Monday, September 12, 2005

Not Waving but Drowning.

Were people shooting at helicopters, or signaling for help?

A man from Uptown New Orleans spoke with a lot of bitterness about the reports of looting and shooting that had been put out. He described how he had been on the roof of their home, with his brother, looking out for help, and witnessed some of the incidents with helicopters flying over the city. When the National Guard comes in, he said, "the first thing they want to do is shoot us down and say we’re looting."

"They say the shooting slowed them down. They say someone was shooting at helicopters. I can’t speak for the whole city, but what I saw, that’s not true, at least not at the beginning. People were shooting in the air to try to get attention. It’s like you would shoot off a flare if you had that. We were being ignored. They’d fly right over us. People were trying to get their attention, let them know that somebody’s here who needs to get out. Then they use this to say they can’t do nothing for us. It’s the same with the fires. They say people were starting fires everywhere and trying to burn down the city. People were up on those roofs and in those buildings for days in all that heat and water, and started smoky fires to try to keep some of the mosquitos away. But they try to use anything against us. They say we’re looting and shooting and burning and then that’s their reason for not doing nothing to try to get us out of there, when all we’re doing is trying to survive. They’re not concerned about our well being down here, about our lives. They don’t give a damn, in fact, whether we live or die. And now you can see everywhere they’re sending us is down South, where they got these southern bullshit ways that people in New Orleans don’t go along with. "

"The storm was shocking, it was the most shocking thing of my life. But how they dealt with it made it worse. Those soldiers came in, they wasn’t helping us at all, in fact they was clowning us. They was making fun of the fact that we were so desperate and so hungry. They was clowning, mocking us. I’m not going to forget that."

Revolutionary Worker Online

My headline is the title of a poem by Stevie Smith

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