But also the locals helped themselves and their neighbors, they looked after each other. Hundreds of Australian tourists were in the areas affected, they pitched in with the locals and were helped in return.
I believe that the Asian people in tsunami-affected areas had a greater tendency to help each other than did the Americans in New Orleans are displaying. This is probably because those people have always had to rely on themselves for their daily survival, while those in New Orleans have come to expect government to have a hand in nearly every aspect of their existence.
Now, human nature being what it is, I'm sure that there was a predatory element in Aceh as well, and that there are also some examples of community to be found among Katrina's survivors. However, if I had to be a victim among one of the two peoples, I'd pick Aceh in a heartbeat.
Many other Australians made the trek to the Superdome only to encounter murders, muggings and rape...To my knowledge, no Australians were so assaulted after the asian tsunami. How can the worlds sole remaining super power, which accords itself the mantle of superior morality perform so badly in comparison?
As an American who believes that moral superiority is what made this country great, the stories of looting, rape and murder (attempted and actual) coming out of New Orleans make me livid. It is my heartfelt prayer that every victim of the lawlessness taking place there will get justice.
The animals that are committing these crimes are not the same Americans who believe in our nation's high moral stature. Rather, they are the product of a politically correct curriculum which preaches the moral bankruptcy of this country; at least, when it isn't preaching that morality is non-existent. What we're seeing on the news, then, is simply the embodiment of liberal values, and the natural tendency of people live up (or down) to the expectations of their communities.
Its not just the anarchy in New Orleans that is appalling people, we've seen numerous talking heads blaming the chaos on the lowest parts of society, that they aren't representative of the USA. I ask how are they measuring this lack of height - money? Social status? Race? And are they not part of America? How a country treats its "lowest rung" in their time of need says much about the society.
Yes, it is the lowest element of society that is taking advantage of the anarchy in New Orleans. I think that one would have to be obtuse not to recognize that. But to define "lowest" empirically? Yes, they're poor, but poverty doesn't make them bad. Yes, they're predominantly black, but I reject the idea that their skin color predisposes them to lawlessness.
I would define the dregs of any society by their attitudes towards those around them. They tend to have the notion that they are owed something for which they have not worked, by virtue of some indirect, often historical offense which may have been real or imagined. It is this sort of mindset which justifies (to them) any act of retribution against "The Man." It matters not, then, who is hurt by their actions. If they hurt their neighbors, they do so out of contempt for "The Man's" laws. The acts of looting and arson, though they may destroy the very neighborhoods they will have to return to, are a blow to the economic mechanisms which empower "The Man."
The very deepest layer of American socioeconomic strata, then, consists entirely of self-made men and women, and for this they deserve no pity. Yet how does this country treat its "lowest rung"? Even in times of normalcy, we provide them with stipends, food, shelter, educational opportunities and medical care. In this time of strife, we are still struggling to bring needed food, water, medicines, shelter and law to these people. This in spite of the fact that the rescuers are being insulted and assaulted by the very people they're trying to help.
In many cultures the working class hold community values in a lot higher esteem than the so-called "better" levels of society. Has rampant free market philosophy infiltrated the American psyche to the extent that anything with no dollar value is worthless? Or perhaps the nanny state has removed peoples coping skills.
I have faith in the working class communities of America. The looters, rapists and people shooting at rescue helicopters and personnel, however, are far more likely to be welfare class than working class. What we are seeing in New Orleans is not the concrete product of a Free Market philosophy, but of a philosophy which posits that the goods in a market ought to be free.
It is unfortunately true that the spirits of self-reliance and community strength have largely disappeared in urban America. Watching the news coverage of the survivors sitting idly, I desperately wish for a leader to emerge. Someone who could give people hope by giving them tasks to fill their time. My god, how simple it should be to get people to collect corpses for burning. The resources to make simple stills shouldn't be too hard to scavenge from the rubble--teach people to make them, and they'll have all the drinking water they need. It has been reported that even the looters have organized into armed, roving gangs. The bad guys can't be the only ones who are armed. Why can't the good people organize their armed individuals to defend themselves and to scavenge for necessary supplies?
It absolutely infuriates me to see people bitch about their situation and then sit idly by waiting for their complaints to be addressed, when there is so much that they could be doing to make their positions a bit more bearable. But I suppose this is to be expected from a people who have grown to depend on government for their survival.
We get the uneasy feeling that this is a microcosm of American society, that you have so plundered and devalued the social contract that the USA can no longer be called a truly civilised country. We see George Bush smirking and playing the guitar, vowing his friend's beachfront mansion will be rebuilt and we wonder what has happened to the USA we used to know.
The televised lawlessness of New Orleans is not a microcosm of American society. It is, if anything, a subculture. These are actions carried out by a tiny, yet very noticable segment of the population.
As for civilization, no matter where you go, what passes for "civilized" is nothing more than a thin veneer over human nature that is rapidly shed in times of desperation.
And if you really want to politicize this disaster, please understand this. The Federal Government of the United States was never intended to be a first responder to natural disasters, nor the primary body which plans for their occurrences. The primary responsibility for the safety of New Orleans' residents lies with its mayor (who, since you're politicizing this tragedy, is a black Democrat.) Yes, he made a good call in ordering a mandatory evacuation of his city, but he fumbled terribly in not using the hundreds of city-owned school busses to facilitate the evacuation.
The next major rung on the responsiblity ladder lies with the governor of Louisiana (who is, I'm sure you'll be interested to know, a female Democrat). What she has done for the people of her state, I have no idea. What she has not done, however, is to set up a command and control structure to coordinate relief efforts.
The last rung on the responsiblity ladder is indeed the Federal government. Yes, a Republican is in charge there. But it has never been the President's job to micromanage anything--not wars, not the economy and certainly not disaster relief.
Yes, relief efforts have been embarassingly ineffective on every level, but it's ridiculous to blame Bush for this, and terribly partisan to focus on him while giving the mayor and governor a pass.
Race is irrelevant 99.999% of the time. And the 0.001% of the time it is relevant, someone is looking for a donated organ.