A french paper I read online has an article today describing the response of the media to the Katrina disaster:
To paraphrase, they're saying that the European media is "unanimous" in showing the "third world" (a phrase that they quote many times from many European sources) nature of United States, as exemplified by the chaos after Katrina. They go on to mention the pillagers "humiliating" the police and the superdome looking like a refugee camp.La presse européenne est unanime : le cyclone Katrina a rendu apparent l'énorme décalage entre la superpuissance technologique des Etats-Unis et son incapacité à faire régner la sécurité après les ravages de Katrina.
"L'Amérique regarde, décontenancée, un tiers-monde dans ses propres frontières, fracassé et violent, écrit le quotidien allemand Die Welt. Des pilleurs armés humilient des policiers en sous-effectifs. Dans le Superdome de La Nouvelle-Orléans (...), 20 000 personnes végètent comme dans un camp pour réfugiés de guerre", ajoute le quotidien conservateur. .
Well. it is a refugee camp. And there is chaos. But the fact is that this is the worst natural disaster to hit this country in 100 years. How many 1,000,000-plus resident cities has Europe lost recently? If a hurricane were to strike, say, the Netherlands and leave Rotterdamn or something under 20 feet of water, what would that look like? Would there be some orderly evacuation of smiling displaced persons into some imaginary backup city of emergency housing somewhere followed by an antiseptic cleanup and everything made right again a week later? Or would there be destruction, disease, chaos, refugees, and all the other horrible things that accompany all cataclysmic disasters, no matter where they occur?
I think my problem is that I simply can not comprehend the European mindset. Do they think we're so powerful that we're some kind of superhumans whom nature can not hurt? Are they deluded into thinking that they're like that too, and need a major natural disaster in their own backyard inform them that they're not? Perhaps it's another case of Europe thinking they know the US better than they do. Maybe they've not come to terms with how huge this disaster is, and how big a city New Orleans was.
Whatever the answer though, I'm getting really sick of the ignorant, narrow-minded comments coming out of the peanut-gallery on the other side of the pond.