Friday, August 25, 2006

The big difference

The American media is full of "one year after Katrina" articles. In many ways they remind me of the few and far between "one year after Disengagement" articles here in Israel.

There are standard human reactions to losing one's home, stability etc and it doesn't matter if it's due to "natural disaster" or the perverse cruelty of politicians. So the "ordinary person" is suffering in both places. The parallels are unsurprising.

The big difference is that for all practical purposes, the American government was totally taken by surprise, so they couldn't prepare alternative housing etc, while the Israeli Government totally planned the forced evacuation of Gush Katif and Northern Shomron. They did it with eerie efficiency, reminiscent of Nazi planning. That was to remove people, to get them out of their homes.

Then everything fell apart once the buses left. There was no place to bring the refugees to. It was just like Katrina, when people just fled the flood and didn't know where they were going. In the states that was expected, since there wasn't any time to prepare temporary housing. But in Israel, Sharon and Olmert knew perfectly well that there would be a certain number of people, including the elderly and infants, and they would need permanent housing and schools, etc.

Even though officially the Gush Katif residents weren't cooperating, behind the scenes there were negotiations. Most communities begged to be preserved in new locations, but the government refused.

And for the rest of the world, one year is a long time, and the fickle public is more concerned with the Lebanese, as if their suffering is worse than that of the Israelis who were bombed by the Hezbollah from Lebanese homes. But that's another story...


Anonymous said...

The news is full of Katrina because the media wants to keep shoving it down our throats that so many poor minority people were is a politically correct game to show injustice and to continue to hammer at the Bush Admin and FEMA. Mind you, it is seldom mentioned that all people were told to leave the gulf coast, but many insisted on staying. Most people really don't care to hear about it...our tax dollars were squandered and people ripped off the system. The good hard-working people have managed to pull their lives together and move on, while others are still wallering in self pity. Pathetic...because we don't hear much about the hard-working citizens who lost everything and have worked hard to rebuild or re-establish life.

Batya said...

Yes, the editors fill the paper with articles and pictures to suit their private agendas.