Monday, September 05, 2005

back to NOLA

of all the cities that I've visited in the United States, New Orleans, was the most charming, the most peculiar, the most spirited, the most unusual, spiritual, weird, historical, stunning, yummy, and depressing. Honestly. I loved every moment i spent in that city both times i was there; and now i realize how lucky i was to have been there for Mardi Gras--i saw NOLA at its finest and and its worst, simulteneously...and at its worst, it still kept the humor and ease it's famous for.

I'm not surprised by what happened in the aftermath of the hurricaine there; I am not surprised at the level of ineffeciency and misconduct shown by the local and federal authorities towards a large population of people. I am not even surprised that it was in a BBC report that I first actually read the words, "The majority of those in most desperate need of relief were impoverished black people who may not have had the means to leave the affected area ahead of Hurricane Katrina."
But i am surprised by the amount of violence that has erupted in that city and at how merciless people can be in a time of absolute and dire need. How can we possibly expect a population that is capable of such acts of violence to stand up for itself and give support to any other part of the world. We can't help ourselves, how can we help others? I am stunned, as I'm sure most of you are by the reports of shooting at rescue workers and contractors; who are these people that strike against a fellow humans whose only purpose is to help, whose life is as precious as the lives of those who perished in the disaster.
sorry. I'll stop. just extremely upset and i thought that things like that wouldn't phase me now. they do. they should touch and unnerve and disturb everyone. they are disturbing.
a few days ago i posted a link to a blog being kept by a group of very dedicated people keeping track of things in NOLA and posting about what they see on an hourly basis. please, check it out.
and i just wanted to include what the writer wrote about politics, in case you don't read that specific post. He makes a very good point and I believe it should be shared.

From Interdictor : So yeah, I'm not going to support or condemn anyone specific for what's going on here.

And another thing to think about when we start pointing fingers is this. The government is never equipped to handle a crisis like this. There's too much bureaucracy -- initiative-stifling bureaucracy which prevents swift, effective action. I would like to hear from government employees on this. The nature of that bureaucracy is such that you have very specific guidelines to follow for even the most minute tasks. You need approval for just about everything, and the person you need approval from usually needs approval to give you the approval.

It's not as easy as say rounding up 4 of your co-workers and saying, "We've got someone at such and such an address, let's go grab her and get her out of there." Now add a destroyed or disabled command and control center to that bureaucracy and you've got a total and complete mess.

You (as a civilian) don't need "Approved" stamped on 3 different forms before you can run into your neighbor's house and pull them out. I hope this makes sense.

Anyway, I'm sure there's been human error in this catastrophe. How could there not be? But what I'm saying is that I've come to expect poor decision making and a total lack of initiative from government. They can't even balance a budget, at the federal, state, or local levels. I could balance my checkbook and spend within my means when I was a teenager. But I'm not gonna point fingers and get into the blame game. If you want me to blame something besides the storm herself, I blame the nature of government in the first place. It's too big, it's too slow, it's too inefficient, it's too bloated, and it's too intiative-stifling to be effective in normal circumstances, much less in a disaster. It's a systemic issue, more than an issue of individual people in government.

Ok, that being said, I see more civilians on the street now -- although many of them appear to be journalist types.

Hope everyone is well out there.
Miss you all.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Be prepared for the next hurricane hugo or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!