Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Natural Disaster

Like many people, my thoughts over the last week have never been too far from what is going on in New Orleans. I might moan about the weather here, but I can't even begin to comprehend what it must be like to be stuck in that filthy, humid, tropical heat and without the basics things (eg water, food, sanitation) that make life basically liveable, let alone anything further to give it any quality. All those horrific tales from the Superdome where people were seemingly crammed into for want of any other suitable public place; tales of rapes and beatings, of people being made to feel like animals wallowing in their own filth.

Now that it has suffered disaster on it's own doorstep, will the American administration now take a long hard look at its country in a far more self-critical way than ever before ? Will it look at things like its welfare system, its health service for example and the grinding poverty that the "have nots" of the country exist in as a result, the sort of poverty which means when a disaster like Hurricane Katrina strikes, you don't have the means to escape and go elsewhere and just have to sit tight and hope help is on its way. Will it take climate change more seriously and wake up to the fact that it's *everyone's* problem ? Will tough questions be asked about the general infrastructure of the country and the quality of the response to this disaster ?

It does seem at least, that the more difficult (for the government) facts of the matter are being made public. I'm a bit cynical about US news and tend to assume there is some level of censorship going on all the time which means that the general public don't always get to hear the full facts about things; whether this is unfounded or not, I don't really know. But it does seem that on this issue, the people know - and they are rightfully angry.


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