Thursday, August 31, 2006

When the Levees Broke

I'm loathe to get political on CineRobot but after watching When the Levees Broke, a recently shown on HBO documentary by Spike Lee that chronicles Hurricane Katrina and its ghastly aftermath, I have to mention certain politicians after seeing it.

What struck me as I watched this is that the hurricane did a tremendous amount of damage to the city but it can’t compare to the damage done by the federal government, FEMA, inept local politicians, the Army Corps of Engineers, insurance companies, some neighborhood never do wells and a host of other people after the storm. As usual in cases like this, those that have paid the price have been decent, tax-paying, insurance buying people from children to senior citizens.

When the Levees Broke is a riveting four hours that will make you completely angry and boil your blood regarding what happened during and after Katrina to these people. The one-year mark just passed the other day and President Bush made grand statements about “never forgetting” and “rebuilding” the city—but his words are so unbelievably hollow in the face of his actions during this disaster that it makes me sick to my stomach. Bush's disregard for these people is tantamount to a criminal act in my opinion. Sure, the mayor and governor were incompetent too but the president should have taken control IMMEDIATELY when he saw that these events were over their heads. That is what presidents are supposed to do, right? They are supposed to take the initiative in a disaster situation, right? Bush didn't. Bush failed these people.

I don’t know why the government has held these people in such disregard or contempt since the disaster but I’ll wager a guess: class and race. These are largely poorer people who also happen to be African-Americans and let’s be honest here—poor, black people don’t quite register with this administration. Had these neighborhoods been full of wealthy white people the levees would have never been allowed to get dirty much less break. This is just one more example of Bush’s lack of concern with a segment of the American population and it’s kind of sickening to see from an American president.

Lee has assembled a diverse and varied collection of individuals who either lived through the disaster or have some level of expertise to the region. The anger and pain in most of these people is so palpable that it jumps from the TV screen. When the Levees Broke is a mesmerizing documentary that is horrific and painful to watch, it’s also surprisingly inspiring to witness the resolve of the New Orleans people as they face down a government that doesn’t really give a damn about them, their histories or their future.

6 comments:

kapgar said...

I've never heard of this. Commercially available?

Replicant said...

HBO just screened it last week over two nights. I'm sure it will be out on DVD at some point.

It's great but will make yr blood boil how these people have been forgotten and ignored and cheated by FEMA and insurance companies.

Jory-san said...

in your opinion, is this situation, so black and white? there's no gray to it? (i mean black and white literally and figuratively)

Replicant said...

i'd like to say there's some grey here but watching this and seeing the incredible ineptitude of the federal/local government is hard to ponder. there is NO excuse for the government to not get these people water and food for over a week.

and the insurance companies are cheating people out of the money they are owed due to loopholes in their policies such as--they are covered for hurricane but not a flood, well, the hurricane caused massive flooding damage but the insurance company says "we aren't paying for flood damage" and they get away with it! insurance companies are pretty much scumbags anyway in my opinion and what they are doing is another example of many you can find how they try to cheat the people that have faithfully paid on a policy when they actually need help. i could go on and on...

Laura said...

I can't even watch this stuff anymore. I haven't seen AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH or WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? for the same reason.

Replicant said...

i'll watch WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? this week at the circle and get riled up i'm sure. maybe i should stop watching these muckraking docs too w/ all the heart trouble that has been in my family recently.