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Indybay Feature
On the ground truth telling in Algiers, New Orleans
by deanosor (deanosor [at] comcast.net)
Thursday Sep 15th, 2005 3:47 AM
A report/blog from Algiers, a neighghborhood of New Orleans unhit by floods. This blog speaks of grassroots mutual aid happening there.
REAL REPORTS OF KATRINA RELIEF
Eyewitness, politically charged, on-the-ground truth telling from New
Orleans
http://www.realreports.blogspot.com/

Updated: September 14th
Location: The Algiers community adjacent to downtown New Orleans, Louisiana

A MODEL FOR GETTING IT TOGETHER
The locally-led, mutually based community relief effort in Algiers is
now being called Common Ground Algiers. Currently, more than 40
volunteer medics, doctors, cooks, communications technicians, community
organizers and concerned people are directly involved in the Common
Ground collective effort. Emergency services that have been created
include a community garbage pick-up program; mobile kitchens to provide
free hot meals to anyone in the area; a first aid clinic in a local
mosque and a mobile first aid station staffed by doctors, nurses and
emergency medical technicians; and bicycles for volunteers and residents
to transport aid around the area; and the development of a free school
for children.

These efforts could serve as a community-based model for creating both
emergency response and long-term infrastructure for people affected by
the hurricane and who are in need of these kind of vital services.
Donations can be sent to Common Ground, PO Box 3216, Gretna, LA 70054.
Please pace your donations. Please no clothes or food.

MILITARY ROLE REVERSAL
In Algiers, the military has finally put down most of their M16 machine
guns and are now helping with pick-up and debris collection. Keen
observers noticed this community clean-up begun in advance of a visit to
the Common Ground Emergency Wellness Center by Cindy Sheehan and
following a blistering report by Amy Goodman and Democracy Now on the
dead bodies that were still on the streets (they have been removed).
Airborne from Ft. Bragg continued the clean-up today around town.

CRACKER SQUADS
Cracker squads are groups of white supremacists who are using the
slanderous media coverage and storm chaos to terrorize communities of
color in Louisiana and Mississippi. One young woman in a Mississippi
town relayed to us that a cracker squad had shot black men in the woods
and threatened retaliation for those going public with the story.
Similar stories have come in from Algiers, downtown New Orleans, and the
outlying parishes of Louisiana.

A related threat are the armed mercenaries of Black Water and other
contractors who are patrolling downtown New Orleans. Internet reports
indicate they have been particularly brutal in the handling of storm
survivors.

THEY SAID IT: COMMON GROUND WELLNESS CENTER

"You can't start a clinic here [the 9th Ward]. That would give people
hope. My job is to make their lives as hopeless as possible so they will
leave."
New Orleans Police Dept. officer berating relief workers in the 9th Ward

"The Administration of this country needs to be put on trial for human
rights violations and treason against the people of the gulf coast
region; as well as negligent homicide for every person left in this
region to die."
Noah, Emergency Medical Technician-B with the Common Ground Wellness
Center, Algiers, New Orleans

"Neighborhood folks find it alot more friendly to get their health care
and healing from a community clinic with friendly faces rather than a
militarized zone with soldiers toting M-16s. If the government got off
their high chair, and worked with us grassroots relief people, we'd have
health clinics all over the city. Believe me, we have the know-how to
really help and we have the spirit of true compassion flowing here."
Michael Kozart, a doctor from San Francisco, CA volunteering in the
Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, NOLA

"Our number one national priority right now should be to clean up New
Orleans and rebuild vulnerable areas in a safe and environmentally sound
way. Then, every single evacuee must be offered the opportunity and the
resources to return to rebuild their neighborhoods in exactly the same
way. We cannot allow evacuees to be forced into becoming refugees."
Roger Benham, Emergency Medical Technician-B with the Common Ground
Wellness Center, Algiers, New Orleans

"I'm a community organizer and medic who drove all the way here to
Algiers/New Orleans from San Francisco with a caravan of people. On the
way here a few of us questioned if we'll be useful and why we're using
resources to come all this way. But after checking in with the locals
and assessing the situation, volunteering in the clinic and such, I can
see people from all over [the neighborhoods] will be healed for a very
long time to come."
Dixie Block, an organizer/medic from San Francisco, CA volunteering in
the Common Ground Wellness Center, Algiers, NOLA

"It's not so much that the government is not responding [with storm
relief], they are obstructing the response. They are telling us we can't
bring people the basic necessities of life because that would give them
hope. It is a question of oppression vs. mutual aid. That is the
revolution."
Jesse, an organizer from DC volunteering in the Common Ground Wellness
Center, Algiers, NOLA

------------
Naomi Archer is a global justice organizer and spiritual activist from
Asheville, NC working for the Common Ground relief effort in the Algiers
neighborhood of New Orleans. She can be reached at 828.230.1404 or
arche [at] riseup.net. Blog at http://www.realreports.blogspot.com/.
Website at http://www.intuitivepath.org/


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
So-called MERCRedBlooded AmericanSunday Sep 18th, 2005 11:41 PM
Blackwater merceneries trained hitmennot as rescue personalThursday Sep 15th, 2005 1:15 PM
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