“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, September 05, 2005

Another account

Read this account of the escape from New Orleans, and the escape from the government’s idea of a refugee center (hint: they seem to have gotten their plans for it from Buchenwald)for the escapees from New Orleans, by Michael Homan. Let’s not let these histories go down the drain. Even if nothing changes, even if the monsters still rule us and the thugs in the press still ritually praise them and the whole mill grinds inevitably forward, making bonemeal of our bones, we can still preserve a record of how things really were in the U.S.A., circa 2005:


Here’s an excerpt:

“But then in the end I left. I learned that my father-in-law was flying to Jackson Saturday, and Friday those guys in the airboat showed up. I was very worried because I had heard that they were not letting people evacuate with their animals. But these guys said that had changed, and so I put my computer and a few papers in my backpack, loaded the dogs, let the birds go, and put Oot the sugar glider with food and water in Kalypso's room to await my return, much like Napoleon leaving for Elba I suppose. We drove in the boat all over the city looking for people. It was so surreal with the helicopters and all the boats up and down Canal Street amidst all the devastation. Towards dusk on Friday I arrived at I-10 and Banks Street, not far from my house. There they packed all of us pet owners from Mid City into a cargo truck and drove us away. They promised they would take us to Baton Rouge, and from there it would be relatively easy for me to get a cab or bus and meet the family in Jackson.

But then everything went to hell. They instead locked up the truck and drove us to the refugee camp on I-10 and Causeway and dropped us off. Many refused to get out of the van but they were forced. The van drove away as quickly as it could, as the drivers appeared to be terrified, and we were suddenly in the middle of 20,000 people. I would estimate that 98% of them were African Americans and the most impoverished people in the state. It was like something out of a Kafka novel. Nobody knew how to get out. People said they had been there 5 days, and that on that day only 3 buses had shown up. I saw murdered bodies, and elderly people who had died because they had been left in the sun with no water for such a long time. I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I have never seen the despair and tragedy that I saw at this refugee camp. It was the saddest think I have ever seen in my life. I am still so upset that there were not hundreds of buses immediately sent to get these people to shelters.”

Also, see this report from a Green Party member, Malik Rahim, who has remained in Algiers. The whole report is interesting, since it emphasizes one thing that should be made obvious:
1. the state not only abandoned New Orleans, but expended a lot of energy trying to keep a self-organizing population from rescuing each other, even as they allowed gangbangers and vigilantes to run wild.

"My son and his family -- his wife and kids, ages
1, 5 and 8 -- were flooded out of their home when
the levee broke. They had to swim out until they
found an abandoned building with two rooms above
water level.

There were 21 people in those two rooms for a day
and a half. A guy in a boat who just said "I'm
going to help regardless" rescued them and took
them to Highway I-10 and dropped them there.

They sat on the freeway for about three hours,
because someone said they'd be rescued and taken
to the Superdome. Finally they just started
walking, had to walk six and a half miles.

When they got to the Superdome, my son wasn't
allowed in -- I don't know why -- so his wife and
kids wouldn't go in. They kept walking, and they
happened to run across a guy with a tow truck
that they knew, and he gave them his own personal
truck.

When they got here, they had no gas, so I had to
punch a hole in my gas tank to give them some
gas, and now I'm trapped. I'm getting around by
bicycle.

People from Placquemine Parish were rescued on a
ferry and dropped off on a dock near here. All
day they were sitting on the dock in the hot sun
with no food, no water. Many were in a daze;
they've lost everything."

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