An interesting documentary film on the Sichaun earthquake has been aired by HBO and ‘Democracy Now’ availed itself of the opportunity to interview the two co-directors, John Alpert and Matt O’Niel. In principal they are both right in their believing that the Chinese authorities should face up to their responsibilities and allow a proper investigation into why some 9,000 of the 90,000 victims were school children who might not have died had their schools been built properly,(1) Nevertheless, John Alpert’s contention that, while the US government’s behaviour at Katrina was scandelous, a free press did at least allow this to become public knowledge doesn’t really mean very much. Does it really matter if the great American public is officially informed of those things that are really common knowledge? Especially when George W Bush goes on to say, “Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government. And to the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility.”(2) Forgetting all of the obvious crimes that he does not admit to, here he is effectively admitting that he is guilty of a serious crime and was he impeached?
Of course, the parents in Sichaun should have their platform and it is not only important that we are aware of their plight but also that those responsible are held to account. However, please let’s not look to America for a model here, a model where liability and criminal actions are sometimes confessed when they are all too blatant but always denied when they are not and even when a confession is forthcoming, the perpetrators get off scot free.