Saturday, September 02, 2006


New Orleans, "the city that care forgot," is the subject of a new documentary by Spike Lee, which Lenin has posted on Youtube.

At the European premiere of When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Acts, Lee said:

"On August 29 [President] Bush returned to the Gulf Coast, had a couple of fake, bogus press photo ops and was telling people that New Orleans is back, it’s on the move, the rebuilding process is under way. Do not believe that.

“In many places in New Orleans, it still looks like the hurricane was yesterday. Many areas have no electricity, no water, no gas. Only 25 per cent of the population still live there. The other 75 per cent are spread out across the United States and have no means to come home.

“This is one of the reasons why I made this film. This is not just a historical document. What you see in the film is still happening. That’s why I say this film is an incomplete work. It can’t be complete when New Orleans isn’t complete.

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people. Many people think it had nothing to do with race, it had more to do with class. You have a large population who happened to be poor, and if they did vote they didn’t vote Republican anyway.

“New Orleans was a predominantly African-American city, and its black citizens were dispersed to 46 other states. People want to come home, but there’s nowhere for them to live. They want to work.

“The thing is just all messed up. Hopefully, this documentary will bring this fiasco, this travesty, back to the attention of the American people."

The film is four hours long and I am about a quarter of the way through. It is a truly heartbreaking and tragic story, and if I can implore you to do anything this weekend, I would implore you to watch it. The story is told mainly by the people who were trapped inside the city as Katrina hit - a man whose dead mother's body was left to rot in his house for four days; a woman whose mother, in need of medication for heart problems, was slowly dying in the stifling heat of the N.O. Superdrome; a woman who, upon phoning the operator, was told that the emergency services were not accepting calls.

The President and the Government are shown to be not just callous or indifferent, but actually oblivious to human suffering. This is evident in its operations across the world, but so many people on this documentary say that they never thought they would see such cruelty meted out by the authorities to Americans citizens.

Please watch this film, even if you think you realise that the world is a fucked-up place. Such a realisation can get ossified if you don't get an occasional stab of reality. This film gives you that stab - there is nothing pleasurable about it, but it is reality, and it should not be avoided.


Blogger minifig said...

you're right - it's a really well-done documentary - I'm not far through it, but god, it's depressing (but, clearly, for good reason).

6:10 PM  
Anonymous arale said...

Thanks for the recommendation, it's appalling to see such amounts of negligence from the Federal Government and knowing they tend to fade from the memories of those not directly affected. It's always the same...and that's why Lee's work is to be praised and promoted.

9:22 AM  

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