hungry, things will be safer for all.
The racist cops of L.A. used the Rodney King riots to validate some kind of
weird racist theory that blacks are violent and riot. But that is bull. The
movie "Trading Places" with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd is a beautiful movie
about this idea where you drive someone to desperation then call them
criminals. My friend was cleaning pools in Beverly Hills during the Rodney
King riots and she said there was a cop car on every block. But when she got
into the lower income areas, a cop could not be found. So, from my own
disaster experiences, I guess the class/caste separation of even disaster
rescue in America is obvious and dominant.
I just told my 21 year old son that he is watching a genocide of people in
America right now on TV, as this is what this feels like to me. I have heard
NO logical argument as to how on earth those people could still be stranded
in New Orleans. It is not Mars. This is ridiculous. And it has become
obvious this delayed response in New Orleans is fueled by classism and
racism, unless the U.S. government can spit out some logical explanation,
but I have not heard one yet. New Orleans is a scene of constructive
genocide right now on America's poor blacks, and I do not know how Americans
are just sitting quietly as they watch this on TV. I am out of my mind about
this right now. Just out of my damned mind. I have never hated GWBush more,
and I have never seen a better living example of classism and racism alive
in America today. According to resources in Canada, Canadian TV is reporting
they offered planes full of food, water, and supplies to help New Orleans
refugees and America turned them down! Again, I wish I did not have to write
this article. And I hope I am wrong in this conclusion. But again, I have
waited days now for logical answers from the U.S. government and it appears
those answers are not coming!