First to Third in Seconds

From across the pond, I watch the scenes on the news of the devastation in Louisiana and elsewhere with a mixture of emotions. Obviously, sadness at the loss of live, destruction of property and the suffering of the people.

What also occurs to me is that, from a dispassionate point of view, it is very interesting to watch how a First World society handles being thrust back into the Third World overnight. The scenes from New Orleans are not far removed from those in Africa, and Afghanistan, and Iraq.

For the first time, American citizens, on their home soil, are witnessing the conditions similar to those that result from American and Allied military action overseas, albeit as a result of an Act of Nature1. The response to this disaster from the Government is not being met with the approval of the American people, least of all those made homeless by Katrina. 10bn dollars must pale into insignificance against the money spent on the “conflicts / police actions” in the Middle East. Given that hurricanes are a yearly problem in the Carribean, the citizens of the Southern US must be shaking their heads in disbelief at the time it is taking to solve this humanitarian crisis. Not least the inhabitants of New Orleans, who have been living below sea level since New Orleans was built and who must surely have simply been waiting for this to happen.

I am also aghast to hear radio reports that people are committing first degree crimes and to read statements from the National Guard that they are willing to use deadly force to quell this lawlessness. I am not convinced deadly force is the answer; however, it is shocking that, if the reports are to be belived that such lawlessness is happening. Shooting at rescue helicopters? Rape? Murder? What is going on? Are we to believe that American culture is capable of resorting to such acts after just a few days of, admittedly, hellish experiences? I would be very, very angry at my situation but I’m not sure I would resort to first degree crime2.

If I lived in New Orleans, I would be, to put it mildly and diplomatically, extremely annoyed at the present administration for the diversion of funds into a questionable war in Iraq. It will be very interesting to view the fallout of these events, and the effects on the Bush Administrification and the American way of life, now that they have witnessed the Third World first hand.

1 Maybe Nature is pissed off that the US has not ratified Kyoto. Who knows.
2 Thankfully, I have never been in this situation, so I can’t judge anybody.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *