At times I wonder if we are our brother’s keepers as one reads where the City of New Orleans is looking to foreign countries for aid. Upon first reading this sad story, it lent the reader to feel a sense of embarrassment and humiliation that this can-do nation will even allow for one of its greatest cities to look elsewhere let alone foreign governments years after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
As we try and imprint our way of life over in the Middle East namely Iraq in which we are spending $592 million of our hard-earned tax dollars building an elaborate American embassy in Iraq, New Orleans screams out for aid.
Looking at the figure we are spending to build an embassy in the war-ravaged city known as Baghdad, it was heart breaking to say the least as one reads, “As of June 8, the city said it had received just over half of the $320 million FEMA has obligated for rebuilding city infrastructure and emergency response-related costs.”
This is the total failure of the federal government to meet the needs of its people. Both Democrats and Republicans alike that are elected to meet our needs are indeed failing all of us. Members of both parties within our congress should hang their heads in utter shame as they vote to fund this war, while a city known as the ‘Big Easy’ is finding life anything but easy.
While our federal government will make damn sure that state department officials find life easy for them in Baghdad living in opulence, New Orleans continues to struggle.
I do not know how many of my readers are fans of ‘Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs’ which is a show that airs on the Discovery Channel, but this past weekend I caught one episode of this show in which he lent a hand in cleaning and gutting of just one home among so many to make it livable. In seeing the neighborhood that he was working with, it reminded me of a ghost town or that of a third world country. In seeing the utter devastation of that one home and the vermin that were now living in it, while he tried to use humor, there is no humor to be found. What it reminded me of is that home was once someone’s home.
Last week, I caught a segment in which CNN’s ‘Anderson Cooper’s 360’ aired a segment in which bodies are housed in a warehouse that are not yet identified or worse, the loved ones cannot claim them for burial. The Medical Examiner wishes to build a $1 million dollar memorial with crypts available to house these unclaimed and unidentified bodies, but has raised only a portion of that. This memorial’s design would be in the form of a hurricane.
As I read that column, I wish to correct the number of doctors that Cuba stood ready to send us as one reads, “In Katrina's wake, Cuban President Fidel Castro's proposal to send more than 1,000 medical personnel to New Orleans was among the offers of aid.” In this previous column, this is what I wrote, “After Katrina hit, President Castro stood ready to send us 1,500 doctors who sat for days at the Jose Marti airport in Havana, Cuba. One cardiologist stated, “I may not speak English very well, but I do have a big heart.” I thought I would throw that one in there as many sat for days in the Super Dome as our president did nothing. One woman by the name of Ethel Freeman died as a result and her picture has been widely circulated as she was photographed dead in a wheel chair.”
As Mayor Nagin looks for foreign aid now, I want to remind my readers of the aid that Venezuela stood ready to send us and even wrote of that too. They stood ready to send us an aid package that consisted of “one million dollars, two mobile medical units capable of attending to 150 people each, ten water purifying plants, eight electricity generators with a capacity of 850 kilowatts each, 20 tons of bottled drinking water, 50 tons of canned food. This aid package also included much needed oil to offset any disturbances to our nation’s supply.”
It was not only the Bush administration but our government that denied our citizens help in the immediate aftermath of this storm. I should know since I was calling as many of our elected official’s offices. Even a receptionist of Nancy Pelosi hung up on me twice when I demanded they accept both aid packages with thanks and grace.
You know, our government can scowl at and ridicule both the Venezuelan and Cuban governments, but it was the leaders of both countries that stood ready to send us aid which was refused. The next time that you hear any elected leader lash out at both President Chavez and President Castro, you may wish to write to that leader and remind them of how they stood ready to help our citizens. You may ask them; where were they? This again is a prime example of why I abhor party politics.
What happened not only to New Orleans but other areas that were hit hard by Katrina was for more devastating than the attacks that befell our nation on 9/11 and it angers me when Bay Buchanan had this to say on CNN’s ‘Situation Room’, “I think Katrina has worn its welcome.- I think the American people are tired of it."
Now would we as Americans stand for anyone saying that of those that felt the devastation of 9/11? No we would not.
As the Mayor of that great city, New Orleans is forced to look for outside aid to help rebuild his city one must ask; how many mayors of other cities will look to other nations to help them as future storms come ashore? The next time any of these presidential candidates coming from the Republican Party and the Democratic Party remind us all on the war on terror, those in New Orleans are still feeling terror, yet no one is coming to their aid.
Lastly, do not even get me started on this immigration bill called the ‘Grand Compromise’ by Lou Dobbs which will bleed us all financially as New Orleans cries out for help. Do you want to help the citizens of New Orleans, it is up to you to once again call your elected leaders and tell them NO to this immigration bill. How about we take care of our citizens first? We must remind them that they were elected to serve our needs first and foremost.
Author’s email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org