The words in the title are instructions the New Orleans Police Department gave to residents of the city in the wake of Katrina. A.C. Thompson of The Nation tells a chilling tale about all this in an article titled Katrina’s Hidden Race War. I know that many of you Dharmaniacs travel the tubes quite extensively, so perhaps you’ve seen this story and the video Thompson made about it. But just in case some of you haven’t, I wanted to write about it here.
If we go back to those horrific days in September 2005 after the storm, we can all remember the media’s focus on Black people “looting.” That kind of fear-mongering mixed with racism was enough for one small and mostly white area of New Orleans, Algiers Point, to form a militia and take up open season on Black men.
Thomson spent 18 months talking to victims, shooters, witnesses, police officers, forensic pathologists, firefighters, historians, medical doctors and private citizens in an attempt to piece together the story of what happened during those dreadful days. The whole article is long, but I highly recommend reading it in addition to watching the video.
There are many who are complicit in these crimes in addition to those who used the circumstances as an excuse to open fire on Black men. There are the police whose response ranged from open participation, to condoning it, and finally to turning their backs on any process to investigate what happened. There’s the media who, as I mentioned above, fueled the hysteria about looting which was all the spark these folks seemed to need to launch a race war. And now, there’s the silence from all responsible parties in the lack of any attempt to pursue justice about these crimes. I guess Bush and Cheney are not the only ones in this country who are good at sweeping murder under the rug.
But if you can handle signing another petition, the folks at Color of Change have written a letter to Governor Jindal and Attorney General Caldwell.
I urge you to push for the identification of victims of these crimes, prosecution of the perpetrators, full cooperation with any federal inquiries, and aggressive investigations into the role of local law enforcement officials in committing and suppressing the exploration of these crimes.
After you’ve watched the video and read the article, I hope you’ll join me in heading over there to sign the petition.
In conclusion, I’d just like to say that today I feel the weight of the wrongs in this country that need to be righted. Whether its War Crimes that have been committed in our name, an out-of-control prison industrial complex, violence against our LGBT brothers and sisters, or vigilantes free to start race wars, we’ve got our work cut out for us. So hang in there and take care of your soul…we need every one of you!!!