Some time ago, I pretty much stopped writing about Iraq. I’m sad for the Iraqis whose lives have been thrown into the abyss; I’m appalled by the sectarian mayhem and human atrocities; I’m livid at my government, whose lack of planning for a post-invasion Iraq led to the entire mess.
And I’m utterly helpless to affect the situation there one way or another.
Of course, I’ve never been to Baghdad. I haven’t walked its streets and felt its soul. I didn’t go to school there, nor do I have long-standing childhood friends to bind my heart to the city’s fortunes.
I can’t say that about New Orleans.
Yesterday, C Ray Nagin popped out of wherever it is he keeps himself these days, and said that “enough is enough”; he’s “drawing a line in the sand”, and that “one murder is one too many”… and for the first time since Katrina, I felt despair.
What’s going to be different from September 2005? Or in March 2006? Or June? Or from every other time the leaders of the city were going to “fix” this?
Nothing. Violent crime isn’t just “up” in New Orleans. It’s anarchy.
More training and more police until they come back to “pre-Katrina strength”? Pffftttt! Don’t give me that song and dance! The force is down 400 officers, yes — but it’s responsible for 60% fewer people!
What really galls me, though, is the ongoing madness of the business owners and tourism industry there, who resisted a curfew because it might have an impact on potential visitors’ perception of the city. Sounds to me like they’re trying to “stay the course”, eh?
Less lait for the café, please, so they can wake up!
The perception of the city is that it’s a war zone already, and that the city leaders are either unable or unwilling to take the drastic necessary steps to provide security to its citizens. You know… like they needed in Baghdad.
I read a lot about how the Iraqis need to “step up” and “take charge” of their destinies — how there’s no point in continuing on this path until they assume ownership of their internal problems — and oddly enough, I hear that about New Orleanians, too.
“They elected Nagin”, folks say. “They asked for it”.
Okay then — tomorrow, there’s a march planned in New Orleans.
PLEASE join in the anti-crime march on Thursday, January 11th. And ask everyone that you know to participate. It’s so important for the survival of our community that all facets of the community are represented and are committed to coming together.
The “ENOUGH! Stop the Violence” March will begin at 11:30 at the foot of Canal Street near the Aquarium. People are asked to begin gathering at 11.
Participants will march to City Hall where a rally will take place at noon.
Don’t let crime kill the heart of New Orleans!
Crime is killing New Orleans, but it’s been dying a slow death for a long time, and without invasive and massive intervention, I don’t know what will stop this. Unfortunately, I don’t think the city’s leadership has what it takes to change the outcome here.
I hope I’m wrong…. because I don’t want to stop writing about New Orleans, too.
* * * * *
Long as it is, this post feels incomplete. I need to share with you some of the terrible heartache that’s pouring out of the city.
Scared, angry, and sad. That about covers it. I love my home. I love it the way only a native French Creole can. I also miss it terribly. More and more fear this to be a dark mirror held up to the already flawed face of New Orleans. It would not shock me to find that Spock has a beard.
I simply do not know if can continue here. We shall see …
Am I making excuses for the killers out there? Absolutely not. They are lost to us now in most cases, I fear. I don’t think we can undo the damage of twenty years anymore than we can undo the horror these kids are unleashing. I am only saying that we are all so shaken up, so SHOCKED by the recent spate of killings here in our city, and we shouldn’t be. It’s been coming for a long time. What the hell did we think would happen when these kids grew up?
From Mr. Clio
For the first time since Katrina and the levee failures and the governmental failures, the words “We’re outta here” fell from the lips of both Dr. Mrs. Clio and me yesterday. We’re not making any radical moves or anything, but it’s just dark.
And from Editor B, whose writing has been breaking my heart:
I can’t help but feel responsible for your mother’s death. No, I didn’t pull the trigger. That was the act of some deranged individual. But that individual was a product of a society, my society. It was for love of this society that your parents came back against the odds. It was our violent society that killed your mother. I’m so sorry for that betrayal.