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Walking for truth

Cherri Foytlin in Facing South:

This week, I've come to Washington, D.C. from the Gulf Coast. Thirty-four days and 1,243 miles ago, I set off on foot from New Orleans, Louisiana. I've faced tornadoes, rainstorms, heat exhaustion and countless blisters. But here I am, and I walked the whole way [#38].

Why walk? Because it was clear that the reality of the BP disaster was not reaching our leaders in Washington, the mainstream media, or the rest of the country. So I decided to break this truth barrier in the simplest way I know how -- by walking right through it and talking to average American citizens along the way.

BP has poured tens of millions of dollars into advertising to convince America that its oil disaster is cleaned up. President Obama and Congress have all but ignored the disaster since last summer. And the mainstream media have been sending the message, through its silence, that things are back to normal.

But things are far from normal on the Gulf Coast.

Today, most BP clean-up crews have been dismantled, yet new and weathered oil continues to show up on our beaches and in our marshes. Wildlife continues to wash up dead on our shores, by the hundreds.

The long-term impacts of the toxic cocktail of oil and dispersant (nearly 2 millions gallons of which were sprayed in the Gulf, the largest release ever) may not be known for years. ....

Today thousands of people living on the Gulf Coast are experiencing headaches, respiratory afflictions, heart palpitations, liver and kidney damage and skin lesions -- with limited or no access to appropriate health care. Theses symptoms go beyond those of the clean-up workers; anyone who breathes the air or eats the seafood may be affected.

The economic devastation also continues. The claims czar appointed by President Obama, Kenneth Feinberg, has so far proved inadequate in providing fair settlements [shocker. Just like HAMP]. The Gulf Coast is devastated by the lack of fishing opportunities and decreased tourism, and still reeling from the moratorium on oil drilling. Feinberg was appointed to relieve this economic pain, but instead was found by a federal judge to be beholden to BP. Coastal residents, backed into a corner by economic necessity, often accept unfair settlements, signing away their right to sue BP in the process. The option of eating today or dealing with twenty years of litigation is not a real option at all.

Yep. Funny how that works, and how neither legacy party does anything about it.

Here's Foytin's site. It's a bitter irony that the Vietnamese who fled bombs and Agent Orange should face a second lethal form of devastation forty years later in the land they thought of as a refuge.

NOTE I classified this non-violent protest as a march, because I suppose this could be seen as a march of one. Again, though, I wonder if that's right; is this, again, a distinctively American form of protest, perhaps a consequence of our contintental scale?

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