Sadness, Anger & Hope in the Wake of Katrina Print
Dear Friends in the Struggle for Peace and Justice,

As reports continue to come from the Gulf, we continue to be saddened and angered by what we hear.

As Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf Coast we received reports from SOA Watch activists who were stranded. Some could not leave and some stayed to be with those who had no way of leaving. In the days that followed, after the levees broke, we continued to hear from friends in New Orleans who were trapped in the city. The reports were difficult to hear.

We also learned that over the last three years the monies that were allotted to reinforce the levees in New Orleans were cut by the Bush Administration as the budgets increased for Homeland Security and the Pentagon. We see U.S.-funded wars waged in places like Colombia and Iraq resulting in great loss of life. We see the funding of military training schools, like the SOA, resulting in Latin American soldiers returning home to bring suffering to their own people. We are angered that money for fixing the levees was cut and resources to assist survivors did not materialize in the days that followed Katrina. New Orleans was destroyed not by Hurricane Katrina, but by levees that could have been fixed.

We see National Guard Units in Iraq while we needed to see them and their equipment at home. Our anger grew as we learned of how many people were trapped and how many people would continue to die because rescuers were not on the way.

The federal government abandoned black people and poor people. The media showed images of people of color carrying food and reported that they were ?looters;? nearly identical images of white people finding food carried captions describing the people as ?finding food.?

Clearly, institutional racism in our government caused people to die, and institutional racism in the media criminalized people of color as they were struggling to survive.

SOA Watch adds its voice to the outrage that millions are feeling in our country now. We demand accountability from a government that would take our money to fund a murderous foreign policy in the Persian Gulf while neglecting our infrastructure at home ? neglect that is responsible for killing thousands on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

SOA Watch believes that our country would be more secure by no longer training assassins in the Americas and by no longer sending our troops to wage war on people of color abroad. We believe that a true homeland security will be achieved not by funding war, but by supporting a global security where our country?s deteriorating infrastructure is repaired and all around the globe people have access to education, a living wage and healthcare.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we were inspired to hear your stories of the true heroism, generosity and mutual aid that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In recent days you?ve shared with us how you?ve taken this struggle for life into your own hands. You told us that some of you were in the Gulf and continue to remain there adding your hands to the thousands who stayed to help others. We continue to hear that many of you are coordinating food and clothing drives, that you?re finding housing for displaced people in your area or that you?ve left for the Gulf with groups like Veterans for Peace to volunteer in some of the areas that need our help most.

We will all continue to assist the survivors in the Gulf, to find homes for the displaced and to respond to this catastrophe as we hold onto our anger and sadness. We will carry our outrage and grief as we demonstrate in Washington this September ? and we will take it with us as we remember and resist at the gates of Fort Benning this November 18-20.

We are a part of the millions in our country who believe that love is more powerful than prejudice, that hope will prevail over despair and that our hands united are building a world where respect for life triumphs over political interest.

Yours in the Struggle for Life,

Asha, Carmen, Christy, Eric, Hendrik, John, Pam and Roy
The SOA Watch Staff