Wednesday, December 12, 2007

DISASTER APARTHEID ON THE BAYOU: BRAND NEW ORLEAN$ and THE VIOLENCE OF POVERTY



Desparion Street, one area of the city of New Orleans where "white folks" just don't come and visit.

But should.


As I drove through this inner city neighborhood in New Orleans yesterday, I was struck by two things, my "seeing" my planetary brothers and sisters who lived here, sitting on the steps and porches in the midst of so much blight and suffering, and their 'seeing" me.

I pulled over in my car at first to photograph. Usually I will take a few shots from my car window so that I won't need to move the car to get the other side of the street. Before I pulled over to take the first shots, I passed by a young woman on the corner on crutches. We made eye contact and I smiled at her and nodded my head.

She was less than a half a bock away and watched me photograph from the car."What are you doing?" she hollered out. "I am taking photographs so that I can share them on the Internet and let people know that there are people who are still suffering down here."

"Okay."

A few moments later I got out of the car to photograph the other side of the street and realized that I was feeling mildly anxious about getting out of the car. I check in with these feelings later and realized that it was not "because of" the people on the street around me. It was the ominous presence of the violence and suffering they were enduring. It was dense and intense. And in the midst of this, the people who live here were trying to raise their families and have a life.


People are trying to create a decent life for their families
in the midst of terrible suffering and poverty.



Shelve the abiding fiction that disasters do not discriminate - that they flatten everything in their path with "democratic" disregard. ...{they} zero in on the dispossessed, on those forced to build their lives in the path of danger." --Hein Marias




"Poverty is the worse form of violence"
--Mother Theresa





"The Bush Administration refused to allow emergency funds to pay public sector salaries, and the City of New Orleans, which lost it's tax base, had to face three thousand workers in the months after Katrina.

Among those were sixteen of the city's planning staff - with shades of "de-Baathification," laid off at the precise moment when New Orleans was in desperate need of planners. Instead, millions of dollars went to outside consultants, many of whom were powerful real estate developers."



Jeff Duncan "The Unkindest Cut." Times-Picayunne 3/28/06
Paul Nussbaum "City at Crossroads", Philadelphia Inquirer 9/29/06
sourced: Disaster Apartheid: A World of Red Zones and Green Zones, Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein.

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