BLACK AND WHITE: Poor, black and dying - SAVE ME!
It's strange you know, I've only ever been to the USA once and I visited only two places: New Orleans and New York. Both have since seen the most terrible acts of violence - the first man-made, the second natural - with the loss of thousands of lives. It's just chance, of course, that I went to only those two ciites. (And, no, I don't connect the one disaster with the other).
In New York, I didn't go with my friends to the World Trade Center as I didn't fancy being at the top of that building, in case something happened. No, not a premonition, just general nervousness (plus, I don't like heights). In New Orleans we all danced together on the tables to the sound of a local jazz band and took part in the Mardi Gras parade. I loved the place, just loved it. Except that...
We had a tour of New Orleans and I remember particularly the white, female guide pointing out the beautiful villas in which the rich whites lived and the shacks where the black people lived and making some breathtakingly racist statement about how slavery had been beneficial for them. Maybe I misunderstood her on that point but the message was clear: blacks were inferior, whites superior and never the twain shall meet. It's 13 or 14 years since I made that tour and I've never forgotten that impression.
In the horrendous scenes we're seeing now on TV, it's as clear as daylight that New Orleans - despite it's black mayor - was a city split in two. There are few white faces to be seen. Presumably, because the whites are the ones who had the money to buy petrol and get out. Instead, there's a sea of black faces and we're shown how the bastards are looting shops. Bush has told us that his law enforcement officers are on the way to bring back law and order. Please do. Please stop this dreadful plundering of (the white man"s?) property. Oh, and while you're doing that, would you mind just giving a little water to those American citizens who's only crime is to be poor and black? Thank you....
Where the hell are the marines, for goodness sake? Where's the army? Where's the rescue plan? You can get troops into Iraq overnight and bomb the place to smithereens but you can't even feed and water your own people in your own back yard. They've been in this hell for three days, for Pete's sake. And this is America. The big and beautiful, can put men on Mars, bring peace and justice to all corners of the globe. Ho, ho, ho. Don't talk to me about democracy. You don't know what it is, America. Human rights? You only have 'em if you're white and rich.
Get food and water to those black Americans. Do it now - even if you have to call in the Red Cross and the United Nations to do it for you.