Tuesday, May 26, 2009

in response to cal thomas

i was reading cal thomas' article in the times picayune today with clenched fists and vein popping anger. he was basically writing in defense of "enhanced interrogation" techniques, as if this orwellian turn of phrase might somehow hide the fact that the bush administration sanctioned torture. we, the united states; ever mindful of other countries' human rights abuses, hypocritically engaged in the very same activities that we have criticized others over. in the article, he takes obama to task for wanting to alter these barbaric practices. he cites that the president stated that enemy troops surrendered because they knew they would be treated fairly but makes the point that they raised the white flag out of fear instead. i find fault with that logic. in world war two, u.s soldiers were brutal when it came to the treatment of japanese soldiers. they often tortured and killed those japanese that surrendered. the response was not more mass surrenders, it was the birth of the kamakazi. faced with insufficient fuel to return home, japanese pilots crashed their planes into american ships, rather than risk falling into american hands, where death would most likely come slowly.
we claim to be fighting terrorists for our way of life. well, our way of life should not condone barbaric acts of torture, where men are forced into contorted positions for hours on end or deprived of sleep for days at a time. they are left to freeze, starved, beaten, and sensory deprived. some of these people are united states' citizens that have never been charged with a crime. i shudder to think of what agonizing hell their lives have become. and what of the american soldiers that carry out these so called enhanced interrogation techniques? how can you ask of them to shed their humanity and engage in brutal acts of torture, only to send them home again, where they are expected to miraculously integrate back into society. torture does not just hurt the victim, it slowly destroys the abuser. how can you ever lift a child up with tender hands after beating a man half to death. how can you ever be whole again? if there is evil in the world that threatens us, is it right to do evil to combat it? and if we defeat it, who then protects the world from us, when we have become the very thing we feared and hated. america, we are the bully.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

if we can't get money from a democrat...

i voted for obama. i happily voted for obama. i utilized my powers of democracy, in part because i fully expected that louisiana would get money for coastal restoration. i was wrong.
the louisiana coastline is the fastest disappearing land mass in the world. we are losing the land more rapidly than the amazon rain forest. every ten months, an area the size of manhattan slips away.
without coastal restoration, new orleans is doomed. it will not matter how high they build the levees, if we are sitting in the middle of the gulf of mexico.
i love this city and the bush administration nearly finished what the failed levees started, with their inept response and failure to appropriate proper funding for coastal restoration. i looked to obama. i am still looking.
state officials were looking to the obama administration for money to begin 10 major coastal restoration projects at a cost of 1.2 to 1.9 billion. the obama administration is only allocating 25 million for the plan.
hurricane season begins june 1st and once again, we find ourselves in the most precarious of positions. our levees still are not up to par and the miles and miles of wetlands that once lay between new orleans and hurricanes has all but slipped into the ocean. we need action. we need money, not empty promises. the clock is ticking and if we can't get money from a democrat, who the hell can we get it from?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

looking for the peace time

in my mind i am picturing 5,000 people marching on city hall in protest of our crime problem. above the fray, i can see a white banner flying with the letters "sos" written in splattered red, like so much blood washing the new orleans' streets. in one week, more people were killed here than died in iraq. this is a war zone. i do not remember ever joining the army or signing up to fight and yet i have been on a 14 year long tour of duty and my god, but the things i have seen. there was a man i watched be beaten to death. the sixteen year old with his brains splattered all over frenchmen street and his pregnant sister bleeding in the car nearby. there were two guys that crashed into charity hospital as a result of gunshot wounds that i saw on my way to work one fine spring day. the boy shot in the leg. the little girl shot in the ankle. the kid blown of his motorcycle. and damn but if the list does not go on and on. after the storm, i stood looking at all the destruction and for the first time the city looked like the war zone it had so long been. there was an eerie quiet after the storm. no gunshots. no screaming mothers. i thought, maybe the peace will hold and we can go on without the war. then the drug dealers came back, lured by the prospect of hungry contractors with fast cash burning holes in their pockets. i don't remember when i heard my first gunshot after katrina, only that it startled me in a way i think no noise ever had or will again. the peace was broken. the war was back on and the names of victims started to grow. i don't know all of them. i don't know all of their faces. there have been so many. but i did know helen hill and wendy byrnes. i did know others. it seems that nothing changes here. people shoot and kill and if someone witnesses the murder, they are either intimidated(blown up vehicles and such) into silence or murdered. the latest casualties appear to be an elderly couple, shot to death in their lower ninth ward home in an apparent attempt to silence their nephew who was scheduled to testify in an upcoming trial. the wife was found in the bedroom clutching a knife and i can only imagine the fear and horror she must have felt, hearing her husband killed in the next room, knowing what was coming for her. and for what? for fucking what? all because her nephew was trying to do the right thing. we so rarely do the right thing here. gunshots? oh well, roll over and go back to sleep. drug dealers? what drug dealers? i didn't see anything. and if you do go to the police, nine times out of ten, they fuck it up anyway. so you want to do the right thing and testify? good luck. it might just get you or someone you love killed. that's how it goes down in new orleans. meanwhile our mayor is trying to remember if his first class trip to jamaica was paid by someone else and our city council has disintegrated into a damn day care center with bickering and back biting. riley...fucking riley never seems to take responsibility for anything. you know what guys? the ship is sinking. it's fucking sinking and i'm not sure we can bail the damn water out fast enough to save us.

Friday, May 8, 2009

looking for katrina tattoos

i am working on a book featuring katrina tattoos so if you or someone you know has that kind of a tattoo and also a story about their katrina or post-katrina experiences, then please contact me. you can either post a comment here or reach me at faolnua@gmail.com. i am looking for what it is about the city of new orleans that makes people love it so that they would tattoo their bodies over it. so, let me know!! spread the word. thanks.