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The governmentwhich COULD HAVE and SHOULD HAVE provided water

and food to residents of New Orleanshas NOT done so INTENTIONALLY

to force  people to evacuate by starving them out.

 

 

The People of the Dome

By Mitchel Cohen

 

Les Evenchick, an independent Green who lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans in a 3-story walkup, reports that 90 percent of the so-called looters are simply grabbing water, food, diapers and medicines, because the federal and state officials have refused to provide these basic necessities.

Les says that “gifts only because of the looters that non-lootersold people, sick people, small childrenare able to survive.”

Those people who stole televisions and large non-emergency items have been SELLING THEM, Les reports (having witnessed several of these "exchanges") so that they could get enough money together to leave the area.

Think about it:

People were told to leave, but all the bus stations had closed down the night before and the personnel sent packing.

Many people couldn't afford tickets anyway.

Many people are stranded, and others are refusing to leave their homes, pets, etc. They don't have cars.

You want people to stop looting? Provide the means for them to eat, and to leave the area.

Some tourists in the Monteleone Hotel paid $25,000 for 10 buses. The buses were sent (I guess there were many buses available, if you paid the price!) but the military confiscated them to use NOT for transporting people in the Dome but for the military. The tourists were not allowed to leave. Instead, the military ordered the tourists to the now-infamous Convention Center.

HOW SIMPLE it would have been for the State and/or US government to have provided buses for people BEFORE the hurricane hit, and throughout this week. Even evacuating 100,000 people trapped therethat's 3,000 buses, less than come into Washington D.C. for some of the giant antiwar demonstrations there. Even at $2,500 a pop highway robberythat would only be a total of $7.5 million for transporting all of those who did not have the means to leave.

Instead, look at the human and economic cost of not doing that!

So why didn't they do that?

On Wednesday a number of Greens tried to bring a large amount of water to the SuperDome. They were prevented from doing so, as have many others. Why have food and water been BLOCKED from reaching tens of thousands of poor people?

On Thursday, the government used the excuse that there were some very scattered gunshots (two or three instances only)around 1/50th of the number of gunshots that occur in New York City on an average dayto shut down voluntary rescue operations and to scrounge for 5,000 National Guard troops fully armed, with "shoot to kill" ordersat a huge economic cost.

They even refused to allow voluntary workers who had rescued over 1,000 people in boats over the previous days to continue on Thursday, using the several gunshots (and who knows WHO shot off those rounds?) to say "It's too dangerous." The volunteers didn't think the gunshots were dangerous to them and wanted to continue their rescue operations and had to be "convinced" at gunpoint to "cease and desist."

There is something sinister going downit's not just incompetence or negligence.

How could FEMA and Homeland Security not have something so basic as bottled drinking water in the SuperDome, which was long a part of the hurricane plan? One police officer in charge of his 120-person unit said yesterday that his squad was provided with only 70 small bottles of water.

Two years ago, New Orleans residentsthe only area in the entire state that voted in huge numbers against the candidacy of George Bushalso fought off attempts to privatize the drinking water supply. There have also been major battles to block Shell Oil's attempt to build a Liquid Natural Gas facility, and to prevent the teardown of public housing (which failed), with the Mayor lining up in the latter two issues on the side of the oil companies and the developers.

One of the first acts of Governor Kathleen Blanco (a Democrat, by the way) during this crisis was to TURN OFF the drinking water, to force people to evacuate. There was no health reason to turn it off, as the water is drawn into a separate system from the Mississippi River, not the polluted lake, and purified through self-powered purification plants separate from the main electric grid. If necessary, people could have been told to boil their waterstrangely, the municipal natural gas used in stoves was still functioning properly as of Thursday night!

There are thousands of New Orleans residents who are refusing to evacuate because they don't want to leave their pets, their homes, or who have no money to do so nor place to go. The governmentwhich COULD HAVE and SHOULD HAVE provided water and food to residents of New Orleanshas NOT done so INTENTIONALLY to force people to evacuate by starving them out.

This is a crime of the gravest sort.

We need to understand that the capability has been there from the start to DRIVE water and food right up to the convention center, as those roads have been clear -- it's how the National Guard drove into the city.

Let me say this again: The government is intentionally not allowing food or water in. This is for real. MSNBC interviewed dozens of people who had gotten out. Every single one of them was WHITE.

The people who are poor (primarily Black but many poor Whites as well) are finally being allowed to leave the horrendous conditions in the SuperDome; many are being bussed to the AstroDome in Houston.

Call them "People of the Dome." If people resist the National Guard coming to remove them against their will, will New Orleans become known as the first battle in the new American revolution?

Mitchel Cohen / Brooklyn Greens / Green Party of NY, and co-editor of G, the newspaper of the NY State Greens. Mitchel Cohen / 2652 Cropsey Avenue, #7H / Brooklyn, NY 11214 / (718) 449-0037 or (718) 499-3497 mitchelcohen@mindspring.com

posted 4 September 2005

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

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Ancient African Nations

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