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     Volume 11 |Issue 44| November 09, 2012 |


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Writing the Wrong

The Subject Tonight is Turbulence

Sharbari Ahmed

US President Barack Obama. Photo: AFP

Manhattan, that formidable borough of a formidable city, was brought to her knees recently, as she kneeled in supplication in nearly five feet of water in some places to a storm christened Sandy. People died, two children were swept beyond the reach of their distraught mother into a marshland on Staten Island, their tiny bodies found more than a day later among the reeds and debris washed far inland. Their mother had begged for help but found the doors and windows shuttered. Some claim they could not hear her hysterical cries for help over the howling of the wind or pounding of the surf. She gave up and sat for 12 hours in a stupor until she could flag down a police vehicle and tell them what had happened. An astonishing New York Magazine cover shows the lower tip of Manhattan blacked out, as the authorities struggle to restore power to over one million residents around the tri-state area. New York State has released $22 million to aid the city. Make no mistake, this was a disastrous storm. Yet, the devastation is less than what Katrina did to the south, especially New Orleans in 2005.

Those were the halcyon days of the Bush Junior Administration who, as we know, did very little to aid the shattered victims of Katrina. Kanye West, a hip-hop and rap artist famously claimed on live TV that George Bush “didn't care about black people”, leaving Mike Meyers of Austin Powers fame looking uncomfortable, and rendered speechless. I find West insufferable, but I feel he might have been right. What I would change it to is, “the President doesn't care about poor people” as it was primarily a certain echelon of American society that was hardest hit in 2005.

US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Photo: AFP

We knew Sandy was coming. The media, for once, did not exaggerate the gravity and potential devastation. What Sandy has done for me personally, besides really stress me out, was that it made me anxious about the elections on Tuesday, November 6th. By the time you read this, either Barack Obama will have been re-elected or Americans will have finally gone off the deep end and voted in a man who, prior to the storm, claimed that he would not support FEMA-- the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Taxis sit in a flooded lot after Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. Photo: AFP

Eerily, ironically, sadly and funnily, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked during a recent debate how he would financially handle a natural disaster. He stated: "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardising the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids."

In May 2006 New England dealt with severe flooding, leaving many people homeless. According to the Daily Kos Governor Romney flew into the hardest hit places and did nothing. It was for a photo opportunity. The state of Massachusetts was sitting on millions of Hurricane Katrina aid and yet none of it was siphoned off to help the flood victims. The Lowell Sun asked at the time: If ignoring the pleas of legislators and constituents is the way Romney's going to handle a crisis situation, why would anyone vote for him for president? How would he handle a national crisis, by flying in for photo ops and then hiding in his White House office?

The editors of the Lowell Sun ask an imperative question, one that I hope Americans have not ignored. If you have not, then okay let us try and keep President Obama bold and not so drone happy, and let's hope that not having a re-election hanging over him will force him to do the right thing where Israel and Palestine are concerned. Among other things.

As of right now, however, it is still inexplicably a close race and fears of voter fraud in Florida loom large. Obama leads electorally by a decent margin but as my mother says, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip.

America, if you have ignored your good sense, then God help you! Either way, we will be in a state of disaster recovery for years to come.


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