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Archive | July, 2010

Our Complicity

Story by Dahr Jamail
Photography by Erika Blumenfeld

We rather be ruined than changed.
We rather die in our dread,
than climb the cross of the moment,
and let our illusions
die.

-W.H. Auden, excerpted from “The Age of Anxiety”

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Not long ago we strolled along a beautiful white-sand beach in Orange Beach, Alabama, taking photos of freshly washed ashore black and brown tar balls. We watched little boys playing in the shallow surf, trying to catch minnows, as red oil boom bobbed in the waves just offshore behind them. This is the world we have all created.

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BP Response Workers Report Low Morale, Lack of Pay, Sickness

Story by Dahr Jamail, Photography by Erika Blumenfeld, t r u t h o u t | Report

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

BP Oil Disaster response workers are reporting endemic problems, such as not being paid on time, low morale, rampant sickness, equipment failures, and being lied to regularly.

“Yesterday was a catastrophe,” one worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Truthout, “People are waiting 2-3 hours for their paychecks to be brought to them, and I know for a fact three people that didn’t get paid, and no reason was given.”

The woman has been working as a clerk for Gulf Asphalt Contractors (GAC), a company that describes itself as “the leading provider of sitework (sic) and building construction services in the Florida Panhandle.” The company, based in Panama City, Florida, is a BP contractor.

While she said she had never been ordered not to talk to the media, she admitted to working amidst a climate of fear and believed she would lose her job if her company found out she had done so. “When GAC finds people who have talked to the media, they fire them.” Continue Reading →

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What Happens Next?

Story by Dahr Jamail
Photography by Erika Blumenfeld

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Recently we met with Captain Louis Skrmetta who runs Ship Island Excursions out of Gulfport, Mississippi. His grandfather came to the US from Croatia in 1904, and began working as an oyster fisherman, now an endangered endeavor. From that background arose the family business of ferrying people out to West Ship Island, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, about an hours boat ride south of Gulfport.

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