Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ethnic Cleansing (10.1.05)

We will always remember from here on out the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. For me, it will begin with redefining and
rearranging old concepts into new ones. In particular is the
concept of ethnic cleansing. I have followed the recent
natural disaster that tore up the gulf coast, especially
New Orleans rather closely.
Ethnic cleansing refers to policies of forcibly removing
people of one ethnic group through actions man made
that can range to cover forced emigration, mass population
transfer and/or genocide. For most historians and
politicians it mainly refers to as the forced expulsion
of an unattractive and unwelcome group of people
from a given area (New Orleans) as a function of racial
discrimination. It was first used exclusively during
the conflict between Serbia and Croatia. Now, given
the recent comments by politicians and other
associated with the New Orleans community,
ethnic cleansing takes on a new meaning.
First, there is House Speaker Dennis Hastert
statement he made to a Chicago newspaper
that it was senseless saying that large areas of
New Orleans look as if they could be bulldozed.
Then there is Mark Drennen, who president of
Greater New Orleans Inc., who has referred to
residents of the damaged area as being a minority
group when in fact African Americans in the city
are the clear majority. Next there is former First
Lady Barbara Bush who stated that by loosing
their homes and being forcibly removed, that
the” underprivileged” were in a situation that
was” working very well for them.”
It will be some time before or if New Orleans as
will resemble its old self. Not only is the estimate of
nearly 200,000 homeless residents is high, President
Bush has proposed the “Urban Homesteading Act”
which really doesn’t do anything about the problem.
The concern is that the minority or approximately 25
percent white community will likely be allowed to
slowly return to the areas that were least damaged
(the French Quarter and the garden District) while
African Americans from the hardest hit areas will
have a more difficult task of retuning given they have
been bussed and transported to places as far away as
Minnesota and Utah. Maybe this is what was meant when
Republican Congressman Richard Baker of Baton said that
that the housing projects were finally cleaned
up--we couldn’t do it, but God did.
What has occurred in the city of New Orleans is a
deliberate and systematic destruction of the urban
African American community. More than 200,000
individuals, mostly African Americans have been removed,
transported and relocated to other parts of the country
under the guise of protection. But then again, that’s the
excuse the Serbs, the Croat’s and the Rwandans used also.

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