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Zeitoun by Dave Eggers Understanding Hurricane Katrina - Essay Example

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The disaster mitigation efforts before, during and after the Hurricane Katrina have been criticized for various reasons. The post-disaster emergency services and law enforcement after Katrina illustrates issues related to government inefficiency, racial discrimination, human rights violations, breaking of family bonds and psychological trauma…
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Zeitoun by Dave Eggers Understanding Hurricane Katrina
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"Zeitoun by Dave Eggers Understanding Hurricane Katrina"

Download file to see previous pages In a single story, Dave Eggers depicts the countless tales of trauma during and after the Hurricane Katrina, in the book Zeitoun. This paper critically examines how Eggers’ narrative in Zeitoun affects the understanding of Hurricane Katrina based on my own experiences with those depicted in the text and how they coincide with the event. Zeitoun is a contemporary nonfiction masterpiece that illustrates the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. In the book, Abdulrahman Zeitoun is an American Muslim, born and grown up in Syria before settling in the U.S. Zeitoun married Cathy, a native Louisiana Muslim. When Hurricane Katrina began, Zeitoun sends his family to Baton Rouge. Zeitoun stays behind to watch over his home and business. After the devastating storm, Zeitoun crosses the submerged city in a canoe helping trapped people. Zeitoun and two friends are arrested by law enforcement agents in the ensuing counterterrorism efforts. While Zeitoun experienced poor treatment in the hands of the security officers, the book gives clear picture of prison injustices met on the basis of discrimination. A critical analysis of the novel reveals that the author’s main themes relates to racism and the importance of family relationships in post-disaster efforts. With specific regard to the Hurricane Katrina, the book exposes the reader to the government inefficiencies and flaws in handling the disaster. In particular, the book explores the consequences of government inefficiencies such as prison injustices, discrimination and breaking of family ties. Litman (2006) argues that every disaster presents unique problems, and that Katina began with hurricane leading to civil disorder and isolation of people (2). The handling of the Hurricane Katrina has been criticized for various reasons. The Center of Progressive Reform (2005) argues that Katrina was foreseeable but emergency response planning and implementation efforts were poor (6). Although the book does may not paint a complete picture of the post-disaster management exercise, it exposes how long-running government inefficiencies could be exacerbated during disaster management and the consequences such inadequacies have on individuals and families. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was mandated in overseeing both the preparation and response to the disaster. The book shows how FEMA could have lost its focus on mitigating natural disaster. On one hand, the book exposes how efforts from civilian volunteers could have helped in disaster response efforts. This is especially important considering that federal assistance was delayed for many days after the disaster. Criticisms have been raised against the leadership in disaster management. While there was communication breakdown, civilian volunteers could have had an impact in rescuing trapped people. The book uncovers the impact of prison injustices in the investigations of the terror threats following the Hurricane Katrina. For instance, Zeitoun and other men are arrested and transferred to Hunt correctional facilities while no appropriate charges are preferred. This is especially important because the Zeitoun is not allowed to contact his family or friends. Egger says “Zeitoun had not been charged with a crime….he did not know why he was being held….in a small room surrounded by soldiers in camouflage demanding he removes his clothes’ (226). From the outset, this statement exposes the violation of human rights issues during the post-Katrina events. The author continues “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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