Posted by Brian at 12:04 AM
Publius Channels Orwell
From Legal Fiction:
The invisible statistics have materialized into visible breathing people wasting away at the New Orleans Convention Center. On this issue of poverty, Brown said something that I found very revealing on Nightline. He said that part of the problem was that FEMA was not expecting so many people to have remained in the city. After the hurricane passed, thousands suddenly appeared out of the woodwork so to speak and no one knew they were there. But these people have always been there -- they were just invisible to most of us (myself included). But when you do see (when you are forced to see) the scale and magnitude of the poverty in New Orleans, it makes you wonder why the richest nation in the history of the planet Earth would allow so many to live in such squalid conditions. And you wonder what exactly that says about our values.
Orwell, from Marrakech:
When you walk through a town like this--two hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom at least twenty thousand own literally nothing except the rags they stand up in--when you see how the people live, and still more how easily they die, it is always difficult to believe that you are walking among human beings. All colonial empires are in reality founded upon that fact. The people have brown faces--besides, there are so many of them! Are they really the same flesh as yourself? Do they even have names? Or are they merely a kind of undifferentiated brown stuff, about as individual as bees or coral insects? They rise out of the earth, they sweat and starve for a few years, and then they sink back into the nameless mounds of the graveyard and nobody notices that they are gone....
But what is strange about these people is their invisibility. For several weeks, always at about the same time of day, the file of old women had hobbled past the house with their firewood, and though they had registered themselves on my eyeballs I cannot truly say that I had seen them. Firewood was passing--that was how I saw it. It was only that one day I happened to be walking behind them, and the curious up-and-down motion of a load of wood drew my attention to the human being underneath it. Then for the first time I noticed the poor old earth-coloured bodies, bodies reduced to bones and leathery skin, bent double under the crushing weight.