Friday, August 29, 2008

3 Years Ago Today

Government failed us at all levels.

I was so angry. I was so angry. I was so angry.

Created by a fellow New Orleans blogger named Mark Folse
"The survivors request anger in lieu of tears."

I live in New Orleans again and I am still angry.

It was a helpless anger. That's what was so scarring for me, and I imagine others as well, about the federal levee failures and the criminally negligent response of FEMA - there was nothing I felt I could do.

I had left the country about two weeks before the storm and was taking courses at the University of Ghana, just outside the capital of Accra. The computers were slow and there were frequent blackouts and I remember occupying three or four stations all slowly loading one devastating photograph after another. I felt so far away.

I am still angry today.

But no longer do I feel helpless - not because Bush administration is keeping its promises to rebuild New Orleans, not because the Army Corps of Engineers has made our levee system safe, not because our Mayor has taken bold steps to prioritize rebuilding efforts in the most devastated areas - because they have done none of these things.

I no longer feel helpless because I can recognize an energy here in New Orleans that is truly inspiring. People understand, with greater clarity every day, not just that they HAVE TO take back their government to make it work in the interests of the residents of this city, but that they CAN.

It is one thing to recognize the change in the national political climate but it is another to experience it every day on the local level right in front of your eyes - without the bombast, without the television cameras, without the production value.

I am proud to live in New Orleans.

But I will be angry until New Orleans gets the levee protection she paid for with her citizens' tax dollars and her citizens' lives. The nation must help in this effort and I have a feeling it will - but ultimately any action on behalf of New Orleans must be compelled by neighbors that understand the need to act up for their community - my neighbors that refuse to be helpless.

1 comment:

alli said...

I watched it from Vietnam and will never forget that mix of powerlessness and anger.