Saturday, September 03, 2005

Citizens speak 

All nine letters in the New York Times struck the same note. All condemned the state-sanctioned and perpetrated murder of New Orleans. The two best ones:

To the Editor:

My husband's family has resided in the center of New Orleans for six generations, and we have long known of and feared the "doomsday" scenario. PBS even broadcast a documentary that clearly spelled out that a hit by this type of hurricane could put New Orleans under water or destroy it forever.

Therefore, we were in a state of disbelief for 48 hours before the storm's landfall, watching the federal government do so little to prepare for it. My husband's parents and relatives had cars, thankfully, but there were more than 100,000 people known to have no way out of the city.

Where were the planes and buses and trucks that could have been used to evacuate the stranded in advance? What was the thinking in herding people into a dome, with no thought to a way out in the aftermath?

There was plenty of time for the federal government, in a coordinated effort with the state and the city, to have rescued these people. The failure we are now witnessing is unforgivable. The storm was not preventable, but the death and suffering were. This time, there was all the warning in the world.

Elizabeth N. Porteous
New York, Sept. 2, 2005


To the Editor:

Some people wonder why those in New Orleans stayed when they knew a hurricane was coming. It is important to understand that most of those who stayed behind are the poorest of the poor. They stayed because they didn't have a car to drive them to safety.

And if they had had one, where would they have gone? Many have never been out of their community.

Even if they had been able to get out, they don't have credit cards to pay for a hotel. They barely have enough on which to live when things are going well.

These are people who don't know if their kids will have presents for Christmas. These are families that probably never had a Thanksgiving dinner with turkey.

The poor in this country have too long been ignored and demonized.

Simply put, those people we see suffering in New Orleans are there because they are dirt poor and have no means to leave and nowhere to go.

It is time we stop giving tax cuts to the rich and tax breaks to companies that move factories overseas, and it is time to increase our investment in education and jobs here.

We need to do this for the poor children we see suffering in New Orleans.

Eric B. Maron
Lafayette, La., Sept. 2, 2005


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