Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Sept. 19, 2005 -- In the initial aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, U.S. journalists may have been largely silent on issues of race and poverty, but the international press was not. Here's a sampling of commentary from media around the world, all drawn from the initial coverage of Hurricane Katrina:

"Already the finger of racism is being pointed at official Washington for the slowness of federal agencies in responding to the disaster. Especially in New Orleans, the city hardest hit by the hurricane, which is 67 percent black ... Such is the legacy of racism that to this day haunts the American psyche, despite desegregation." — Manila Standard Today, Philippines

"America's old racial demons have been reawakened by the crisis unfolding in a city that is 67 per cent black, and where almost a third of the population already lived below the poverty level." — The Independent, UK

"Washington, in a bizarre display of uncaring aloofness in their hour of need, appeared unable to respond to the crisis until days later. The disaster also revealed the racial fissures in American society. Most of the hapless survivors who filled New Orleans Superdome were black, with the more affluent white residents able to flee in their sports utility vehicles before Katrina brought her misery." — The Star, South Africa

"Many things about the United States are wonderful, but it has a vile underbelly which is usually kept well out of sight. Now in New Orleans it has been exposed to the world." —
The Mirror, UK

"The ever-sensitive question of race in the United States has exploded into the furious debate over the government's handling of the disaster unfolding in New Orleans." —, Middle East

"When I see poor blacks, whites, Latinos and other ethnic groups crying out for help in an undignified manner it is sad and shameful when we recognize something could have been done earlier, something is wrong with the social and ethnic fabric of the United States. It is clear that this group of people is very much removed from the suburban white middle class." —
The Bahama Journal, Bahamas

"The fact that New Orleans is a southern town predominantly populated by African Americans ... explains why President George W Bush did not see the need to cut short his holiday.... (B)eing in America does not make a black man an American." —
The Herald, Zimbabwe

"Hurricane Katrina has come and gone — leaving behind one strong message — Racism still exists in America." — Hindustan Times, India

Compiled by staff.

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