Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Watery Vengeance

sourced from: www.doonesbury.com

The last twelve months have been a procession of mass murders. Beginning with the Tsunami that drowned out whole cities with lashing waves, waters have swept into region after region - China, Europe, India, and now, United States. They're pouring and flooding with an uncanny regularity, claiming more lives, more land, more pain.

Till now, each time they struck hard, what came out stronger was the spirit of the people who donated money, materials, manpower, support and anything else they thought would help. At least, that was the case till the latest blow came from Katrina.

The images from a submerged New Orleans show only despair and horror - there seems to be little to soften the blow: relief too slow to give hope, gangs too rampant to allow peace, police force too feeble to give strength. The apathy of those in positions of power, who can make a difference, is unbelievable - far from responding with compassion, they have failed even in their duty.

It's the Titanic all over again - each man for himself - unless of course, you happen to be a first class citizen, in which case you row out in a lifeboat or leave town in a car, while others wait for a backup plan that simply doesn't exist.

Welcome to the Government of Today, which has forgotten why it had the right to collect taxes. They are not paid for the rich to become richer. Nor for increasing the bottomlines of corporates. Not even for the GDP to get higher. Economy, important though it is, is simply a means to an ends called humanity. It is not a proxy for the people, but a support system. And if a nation cannot even try to improve its people's lot, it has no business pompoming its riches.

Had it made any effort in the Katrina catastrophe, we would not be reading of patients killed in hospitals for lack of evacuation plans, of women raped in a stadium as they waited for food and water for days, of Red Cross being requested to keep away from places where people were dying (It was too dangerous to go to, apparently, even though the storm was over). If the US adminitration's own conscience cannot move it to help out, let's hope that at least public outrage will.

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