Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Don't fence me in...

From the Denver Post:

If I didn't know better, I'd have thought I was peering through the fence at a concentration camp.

The signs on the buildings say "Community College of Aurora," though for now they're serving as an impromptu Camp Katrina. About 160 hurricane survivors are being housed in the dorms, surrounded by fences, roadblocks, security guards and enough armed police officers to invade Grenada.

There's a credentials unit to process every visitor, an intake unit to provide identification tags and a bag of clothes to every evacuee, several Salvation Army food stations, portable toilets, shuttle buses, a green army-tent chapel with church services three times a day and a communications team to keep reporters as far away from actual news as possible.

It probably was easier for a reporter to get inside Gitmo on Tuesday than to penetrate the force field around Lowry.

I couldn't help but think of Bob Dylan (as I'm doing quite often these terrible days):

'Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I come in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm.
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much, it's doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn.
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

I've heard newborn babies cryin' like a moanin' dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love.
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

And now there’s a wall between us, something else been lost
I took too much for granted, I got my signals crossed.
And just to think it all began on an uneventful morn,
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation an' she give me a lethal dose.
I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn.
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

Well, I'm livin' in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line
Beauty walks on a razor's edge, someday I'll make it mine.
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born,
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posted by Evan Derkacz at 11:06 AM on September 7, 2005. Here's your fresh water and blanket, can I interest you a tour of duty? Blog Tools The irony train continues full speed ahead.
Nice blog you've got here! If you've got a moment, see my gilroy garlic fest related site. You may find something useful.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous cenoxo said...

Professor Pan, what are you trying to express here?

I am confused by your juxtaposition of emotional images from New Orleans, along with an introductory "concentration camp" quote and one photo from a Denver Post editorial column.

Are you inferring anything in particular about the evacuee situation in Denver?

Explain, please.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Professor Pan said...

The post is more a gut-level, poetic riff than a factual commentary.

The Denver Post editorial distrubed me, and the photo of the women fenced in struck a dark chord.

As I've posted elsewhere, though, I am having a hard time with the wild accusations floating around the net that these FEMA camps are in any way comparable to Nazi camps. Those charges are baseless, inflammatory, and disrespectful to those who actually suffered in Nazi camps.

What does concern me greatly is the way the poor, black underclass of New Orleans were mistreated and left to die. I am concerned that they will be treated as second-class citizens in the evacuee camps -- and I think we all have to keep a close eye on their treatment.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous cenoxo said...

They're not "fenced in" any longer, if they ever were. Denver's "concentration camp" is closing its doors (or should that be gates?):

Last Katrina evacuees move out of Lowry
Denver Rocky Mountain News

By Felix Doligosa Jr.
October 15, 2005

Gulf Coast evacuees packed bags and moved to new homes Friday as Camp Katrina at Lowry Air Force base closed.

Twenty-eight people were at the camp on the last day as a majority of them were placed in hotels with help from the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter, said Robert Thompson, Red Cross spokesman. Some will have rental assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Lowry dorms opened Sept. 3 and housed 475 evacuees. Arapahoe Community College will now oversee the dorm, said Linda Rice, Colorado Department of Local Affairs spokeswoman.

Most of the evacuees who had stayed at the dorm are now in interim housing in Colorado or other states, Rice said.

The federal government has moved nearly a quarter-million Hurricane Katrina victims into hotel rooms, mobile homes or other housing.

But more than 22,000 people remain in shelters.

FEMA had set a goal of today to empty shelters of hurricane victims.

No word from the Denver Post columnist who originally opined the "concentration camp" label.

9:56 PM  

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