Monday, September 05, 2005

"Let the niggers drown"

In the world's greatest nation (TM), the rich ran away while the poor were left to swim or die. The leader -- a word entirely debased by the incumbent president, a man who could not lead a conga if he had the road pointed out to him -- strums his guitar as thousands die. The world looks on horrified as New Orleans descends into chaos, the government stumbles and people die in the streets, their bodies left to rot. The most poignant moment will be hearing the mayor break down in tears, begging the clowns who stole power in the US to do something. They have at least finally done what they specialise in: sending in troops to shoot the locals.

Why can't they rescue them? said Mrs Zen, as we watched pictures of the people stranded in New Orleans. Sadly, they spent all their money killing Arabs, I pointed out to her.

This would not happen in our nations. We have strong societies, despite the depradations of neoliberals, and our disaster plans run a little deeper than scratching our arses and wondering whether there's something we can bomb to make things better. Our societies have their divisions and inequalities, but we do not, would not, leave the blacks to drown as we leg it to higher ground. (How can you be content to live in a nation where inequality is *so* entrenched that when some are whining that they have to pay prices for petrol less than half what we pay in Australia, which is half what you'd pay in the UK, many -- seemingly all black, if the pictures we're seeing are anything to go by -- cannot afford to buy a car? This means they are entirely excluded from one of history's most notable credit booms, when banks are practically shovelling it out of the door. Of course, we know, many *do* have cars, but have nowhere to go: no family to stay with, no place where they feel they can get food and shelter. That's not actually a better reflection on America.) We do not cut taxes for the rich and then spend whatever we raise on guns, so that we no longer have money to prevent our cities from being destroyed by the weather, which we know will from time to time turn sour on us. (Yes, England is occasionally knocked for six by storms, but they are rarely bad, and we rally very quickly. When the '87 hurricanes destroyed the power grid in southern England, it took a day for the water tender to arrive at my university. America knows to expect hurricanes.) We pitch in and show our "bulldog spirit" when the chips are down. We have not so structured our societies, so managed our world, that the locals' first thought in a crisis is to steal a TV. (The regressives will of course be thinking that this is just what blacks do when the coppers aren't around -- show me a rightist who isn't a racist in his heart! Racism is largely what drives their beliefs in the first place -- but the rest of us realise that if you exclude a group of people sufficiently from the good life, the society you are part of, you cannot be surprised when they act as though they are not part of it when the hammer falls.)

"I am absolutely disgusted. After the tsunami our people, even the ones who lost everything, wanted to help the others who were suffering," Sajeewa Chinthaka, 36, as he watched a cricket match in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

"Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is."

Even the third world thinks the US is the third world.

And I am still awaiting an explanation of how the market, which can automagically resolve all the world's ills, is going to fix this one.


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