Democracy Now! travels to the Gulf region to investigate the massive BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. We play an address by George Barisich, the president of the United Commercial Fishermen’s Association, who spoke on Sunday at a large protest in New Orleans near Jackson Square. [includes rush transcript]
ANJALI KAMAT: We’re broadcasting from WLAE, public television in New Orleans, Louisiana. We’ve been in the Gulf since Friday investigating the massive BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. We’ve talked to fisher folk who fear they won’t be able to fish in the Gulf for years, to indigenous leaders who could lose their historical villages, to Alaskan elders who traveled to the Gulf to share their stories about how they survived the Exxon Valdez spill. The anger at BP and the federal government is enormous.
Throughout the week we’ll be broadcasting voices from the Gulf. Today, we begin with a short clip from George Barisich. He’s the president of the United Commercial Fishermen’s Association. He spoke on Sunday at a large protest in New Orleans near Jackson Square.
GEORGE BARISICH: A lot of people are losing sight of the poor eleven people who lost their lives. And a lot of people want to have a moment of silence; I don’t want that. So I want everyone to clap, one second, eleven times. Let the people across this goddamn country understand, people got killed here! Understand? And if it’s not from gross negligence, it’s at least negligence. We’ve got commercial fishermen out there that came in the other day that could have got killed. So we need a body count before BP steps up. Let’s go a head, if you all don’t mind. Alright? [eleven claps]
Alright, for the last forty-two days, I’ve been attending congressional hearings, meetings, all over the place. And a lot of [inaudible] going to people like y’all [inaudible] to come up to make people understand what’s going on. And I’ve been trying all kind of ways to make BP understand, but they don’t. I say what can I tell these people out here [inaudible]? Remember three words 200-something years ago: "We the people." Alright, we the people. Look at the people, alright? Well, United Commercial Fishermen was started in 1993. It was "We the fishermen," because the government was putting us out of business. So now we need "we the fishermen" and "we the people" to keep doing what we’re doing here, because if we don’t, they’re going to sweep it under the floor, under the mat, like every other time. And look, shrimp season open 'til late morning tomorrow. I'm going shrimping while I still can. And I’ve got [inaudible] if anybody wants to buy some shrimp. Y’all take care.
AMY GOODMAN: That was George Barisich, the president of the United Commercial Fishermen’s Association, at a rally in New Orleans. Hundreds turned out in the pouring rain.