Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back home and thoughts on Katrina

I'm back in Ann Arbor, and survived my first day of classes.

I will post a long entry on my thoughts on my trip once I get caught up with the readings.

In classes today, there were a number of new faces in classes that were supposed to be populated only by fellow summer starters. It was pointed out that those were the kids from Tulane and Loyola in New Orleans. I'm amazed at the efficiency of the legal community in getting those law students situated at various schools in time for the start of classes.

Looking back on the coverage I saw of Katrina, all of which was abroad, I have never felt more acutely that the US was a third world country. We looked really bad. I mean, amazingly bad. The federal government's intervention in preventing some of the states from responding immediately was particularly offensive, as was the inability to prepare for the hurricane despite earlier requests for aid. As Nic Robertson on CNN apparently said, the aftermath of hurricane in terms of the displacement of people reminded him of Kosovo.

Katrina was not an unforeseeable act of terrorism. There was warning. And many of those who stayed on, claiming they were going to ride out the storm, did so not out of brash arrogance, but out of pride, unwilling to admit that they were without means to evacuate the city.

To the rest of the world, coverage of Katrina brought to their attention the poverty found in the US that our government has long been trying to sweep under the carpet. It is hopelessly wishful thinking to say that maybe this will force us to reexamine our methods of dealing with poverty.

Having seen the coverage outside of the country, I was one the one hand proud to be an American because of our grassroots outpouring of support for the victims of the hurricane, and on the other hand deeply ashamed because of the way it highlighted not only the ineffectiveness of our government (which we already knew anyway) but more importantly, how we treat our poor.


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3:40 PM  

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