Monday, May 21, 2012

Zeitoun Part 2 - I had no idea where this book was headed

I put Zeitoun down after the last post and did some other things. 

Eventually I picked it back up later in the day.  Armed men (it turned out there was a woman too) were breaking into the front door at Zeitoun's rental property in flooded New Orleans just as he was to call his wife from this one working phone.  He called each day at noon. 

NSWFM, if you're about to read the book, just stop reading this post now. 

The next 20 pages focus on Kathy Zeitoun, in Arizona with the kids, and Ahmad Zeton, the brother in Spain as Kathy begins to fall apart when her husband doesn't call for the next week.  She imagines all the ways he could have died.  And finally, when she's thinking about funerals and life insurance and her future with four fatherless kids, a phone call comes.  And the story takes a turn I never saw coming. 

We then get a harrowing account of the US justice system gone terribly wrong.  I'll stop there.  If you think the Obama administration has problems, go back to Katrina and remind yourself about life under Bush.  This is not a pretty story.  But it's one that Americans need to know. 

In the aftermath of the recent flawed Anchorage election, I hear people telling of other people saying they won't vote any more.  There's no point. 

In the face of adversity, we have a choice to give up or stand up.  About 60% of Anchorage's registered voters did not go to the polls. (35% did vote, but since the voter registration rolls are purged so slowly, many on them really are no longer residents or alive, so I've cut out 5% and it could be more.)  If those just 40% more went to vote, the people who are not slave to a party label, people who are unhappy with the state of affairs and who pay just a bit of attention to the candidates, life in the US could be moved back into a positive direction. 

Dave Eggers, the author of Zeiton, is donating the proceeds of the book to the Zeitoun Foundation which has been set up a number of organizations working to
"aid  in the rebuilding of New Orleans and to promote respect for human rights in the United States and around the world."
Charity Navigator and Guide Star do not seem to list the Zeitoun Foundation.  

The other Eggers book I've read is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius a book that bothered me.   While I found it interesting, I really didn't want to read anything else by the author.  It left a bad taste in my mouth.  I think I avoided this book because of that. But he's told the Zeitouns'  story well.

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