Saturday, September 03, 2005

Instant Judgment on New Orleans Hurricane: "Genocide" and "Holocaust" on Halliburton's Behalf

The rush to instant judgment was underway even before the true extent of what had happened was known. We dealt with Jürgen Trittin's conspicuously inane contribution last Thursday, when the Green German environment minister blamed Bush for Hurricane Katrina. And the spectacle of party hacks seeking to make capital from a human tragedy continues unabashed:

The blacks abandoned to the flooded horror of what was New Orleans are being raped, beaten, shot dead, and left to die of thirst and disease. It is nothing less than a holocaust, although it is not inaccurate to describe it as "genocide."

The writer goes on to speculate that Halliburton may get a contract to help rebuild New Orleans. Go figure, eh?

So, the hurricane's aftermath, far from being an unprecedented natural disaster, was in fact a carefully thought-out plan to kill and dispossess poor black people. They lived in the lowest-lain parts of the city, which were developed only because of the Federal Flood Insurance scheme. They couldn't escape because they didn't have cars. Their land is needed for shopping malls. QED.

The dispiriting thing about this kind of twaddle is not merely that it shows a lack of taste, pontificating whilst the dead float through the streets of New Orleans. It is a tired and predictable narrative. It betrays an unwillingness to learn from what's really happened. The guilt of the Federal government, big business and the Republicans is blithely and unthinkingly assumed. This kind of approach can never lead to new insights or accurate conclusions, but will merely entrench existing prejudice.

Link to the Choire Sicha blog.

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