The Arabs “Get” New Orleans…Come on America

From Scout:

You may remember the King of Jordan’s trip to NOLA and that Qatar pledged $60 million for Katrina relief. Now it is Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki Al-Faisal who has visited New Orlean to say they will continue to support its rebuilding. Saudi Arabia has given more than $100 million that has gone to various charities including Habitat for Humanity, a food bank, a Jesuit high School. Charity Hospital and for equipment to fishermen in Plaquemines Parish…

A Saudi Arabian prince pledged that his kingdom will keep bankrolling the relief effort in this hurricane-torn region, continuing a trend of Arab philanthropy benefiting victims of disasters including earthquakes, Asian tsunamis and African famines.

And here is the quote from the Prince that shows he gets it better than many Americans…

“From jazz to jambalaya, New Orleans has made important contributions to the world community — and now the global community is making contributions to New Orleans,” said the prince.

The Arab Prince gets it. I’ve read many comments at various blogs in which Americans complain about rebuilding New Orleans. Often it goes something like this ……we don’t give a rip about New Orleans culture, it’s too expensive and the city is below sea level and will flood again so hell if I want my taxes going to that. I’ve seen bloggers (me included) try to counter that by stressing the economic importance of New Orleans because after all saving the culture of America’s most unique city didn’t mean shinola. I’ve seen incredibly persuavive arguments buttressed by FACTS blow holes in the the naysayers complaints like a Dick Cheney shotgun blast. But even that didn’t matter.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the WATBs who don’t want to rebuild NOLA will Whine no matter what. So what the hell. Let’s talk about saving a city because we freakin Value it. Let’s talk about saving a city because of its rich history and culture. Yeah let’s talk about the values and ideals which we we say we’re fighting them over there to save here.

For anyone now laughing at my naive idealism I have this to say….. I’m an American damn it. And I remember when that meant being idealistic. I was raised by parents who struggled through the Depression. I was raised on stories of how one man saved the country…FDR. I was raised by parents who sacrificed, really sacrificed and went without during WWII to defeat fascism. I grew up watching our country send young people abroad to make friends in the world under an idealistic program called the Peace Corp of all things. I watched this country put a man on the moon. And it all made an impression on my little formulative American mind. We were the champions of great causes and ideals and got things done.

There are many crappy things in our history but it is our ideals that propel us forward. It is the best of what we are. If we lose New Orleans I believe we lose that. If we don’t respect our history and culture, if we won’t fight and sacrifice for it, if we do not seek justice for the Gulf Coast we will have lost our connections to our ideals, our community, our country. We will not be the great nation but a rudderless collection of consumers, gobbling up and disposing anything that no longer glimmers and shimmers enough to hold our attention.

So I thank Prince Turki Al-Faisal. Not for his money but for jogging my memory and MY American Idealism.

Now go read Athenae 2 posts down and let’s fight the good fight to save New Orleans cause it IS New Orleans…… before we lose ourselves.