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Josh discusses the poor treatment of people evacuated to the Superdome in New Orleans and now living at Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas. Josh says that it is safer at Reliant Arena during the day because in the nighttime there is nobody -- meaning media journalists -- around to witness the horrible treatment inside and outside of the arena.
One example cited by Josh is when an officer, who was black, gave out chairs to women and old people who were standing around outside of the arena. Then some officers told them they were not allowed to sit on the chairs and they had to give them back. An old lady was even told that she was not allowed to sit on a milkcrate. Josh sees no reason for this kind of poor treatmeant other than racism.
While making a comparison between living at Relient Arena and being in prison, Josh noted that if you lose your bracelet while you are in jail, you still stay in jail. However, if you lose your paper bracelet while you are living at Reliant Arena, you no longer have the opportunity to be in the arena and receive services.
Josh talked about the curfew that was put in place. At first there was not a curfew, now there are fences and multiple checkpoints with searches.
At one point in the interview, Josh says, "We survived Katrina, but we still struggling from the dome to the arena."
Josh realizes that money in the United States is going to the US military in Iraq, where they should not be fighting a war.
During the interview, two police officers noticed me speaking with Josh and they gave him hard stares. Josh put himself in danger to speak with me because he and the women next to him that he called "Mama" understood the importance of getting the truth out about what is really going on at Reliant Arena and the way people are being (mis)treated.
Among other concerns, Josh told me that undercover cops wear the same armbands as the survivors and sleep on cots as well. Josh was not sure about the reasoning for this.
He knows that the people running the arena and the police are trying to get people out of the arena in anyway possible, including taking hundreds of people to jail.
Josh does not wish this experience upon anyone else and says that this is hurricane season and any city on the south coast can be the next.
Another example of the poor treatment to the survivors is that many cops are not allowing people to be friendly with volunteers.
After the hurricane was over with, he was in the hot superdome. People in the Superdome thought that they had survived the hurricane and could return to their homes, but then the levee broke and the flood came. There are many people talking about the levees being broken on purpose and planned out to flood specific parts of the city.
Unfortunately, Sunday is a day off for all people who provide services. Josh will have nothing to do other than sit around and just hang out all day. He feels that it is not right that services should stop on Sunday when people are still suffering. Josh hopes to get an aprtment on Monday, but notes that housing is very hard to get and people will be paying about double the price to live in Houston compared to the prices people were paying in New Orleans.
Josh says that people all over the world need to know what is going on right now. Hurricane Katrina is over but there is serious drama going on right now.
http://houston.indymedia.org * *
If you can make it out to Texas, Mississippi or Louisiana, your help is definitely needed.
Also, if you can donate money to support independent media for survivors of Hurricane Katrina, that would be very helpful as well.
Vinny and I have put out a request for donations. Please read the following article for information on one important way that you can help out. thanks.
Support Independent Media in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina