I have been in Bahrain for two weeks and I am quite happy to report that as a New Orleanian, I feel vindicated.
I travel around the world, and people ask where I am from. I do not say, "America", I say "New Orleans". After the complete and utter abandonment of the city and people of New Orleans by the American government, I do not feel like an "American" anymore.
Being in the Arabian Gulf has made me realise that most people here understand the feeling. They know that the hurricane didn't destroy New Orleans, the government's failure did. They know that half a trillion dollars has poured into the US government's debacle in Iraq, yet thousands perished on the US Gulf coast, some simply because they had no drinking water. They know the US government simply does not care about New Orleans or her people, and has, for the first time, abandoned an American city.
The people of the Gulf do care about New Orleans. Saudi Arabia had contributed $250 million (BD93m) for relief, and Qatar $100m (BD37.5m). A friend of mine is proud to say that his child's schoolroom has a plaque on the front that states, "This classroom was donated by the people of Saudi Arabia". The people of the Gulf of Mexico are extremely thankful to the people of the Arabian Gulf.
I am enjoying my time in the Gulf, and a large part of that has to do with the Arabic hospitality, and the fact that the people here know that New Orleans is still not OK. In New Orleans, some of us have borrowed a Gaelic phrase, "Sinn Fein", meaning "We Ourselves" or "Ourselves Alone".
This is because we realise the US government is not going to help New Orleans, as they do not care and we must help ourselves. However, when I talk to the people here, and when I see the generosity they have exhibited, I realise that we are not alone. For that, I thank you all.
Prof Ashley Morris, PhD