I am now on an airplane heading home (for two days) after my very profound and moving experience in the Gulf Region.
Monday, June 21st, a few dozen activists, scientists, environmentalists and concerned citizens gathered in front of the Deepwater Horizon Response Unified Command Center to present our list of demands to the office that houses BP and 14 Federal Agencies (the FBI also has offices in the building).
We pulled this protest together in two days and I was gratified at the turnout (one woman, Cyndie, came up from Florida) and especially with the turnout from the media. Usually the corporate media presents some hostility, but not today. After my interviews, many of them said words to this affect: “Thank you for being here to help us call attention to this disaster.” Wow! Even the jaded press realizes what an enormous tragedy this is!
After we held an improvised mini-rally, we moved in towards the building to present our list of demands. Of course we were accosted by building security, but about 10 of us made it up to the 14th floor of the Eni Petroleum building, where we were accosted by even more security.
Debra Sweet, the National Director of World Can’t Wait kept telling people that we weren’t destroying any property or killing anyone (like BP and the US war machine) and that we were coming in peace to present our demands. A slimy representative of BP came out into the entryway and told us he would take our demands, but we insisted on reading them.
He finally said: “If you don’t get out of our space, we will have to call NOPD.” How dare he!? His company has caused the biggest (and for want of a $500,000 acoustic blowout preventer—needless) environmental disaster in the history of this nation and he tells us to get out of “his space!” First of all, with 14 Federal Agencies being housed there, I think it is “our space,” and all the people on this planet who will be affected by their crimes have the absolute right to be not only heard, but listened to.
People, we ALL will be adversely affected by this Oil-Cano and the under-reaction of Corporate-Federal government to it. 300 (plus or minus) million of us have to be involved in the Emergency Response to it. If you can’t make it to the Gulf to clean, there are things you can do from your home.
Email from Atlanta resident, Mary Ellen Sheehan (no relation), about her trip from NOLA back to Atlanta yesterday:
Greetings Wonderful People
I had to head back to Atlanta but I did stop at Dauphin Island, Alabama. When I tried to go to the western end of the island, I was stopped by security and told that the beach was closed and only residents and contractors could pass through. I went to a nearby beach toward the middle of the island and it was shocking. The smell of oil was very strong and my skin and the roof of my mouth began to feel “coated” (I had the same experience in Grand Isle—Cindy).
Contracted workers were walking up and down the beach picking up peaces of oil. There were tented stations at regular intervals where more contractors were gathered. It was a dead zone. I saw one bird.
Dauphin Island seems to be getting slammed right now and there won’t be any let up soon.
When we were on Grand Isle yesterday, it was unbelievably hot and just walking from Point A to Point B required a lot of exertion. While Tony Balogna was yachting and Barack Obama was Bushing (oops—I mean golfing); workers were dropping like flies from the heat and a literal way of life was dying.
To Tony and Barack: Stop the damn gusher and get the damn oil out of the Gulf—treat this Environmental Holocaust with the seriousness and immediacy it deserves. Quit fiddling around while Rome is burning for gods’ sake.
There was a revolution in France when the elite repeatedly and callously overstepped boundaries and Marie Antoinette was infamous for saying: “Let them eat cake.” This is the current attitude of the global elite of this world—seems like they need an attitude adjustment.