Wednesday, January 9, 2013 In Copy | trackback

Zeitoun

Books 2012 in review

Because of my memory leakage, I decided to keep notes of all books I read through 2012. Looking back at my EverNote, I realized I did forget a lot already. Those notes brought back some “good” memories. So in an effort to further enhance my memory, I thought I could go back to these notes, and blog about them, and may be read parts of the book again, who knows? I might have a decent recollection of at least one book!

Zeitoun

Zeitoun

Dave Eggers | Notes here

This is a biography of an American Syrian named Abdel Rahman Zeitoun, during Hurricane Katrina. The story first defines the life of Zeitoun, and how hard working and determined he was when he got to America some 30 years ago. Here are the notes, and my comments, if I had any.

Anyone who had a problem with rainbows, he said, would surely have trouble with Islam.

Zeitoun said that after neighbors pointed out that his painting business rainbow-based logo printed on his van and business cards held connotations of gay-friendly business, and he did not wish to spend more money to fix a problem with another problem. Racism knows no color! Ironic isn’t it?

One day, when Zeitoun was already in danger of being late, the bike blew a tire. After riding on the rim for half a mile, he gave up. He needed to get four miles across the city in twenty minutes, and it was looking like he would be late for work for the first time in his life. He couldn’t leave the bike and run—he needed that bike—and he couldn’t ride on the flat tire, so he threw the bike over his shoulders and started jogging. He was panicking. If he was late for this job, what would happen to his reputation

A man is about a reputation. This is true. I always believed that your time is what you train it to be. If you are always on time for meetings, next time you run into an accident, it will work out for you and you will -somehow- be on time. If you never break a promise, one day that will come in handy.

Zeitoun always thought of the people Ahmad had asked to take the pictures. Ahmad must have met a thousand people during these trips…

This reveals a specific kind of personality, a totalitarian, someone who thinks of the farmers of low income cropping rice, before he eats lunch.

it had been unlike anything she’d expected. First there was the snow. Snow in Damascus!

Referring to Zeitoun’s American wife visiting Damascus for the first time, way before social media, before YouTube, probably before the Internet too, when people rode camels in Damascus!

It surpassed the most surreal accounts he’d heard of third-world law enforcement.

Talking about his ordeal when the army came into town to enforce law upon news that looters were all over the place. But it does reveal something else, this American prejudice, brought by their media. How did we ever come to accept such a “culture-void” nation dub us as third world?!

“Phones don’t work,” a guard told them. “You guys are terrorists. You’re Taliban.”

An army soldier said! It has been said a lot that if you are a loser, unemployed, and have little future, you join the army! Then they brain wash you, and break you forever.

We thought we were in a third-world country.

So if there were a huge weather catastrophe in a developed country, that would be enough to degrade it. That is a nation that brags about too much freedom to the point of no ethics, and too much capitalism to the point of worship.

They might “build on public panic to further destabilize the system by disseminating rumors” and therefore “increase media coverage” and “stress the public health system.”

Referring to how the enemies may use such a catastrophe to their side. The American national security system is that fragile.

That there could be trials without witnesses, that her government could make people disappear. “It broke me.”

Said his American wife, about her ordeal to bring her husband out of jail. Enough said.

Conclusion

Although this book was to bring light to the flaws in the American security system, but my personal conclusions are: that enemy of ours has got one dumb army, and that the American dream is not inclusive to all, it’s exclusive to those who look like Brad Pitt basically. And that a civilization not built on religion and ethics, won’t be able to differentiate between right and wrong when the pressure mounts.

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