Posted by , 06 September 2005 · 42 views
My apologies in advance, but it's a depressing and rather sober entry this time round.Watching the unfolding events in the USA this past week, I've been struck by the difference between refugees and victims of natural disaster in, say, New Orleans compared with people in similar situations in less developed nations.This is a sweeping generalisation, I know, and I'm probably going to get lambasted for it, but it appears that the citizens of the "developed" nation, and their local society, cope rather less well with the situation than their counterparts in the developing world. Why is this? Is it because they are so reliant on the services and comforts of the modern world? Electricity, decent sanitation, transport and communications networks and the like. Is it because the more developed your society is, then you have much further to fall when things go wrong, and have lost the ability to function without the things you take for granted?None of this is meant to denigrate or insult the people of Louisiana and Mississippi; it just surprised me how quickly society seemed to implode. Of course there were heroic exceptions - the local emergency services, police, fire crews and so on could have done no more- but in those conditions trying to keep some semblance of order must have been like trying to knit fog.Living close to the area, Buttonfan and AR5 might have completely different views on all this, but I'm just basing my comments on the news reports we get here in Europe.The most important thing, of course, is for the government and authorities to accelerate the aid and reconstruction programme. Maybe less troops and more doctors, nurses, firemen, etc., would be a step in the right direction. A lot of criticism is directed at the Bush administration for failing to foresee the disaster. I think that's wrong - it's true that everyone knew there was a hurricane on it's way but no one could have predicted the scale, or impact on these communities. What the administration should be absolutely hammered for is the total paralysis it displayed when the hurricane started erasing small towns. The platitudes spilling from the mouths of politicians showed their complete disconnection from the people they are reputed to represent. But, of course, don't we always get the government we deserve?I'll sign off now, and promise that my next entry will be full of sunshine and good cheer, but at the moment I'm still full of anger, sympathy, cynicism, indifference, resignation and hope in infinitely variable amounts.Russ
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