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Le Grand Dérangement

September 09, 2005

Much like the rest of the globe I too have been examining any detail to be found on Hurricane "Corina" and its aftermath. Like some of the globe I have also been trying really hard not to post every striking detail on this blog. There are so many heiny-holes being ripped open and so much crap spilling out of each one that even the act of reading has become unbearably frustrating. Assurances that my donation will be put to wise use have only left me feeling anxious, it was but a humble amount and I know it will not be enough. In fact, I know that all proceeds put together have a good chance of failing the lives that have been uprooted and have been denied basic amenities and liberties. I am not pointing fingers, I am not taking sides with either political scale. Not my battle, not my war. Instead, I will bring you the Canadian contribution (whatever little of it I can find on the interweb).

It is reassuring to me that, even in the midst of being pummeled by so many American politicians and diplomats on everything from economic ties to political affiliations, the Canadian government spent little time on red-tape and booted some troops down to the Gulf region faster than it took for them to scream, "softwood lumber!". Doubly cool is the fact that the assistance has not gone unnoticed:
The forty-six member Vancouver-based Urban Search and Rescue Team arrived in the St. Bernard Parish which lies east of New Orleans a full 5 days before American rescue units, and the volunteers worked 18-hour days rescuing 119 people in total.
And they are sending more:
Although little mention has been given to aid and assistance pouring in from around the world, four Canadian ships, three navy and one ice breaker all laden with essential supplies are heading toward the Gulf and expect to arrive by later Thursday or Friday.
Regardless of Hurricane Ophelia, "green" sailors and a rotting carcass of a replenishment ship (a U.S. vessel had to refuel the HMCS Toronto yesterday), they are going forth to do their thing. The only condition being...
The Canadians have given the Americans a list of their capabilities and supplies and by today hope to have a better idea of where they'll be going and what they'll be doing... "We've told them what we can do ... We're just waiting for them to say, 'Canada, here you go'"
Surprisingly, I haven't found a single editorial going to any lengths about the insufficient nature of this contribution (not my view, I'm just saying). It raises my eyebrows because after all this is a minority government we have. They quip about everything.

Yes, feeling quite weary with the words I read these days. They seem to try to pull you in one direction, negating any attribution of reality to the other. Highly spun are the words while I, myself, am tightly wound. The most refreshing piece I have read in last few has been written (by an incredibly intelligent being) for Wired. Although his are mere suggestions, they nevertheless excite me to the point of optimism. Sometimes, knowing there is another way to get to the future, when you know what is present has failed, is more reassuring than retaliation. An excerpt to whet your appetite:
The 9/11 terrorists used small pointy things to take over airplanes, so we ban small pointy things from airplanes. Richard Reid tried to hide a bomb in his shoes, so now we all have to take off our shoes. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security said that it might relax airplane security rules. It's not that there's a lessened risk of shoes, or that small pointy things are suddenly less dangerous. It's that those movie plots no longer capture the imagination like they did in the months after 9/11, and everyone is beginning to see how silly (or pointless) they always were.
I'm not comparing actual events by pointing you to an article defining security against terrorism but I am pointing out that the end effect of any disaster is just that, disastrous. Loss of life, loss of means, gain of a whole new set of problems. The treatment is but one, defense. On his blog, Schnier makes a crucial point:
Redundancy, and to a lesser extent, inefficiency, are good for security. Efficiency is brittle. Redundancy results in less-brittle systems, and provides defense in depth. We need multiple organizations with overlapping capabilities, all helping in their own way: FEMA, DHS, the military, the Red Cross, etc. We need overcapacity, in water pumping capabilities, communications, emergency supplies, and so on.
The Cold War is over isn't it? Can't we all get back to building our forts instead of expanding our influence?

As I sit this Friday night out with a whiskey in hand, I wonder if I'd go ballistic (literally) too if immense power was at my beckon. Would my gut wrench at the sight of human displacement and death as it does now? I hope so. I don't expect to be answering to any Peter when the day comes but I will have my self to contend with.

In case you are wondering, le Grand Dérangement refers to a period in the late 1700s when war between France and Britain (over territory in Atlantic Canada) led to the piling of thousands of Acadians into boats that were sent South to...you guessed it, Louisiana. Acadian then became Cadjin, which we now know as Cajun.

posted by Neha
11:18 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya dont get more cajun then ol CeePee. Hollar.

9/10/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where you drinking whiskey at, boo? i was shaking it many miles south. where you be tonite?

9/10/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Neha said...

oh seera, was drinking the juice on my lonesome while lying under a pile of boxes. it's packing weekend, yay! daym, i'm needing to shake some bootay. next weekend, luv, we shakes it.

ceepee, you are so bayou.

9/10/2005 08:04:00 PM  

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