New Orleans: White Man’s Burden


Go to Amardeep’s blog for some well deserved outrage at the Bruce Sterling post in Wired, which pours misplaced sarcasm on India’s offer of help after Katrina and then goes on to quote Kipling’s racist poem, Gunga Din!” Yes, its true. What is with these people? Ngugi has an essay on Z-mag about the constant comparison of Katrina to a Third World” disaster:

The American citizen has been stewing in nationalism, manifest destiny and the myth of the democratic society that errors but never oppresses or marginalizes for so long that even a natural disaster cannot be seen and understood outside this lens. And the fact that most of the victims are predominantly poor and African American is not being understood as a creation of very specific domestic policies and conservative ideologies; it has to be filtered through the Third World”. As if a disaster from that part of the world” somehow managed to sneak through the porous Mexican borders.

He moves on to Bush’s speeches:

It is interesting therefore to look at President Bush’s remarks after touring New Orleans on September 2nd after four days of inaction. His first sentence was I’ve just completed a tour of some devastated country”. A detached statement but it gets worse a little later he says I know the people of this part of the world are suffering…” and he goes on to talk about how progress is being made. Then he says The people in this part of the world have got to understand…” Shortly after this, he says You know, I’m going to fly out of here in a minute, but I want you to know that I’m not going to forget what I’ve seen” and again refers to his constituents as good folks of this part of the world”. It is almost as if he is in a different country consoling its citizenry. He himself is so detached about what is happening in the very country he leads that he refers to it as this part of the world”. As far as I know, no one in the mainstream media picked this up, they too are reporting on that part of the world”.

Also, look at Kerim’s post on the language of Katrina.