01 september 2005
Don't be so stingy!
Hurricane Katrina has inflicted massive human and material damage on the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Thousands may have died. More than 80% of the city of New Orleans is under water. The city of Biloxi, Mississippi has been washed away. Millions of Americans lost their homes or have no electricity or drinking water. People won't be able to return home for a very long time. Cleaning up and rebuilding will take months or even years.
It seems to me that people have not grasped the full magnitude of the disaster. To give my Belgian readers an idea: imagine that half of the population of Belgium is without electricity and that the whole city of Brussels is under water and needs to be rebuilt. Pretty horrific, isn't it?
We, rightly, helped the victims of the tsunami, so what is preventing our government and our media to pledge money and show some 'solidarity'? Ok, America is a rich country, but sending a symbolic number of aid workers or a message that we, as a country, care, wouldn't hurt, would it? Certainly now that our media are reporting that poverty has risen for the fourth consecutive time in the US and that many people are actually not insured against this kind of catastrophe. I only found that foreign minister Karel De Gucht has made an offer of "aid"; I haven't seen or heard a message on behalf of the Belgian population from prime minister Verhofstadt.
But hey, it is probably all Bush's fault and after all, didn't the three affected states vote for Bush at the last election? To hell with them then? Well, they have been seeing hell, so don't let us be so stingy. Has the anti-American propaganda perverted our minds to that extent that we have become indifferent to the plight of that people to whom we owe so much?