Fellow Fulbrighter Elisabeth Fraller recommends the Common Dreams Newscenter, especially an article in the Canadian Globe & Mail. It argues: "Every-man-for-himself ethos serves Americans poorly in times of crisis when people must pull together."
In much poorer societies, such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka after the Boxing Day tsunami, or in more polarized societies like Montreal during the 1998 ice storm, scenes of looting, violence and selfish desperation did not occur. But the large U.S. cities of the South have a very different sort of group psychology, in which faith in individual fortune replaces the fixed social roles that keep other places aloft during crises.
While the Katrina crisis brought out the worst in some people, it also brought out the best in many others, as Time Magazin columnist Tony Karon points out:
Continue reading "Some exploit lack of governance, while others step in to organize help"
The State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, Karen Hughes, assumed that the post-storm crime could do the most damage to the U.S. image abroad, writes The Gainville Sun in Florida. Hughes, however, did not describe the flawed relief efforts as a blow to the US image, although much of the global criticism has centered on the Bush administration's response to the storm.
For more world reactions and the impact of the Katrina crisis on the US image, check out the excellent press reviews in the Public Diplomacy Weblog "Eccentric Star," which is edited by a former Foreign Service officer of the US Information Agency.
The inadequate relief efforts have led to huge outrage in the US media. The leading newspapers in the US and in Germany blame primarily the Bush administration. Some argue that the mayor of New Orleans missed many opportunities to evacuate the poor.
The German paper "die tageszeitung" published an anti-American column full of malicous joy.
The American papers summarize US and world reactions, write about obliviousness and "dirty secrests of race and poverty," assume a "big bang" that will change the political culture, and worry about Texas' limited abilities to take care of more refugees as well as about the message the failed evacuation of New Orleans sends to terrorists.
Continue reading "Commentaries on the Katrina disaster"
Here are summaries, quotes and links to the full text of the commentaries: