Broken English

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Fact, fiction and introspections


by Doretta Wildes, ©2012, blogging at DorettaWildes

(Nov. 11, 2012) —“Camp Freedom” is like a prison.

So says Brian Sotelo, one of its residents.  A tent camp in an Oceanport, NJ parking lot that Sotelo and other New Jersey residents have been forced to accept as shelter, Camp Freedom is barred from the press. A police car circles the camp regularly while Blackhawk helicopters chop overhead.

Residents like Sotelo were led there with the promise of “permanent shelters,” with “washing machines and hot showers and steady electric.”

Instead, they shiver in layers of blankets, exposed to conditions so icy that residents can see their breath.  When some of them attempted to communicate their shabby treatment to the outside world, Sotelo says that authorities shut off the WiFi and tried to stop them from taking pictures. Police allegedly unplugged  iPhones, claiming that there wasn’t enough power.

Only by smuggling his pictures out was Sotelo able to tell his story to the Asbury Park Press.

All of this occurred amid reports that local FEMA offices had shut down “due to weather.”

Sotelo’s camp cot broke while he lay in it one night. A fine metaphor for what has happened to language in this disaster–and this decade–where something akin to a concentration camp is named “Freedom.”

© 2012, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.

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