Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Can You Hear Me? By Cherri Foytlin

Most of you know my story by now. Four years ago, back when the banks were getting bailed out and the people were getting bailed on, I lost the first house I ever owned. After moving to South Louisiana and rebuilding our lives, my husband and I were able to move ourselves and our 6 children into a beautiful new home. Three days later the moratorium hit - and I say hit, because it was like a punch in the stomach to the people of our area. 

 The story never told about south Louisiana is that the fishermen, crabbers, oystermen and oil workers are the same. Many of our fishermen work the season doing what they love, then go back to the oil fields to make a living. All of us live to serve, and be served, from the Gulf of Mexico. You won’t find an oil worker who doesn’t love the bayou, and you won’t find a fisherman who doesn’t profit - in some way, from the oil field.

 Sadly, this spill and consequential moratorium, has effectively marched us head long into a deep depression in the deep south.

Seven weeks ago, after speaking to the Oil Spill Commission, I reached out to President Obama in a CNN interview, and asked him to come and speak with me and my friends about the devastating effects of the spill. I wanted to tell him about the illnesses we were experiencing, about the devastating debt that was accumulating, and the environmental and cultural genocide of our people and wildlife. But, I was ignored.

 This deeply saddened me, because based on the very mindset of the founding fathers, I and my family are worth no less, and nor more, than any other. And I, as an American citizen, have a right, and an obligation, to call out and be heard by representatives of my nation. As Edward Bellamy said “The primal principle of democracy is the worth and dignity of the individual.“ My call to the president was more a test of the democracy and the republic, than the man.

 Since that day, BP, at the urgence of the administration, set up a fund of $100 million to help those hurting from the moratorium. It has been over 4 months and the application process for that fund has just begun. You see, that is the Big Lie sold to the American public, that BP is taking care of this - that they are “making it right“. That we are receiving checks. That we are okay. And yet not one oil worker has received one dollar since the moratorium began.


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