05 June 2006

FEMA's Race War Against Black New Orleans Continues

The brutal, heavy-handed response by Uncle Sam - FEMA in particular - to Hurricane Katrina's Black victims presented radicals with a grim reality. To anyone who cared to notice, FEMA exposed itself not as a well-meaning institution who mismanaged the disaster but rather as one aimed at controlling and brutalizing the victims of the tragedy.

At every turn, FEMA's promises gave the victims hope. And at every turn, its broken promises produced greater hopelessness. It was a textbook psychological warfare operation executed with military precision.

From the promises of water and buses, to the fake debit cards, to the concentration-like conditions into which victims were forced, to efforts to sabotage any attempts to withstand the storm, to the deliberate scattering of 300,000 internally displaced people across the nation like modern-day slaves - every action taken by Uncle Sam was meant as an attack on the heart of Black culture.

Hurricane Katrina was 9/11 for Uncle Sam's Black population, and FEMA comandeered the planes.

This deliberate assault by FEMA against Black people continues to the present. Last week, the New York Times reported:
A federal judge in Houston declined to issue a temporary restraining order that would force the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue financing its rental-assistance housing program for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. The judge, David Hittner of Federal District Court, found that the lawyers representing evacuees against the agency had failed to meet all four conditions required by law to compel a restraining order.
The Washington Post elaborated on this most recent attack on Katrina's internally displaced vitims:
Last month, FEMA began issuing letters to thousands of evacuees telling them their aid would be terminated. The vouchers are to end Wednesday in most of the country and on June 30 in 11 Texas jurisdictions, including Austin, Dallas and Houston.

That decision... will create "widespread homelessness" and violates FEMA's statutory obligations to provide temporary housing assistance to hurricane victims.

FEMA's decisions on which evacuees to move into a housing assistance program with more rigorous requirements are "arbitrary, inconsistent and inequitable," the lawsuit contends. "As a result, FEMA is creating an opportunity to discontinue its housing assistance for tens of thousands of people."

Sixty-two members of the House filed a brief last week supporting the suit. It says that FEMA "continues to engage in a process that is marked by inefficiency, a lack of discernable standards and seeming disregard for the plight of the vulnerable survivors who are depending on the aid that FEMA is statutorily obligated to provide."
One should hardly be surprised by FEMA's actions. Nor should FEMA's response surprise anyone:
Aaron Walker, a FEMA spokesman in Washington, declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing agency policy regarding pending litigation...

"There's a number of reasons, reasonable and logical reasons, people are found ineligible" for continued housing assistance, Walker said. "We genuinely aren't in an effort to have people without housing"...
Of course Walker will not say, "yeah, FEMA has intentionally created a system of bureaucratic anarchy specifically designed to force Black people on the street." It's just the effect. The Post piece continues:
Many rulings of ineligibility were wrong, according to the lawsuit and officials working with evacuees. Some evacuees were told that their homes in New Orleans were not damaged enough to qualify them for continued assistance or that their old houses or apartments are habitable. Some were told that their paperwork was incomplete or that they did not meet certain requirements. Others were given no reason.

Those determinations, said LaTosha Brown, executive director of the Saving Our Selves Coalition in Atlanta, has displaced Louisianans panicked and landlords -- who were told by FEMA that it will no longer honor the housing vouchers -- sending eviction notices for next month."Instead of the government helping, it exacerbates the problem," said Brown, co-founder of the coalition, which is working with Katrina evacuees throughout the Gulf Coast and in Georgia. "There's an insensitivity to where people are emotionally. This is not business as usual. People are still damaged from the debacle."
What people like Brown must realize is that, far from remedying the situtaiton- FEMA's very job, its chief responsibility - is to exacerbate the suffering of those internally displaced by Katrina.

Whether Black people on Sam's Plantation recogize it or not, FEMA escalated the always-existing Race War on behalf of the ruling class against the people of Black New Orleans 6 months ago. And as the economic noose tightens globally around Uncle Sam, they will intensify and continue that war, hand in hand with the Pigs, into Black communities throughout its barbaric nation.

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