Friday, September 02, 2005

Our hearts go out.

I know you've all probably come here for a bit of relief from the media bombardment re: hurricane Katrina disaster...but we have a situation where people have died (directly due to Katrina) and...horrifically, continue dying because of no access to food and water. US troops have now been instructed with "shoot to kill" violence, rapes, hunger, and anger escalate. Residents of Biloxi, Mississippi (one of the poorest states in the US); largely ignored by the media, sufffered the full wrath of hurricane Katrina.

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In New Orleans, rescue officials say that most of the dead will be recovered in family groups in the attics of houses. "In a postscript that speaks volumes about the unfairness of poverty", most of these houses are in the poorest parts of the city, areas where the residents were least able to evacuate.

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The New Orleans mayor is seething at the slow federal response...some people are upset directly with members of the Bush administration (take this as you will...) and is typical of our celebrity-worshipping culture...just seem to be relieved that Fats Domino survived all of the fuss.

America has lost a city, thousands have lost their lives, close to a million people have lost their jobs, houses, possessions...and the foreseeable future looks long and bleak. Today is definitely time for a break.

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Sad related news...

*The difference between a looter and a finder.
**Gays and abortion caused hurricane (this is more insanity than I can handle)


Franci said...

Heartbreaking, really.
I have checked the link to "who caused this hurricane" also.
The writer (the one who criticizes that truly insane opinion) does not know much about *religion*, but I seem to see his/her point.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting this in your blog.

Unknown Soldier said...

To US people:

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. In Mexico we know what a hurricane is (they hit our country 4-5 times a year, even worst hurriacanes than Katrina).
The question is:
Are the cities in US prepared for hurricanes?

Thanks to Elisita for this space

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your empathetic and balanced post. I just read an article about how the rest of the world, particularly Europe is actually LAUGHING at America and criticizing us as a culture because of the disgusting acts of a few desperate people. We help all over the world during disasters, we are criticized worldwide for not doing enough, and reading that while I don't see any HELP--only mockery-- coming for us from the international community is absolutely mind blowing.

Thank you for reminding me that true compassion and reason still exists somewhere.

American Princess said...

What can I say, other than: "Welcome (back) to America, Elisa! It ain't what it's cracked up to be, is it?"

Veggieboo said...

Thanks for posting this & the good links. The hurricane is all I've been thinking about lately.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your compassionate article. It is truly a horrific situation, especially in New Orleans. As an American, I am especially disappointed by the Federal Government's slow response.

Franci from Europe said...

Anon 12,46: I really don't understand how people, European or not, can laugh at such a tangible catastrophe as this.

BabyMakes3 said...

Thanks for your thoughts Elisa. I am from Mississippi and have many, many friends who were affected by Katrina. Some have lost everything. Just seeing what is happening now is heartbreaking. Desperation does sad things to people. I'm not sure anyone realized just how uncivilized this civilized nation could become.

Anonymous said...

Taking food in a life-or-death situation is one thing. Taking guns, sports jerseys, jewlery, t.v.s, video games, etc. is quite another.

Dawn said...

I'm an American living in the UK and I can't watch the news coverage because it is too upseting. I'm constantly defending my country and my people to other world citizens, but seeing some of the behaviour that is going on makes it hard.

How can you expect the world to react to a nation that voluntarily voted an ignorant imbecile as its leader. I hope Bush's supporters can see what a mistake he was once and for all and never allow it to happen again.

My heart and thoughts are with my people in New Orleans and all over the South.

Anonymous said...

So, Dawn, tell us... How exactly did our "ignorant imbecile" cause this hurricane?

Let's concentrate on positive efforts to help these people, not politicizing a natural disaster.

Blue said...

This is still something I can't even wrap my mind around. A friend of mine is in the National Guard and arrived at the Superdome in New Orleans yesterday and just said "This is a nightmare you can't even imagine". He has to wear body armor and carry two types of weapons.

We are prepared, but we aren't here in the US. I found an article (forget where) that says Federal Disaster Funding was actually *cut* due to the war in Iraq.

Dawn, it doesn't matter if we voted for St. Peter as president, no one is ever FULLY prepared for a disaster such as this... and some people just don't obey evacuation orders, and some people physically and financially can not. I *do* think local government should have done more for those unable to leave. Besides, the president himself is NOT responsible for organizing relief efforts singlehandedly.

For those who refused to leave... sorry, but I have little sympathy for those who didn't obey evacuation *by choice* and are now stuck. They knew for days what was headed their way.

serendipity said...

So glad to know you're a compassionate woman as well.

andromeda said...

I really hope things start to get better for everyone affected by Katrina, and i'm sure i speak for everyone in Brisbane, Australia...


Elisa said...

I's unimaginable...I tend to agree with Michael Moore's open letter to BUSH...but blame and fault aren't going to tangibly help these poor people. This problem lies deeper than just a freak involves environmental abuse (warming of the Gulf of Mexico for several years now...helping to make Katrina possible), poverty, racial discrimination...all run deep. These poor refugees are looking at being homeless and jobless for months, if not years...and when the adrenaline of the people towards the disaster calms down...and when the hurricane stops becoming financially viable for media sources...who will remember these people?
It is a sad future,

Tom Stormcrowe said...

This was a nice thought out and compassionate post! All I can say is nice job!

SleazyRed said...

As a brit living in the US, I find the whole thing heartwrenching. Once again Elisa you show us you can write well be it about kimbo or serious matters like Katrina. I think the immediate thoughts should be able everyone mucking in (as we say in the UK) and helping where we can - we can sort out the political stuff later.

Jack Bennett said...

Elisa, thanks for this posting. I haven't written anything about Katrina in my own blog yet because I still can't find the words. Its all so horrifying. America hasn't just lost a city but one of its GREATEST cities and I'm not sure they'll be able to rebuild it.

Dawn said...

I don't want to get into a heated discussion but to answer's what blue said. Federal funding was cut to fund the war in Iraq. I'm not some peace protester, but I think it's appalling that the levies in New Orleans needed to be fixed for years and that experts warned of something like this happening, but Bush's government took money away from the American people to fund the movement in Iraq. Is that clear enough for you, anonymous?

How can we answer the question of why entire families are lying dead in their attics because the richest nation in the world couldn't afford simple maintenance jobs? The only answer I can find is the Bush administration. Honestly, it's embarassing seeing him on television when he can't even form words. He's always in some kind of silly stupor and it makes our whole country look responsible.

blue, I agree with you, but I think the Bush government has done so much more harm than good.
I'm sorry I don't want to go off on a tangent. I'm just very emotional about it, like everyone else.

Best to leave it to Elisa, who I agree, says things so well.

Blue said...

Dawn... not to burst your bubble, but the funding was cut LONG before GW Bush was in office and before the war in Iraq, tho not as much has it has been since. Disaster relief funding for the US was never a priority of the government's. They rely too heavily upon the Red Cross which is non-profit and usually funded by donors to help out in emergencies.

Don't be so quick to cast the blame to *any* president. Remember, it has to go through the House, Senate, AND Supreme Court, and obviously everyone THERE thought that the cuts to disaster relief were needed, and have believed it was needed. Blame your senator/representative if you must.

Plus, it's also not a FEDERAL job, but a STATE job to repair levees and be prepared for disasters, and perhaps the STATE of Louisiana didn't think the levee needed repaired. It would have been STATE dollars funding THAT.

Not only that, but do you have ANY conception of how much work it is to coordinate such a massive relief effort that spans millions of people over three states? Would you even know where to BEGIN?!

Dawn, I suggest, since YOU obviously think that YOU can do SO much better, that you single-handedly coordinate the relief effort... or run for President since you obviously seem to think you can do it better. Come on, Dawn, you seem to have ALL the answers on how to make this work... let's hear it!!

I'm all for criticizing the government when needed. This isn't needed. Bush is just one man who has to run a country of almost 400 million people with the help of various advisors who don't always see eye to eye with eachother... he isn't God. He doesn't and can't be expected to fix everything with a nod of his head and he can't please everyone. Presidents only seem to be called "good ones" once they've died.

starbuck said...

I had no idea Bush was psychic. He actually KNEW people would be dead in their attics? Amazing.

I watched Dateline the other night and they were speaking with someone who helped with the levy system when it was built and he said that they made the levies to withstand a Cat 3 hurricane because it was "more cost effective", meaning cheaper and probably good enough. Now how that is Bush's fault is beyond me since the levies have been in place long before he has. Clinton didn't fix them either but no one is pointing fingers at him. This was a tragedy that no one was able to forsee. No troops were alerted before the flooding started, FEMA didn't have truckloads of food waiting in TX or MO reaady to race in as soon as the wind died down. This was a HUGE disaster that only became apparent 24+ hours later. Then everyone was scrambling to help the victims, some of whom were so grateful they shot at police and aid workers, raped women and beat others, thus delaying the much needed help the government agencies had been trying to provide.

Sorry, Elisa. I just get so tired of finger pointing in an tragedy. Everything that led to the hurricane and it's aftermath (warming, bad levies and pump systems) were there for many years and no one person or administration is solely responsible.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12,46: I've yet to meet anyone who's laughing about this. As for international aid, America refused all aid. What does that tell you?

Elisa, thank you for the post.

Blue said...

Exactly, Starbuck... even though we were "prepared", we were not FULLY prepared for THIS... and there was no way we COULD be!!

And... cost-effective things are going to be what's put into place because if the best available was used, taxpayers would complain it'd run their taxes up. Goverment always seems to be damned if they do and damned if they don't.... :-(

Anonymous said...

If you want to blame someone, blame the French(no really, it's actually their fault this time).

Whatever moron of a French trapper or explorer founded that city couldn't have picked a worse spot even if it was an island in the middle of the river Styx.

Who builds a city below sea level in between a lake and an ocean, in the middle of the Mississippi river delta?

I am amazed that it has existed for several hundred years and this hasn't happened already.

Yes, George Bush is a moron whose hands are covered in the blood of thousands of innocent people, however he does not control the weather or the poor planning skills of French explorers.

I live in a forest on the side of a mountain. If an avalanche destroyed my home or if it was consumed in a forest fire, I would be devastated, but not surprised.

Why, because I live in a forest on the side of a mountain.

I'm not saying they deserved it and I am donating money and praying for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by this tragedy, but these people were basically living in Atlantis before it sunk into the sea.

Also, those three states will be declared a federal disaster area, and in a year everyone that lived there will get a big fat check from FEMA.

I know money cannot replace memories or loved ones, but just remember that Asia got hit way harder by the tsunami and there is no FEMA in places like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, etc.

Yail Bloor

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post Elisa. I read your blog every day. I'm from Mississippi and just really appreciate your sympathy. My step dad is down in New Orleans working and my grandmother and family live in Biloxi and have lost their houses and are staying with us. I just really appreciate your support. Thank you.

Sylvie said...


thank you so much for the touching post about hurricane katrina. it's nice to know that there are caring people all over the world. thanks again!

-sylvie :)

Sam said...

My heart goes out to the thousands of people in the southern USA, and I pray for them. I am a Brit married to an American X-Pat, and frankly I am disapointed in your unwavering patriotism for your country, when clearly it has let its people down in a BIG way. why should it take 5 days to get the convoy in to where it is needed???
The US military was able to get a submarine to Russia within 48 hrs!
I love America, and the people of America, but I call a spade a spade! If you want to see some graphic images of what is really going on, the truth or what your media are hiding from you, follow this link!!! Maybe you will feel different after!

andromeda said...

yeah I have been watching some more newscasts and I dunno its just you would expect this kind of tragedy to happen in a 3rd world country (from money reasons) not that its more justifiable there or anywhere else, but this happening IN one of the richest or the richest nation in the world...its just crazy, I just feel they could do so much more. I dunno I'm frustrated...

Elisa said...

Hey Sam,
Those pics are truly shocking...but thank you...they need to be seen. I think a survivor sums it up well in the quote "The first few days were a natural disaster. The last four days were a man-made disaster,"...I know it's not 100% true...but I know it's what most of the stranded must be thinking.
IMO this is a good article of what's happening at the moment over there ATM

Anonymous said...

I just want to point out something to the Europeans that have posted regarding about how long it has taken to get help in to New Orleans and surrounding areas.

This is something that I have noticed across the board from my European friends, i.e., they come for a three-four day vacation and believe they can visit Los Angeles and New York City in a rental car.

I'd like to clarify this: The U.S. is a vast, vast country in terms of size. I have driven from where I live (Wisconsin) to Louisiana and it is a 1,000+ mile drive even though we are both dead center in the country. To drive from either coast to the heartland is even longer.

I heard on some news report that the affected area is roughly the size of Great Britian, which seems about right. That is, relatively speaking, a very small fragment of the entire country.

In addition, I don't think I'm an unwavering patriot. What I am is exceptionally cynical about media reports and the spin that is constantly put out against the president regardless of what he does. He is one man, we elected him, let's stand with him (as we should regardless of his party affiliation)as we all work to dig out from a massive NATURAL tragedy that hit a city that has been weakened through YEARS of poor planning, development and prepartion.

Finally, it takes time to mobilize the National Guard (as a former Guard wife). These are civilian soldiers - they typically are given some time (12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours) to get their own lives in order before leaving. Combine that with convoy time in trucks, jeeps, humvees and the response was not as slow as the media wants us to believe. If you want to point fingers, why not point them at the New Orleans PD members who are turning in their badges...

Blue said...

Also, the Federal Goverment can't just go right in... the State has to ask for it first... but before that, City/County must ask the state.

The State of Louisiana was poorly prepared for this. They should have had more shelters available, better equipped shelters, and if they knew how poor their area was and how many would be unable to evacuate, the *state* should have done something.

No amount of fingerpointing will bring back those who died, but finding the errors and correcting them will keep this from happening again.