Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Orleans after Kathrina, a source of shame for the USA

The situation in New Orleans after hurricane Katherina put in question the effectiveness of local, state and federal authorities to cope with such a disaster. It’s true that the wrath of nature can be much stronger than any human preparedness but after the wrath there were damages that could be coped with in view of US technological and financial might. The Americans were somewhat ashamed of what the inhabitants of New Orleans came to as the state in which the city was lowered it to the level of a region in the third world. The Americans were used to see images of challenging disasters only in third world countries, which could do nothing without international aid.

The US is known for coming to the aid of many countries in time of peace and disaster, sometimes putting aside political differences as when there was a devastating earthquake in Iran. However, it was helpless in providing the necessary help to a city to bring it from its ruins to the state it had been in prior to the Hurricane. Maybe the locals wanted too much from their government to rebuild their lives or the responsibilities were attributed to different sides like insurance companies, individuals, officials – at the local, state and federal level. Each side finding justification for its action. The fact that Mayor Ray Nagin was re-elected despite the pitfalls in dealing with the emergency shows to a certain extent that the responsibility falls mainly on the state and the federal government.

The negative picture as it was summed by Ros in his post is that New Orleans is a place of crime, poor prosecution, sub-standard policing, corruption, a lack of public housing, the highest murder rate in he country. This reinforces the notion that New Orleans is ranking just with poor third world cities as those in South Africa. But the USA through its different sections can rebuild the city if the Americans initiate a period of solidarity through donations and volunteers to clear it from the mess it is in now.

4 comments:

doctorj2u said...

What an arrogant post! I am a native New Orleanian still living in SE LA. My 80 year old mother lives in the devastation that is Pass Christian, MS. New Orleans didn't "shame" the US, It was the US that SHOULD be ashamed. It turned it back (and continues to turn its back,may I say) on its own citizens. I see heroisn every day and it is the people of New Orleans and surrounding parishes, not the citizens of the so called "United" States of America. (I have to omit the wonderful volunteers from that blanket statement. They are the hope of this country.)

Abdelilah Boukili said...

Hi doctorj2u,
I think you misread my article. My general meaning is that the USA as a powerful country shouldn't have been/ be slow in providing New Orleans with all the necessary help it urgently needs.

doctorj2u said...

Ab,
Sorry to jumo on your post. I guess you would have to live the drip, drip, drip of government ineptitude to understand how bad the governmental response has been, not only immediately after Katrina and the broken levees, but every moment since then. I get furious when I hear this tripe about the citizens of NOLA waiting and depending on government for help. There is no government! Government has put more roadblocks into the path of rebuilding than any help. The only improvement is due to citizens banding together and doing it themselves. But you know what, we as citizens can't build strong levees and restore wetlands decimated by federal engineering of the Mississippi River. That is a job for government. Government has reacted to the lack of will by American citizens to do this, so New Orleans,my hometown and a cultural gem to the world, is left vulnerable to whatever nature has in store. This is a rich and powerful country. It can send a man to the moon, yet it can't build levees? What is wrong with this picture?

Abdelilah Boukili said...

Hi doctorj2u,
You know even people living far away were emotionally devastated by what New Orleans had come to. As some people have argued too much money is spent on the war in Iraq, some of which proved to have been mismanaged while an American city was left on its own fighting for its survival.