x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

New York evacuation a far cry from Katrina shambles

Letters also discuss Syria's opposition, Palestinian statehood and the future of the Republican party.

New York City was efficiently evacuated as Hurricane Irene closed in on August 28. In contrast, a reader points out the inaction in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached six years ago. Reuters/Brendan McDermid
New York City was efficiently evacuated as Hurricane Irene closed in on August 28. In contrast, a reader points out the inaction in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached six years ago. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

The article Syria's opposition has failed to offer a viable alternative (August 28) looked in the eye of the matter.

However, there are still a number of "idealists" who dare not speak of the Syrian "minorities" as real components of the society, maybe because of the sectarian sensitivity of this issue. I agree with the line that the minorities consider it a matter of survival, even those who support the regime's overthrow.

The problem exists, but we don't want to admit it.

Abdullah A, Syria

Fear of change is understandable as this is one of the tools that the Syrian regime has for a long time used to oppress its people.

But although the fear is still there, I think, the truth of the matter is becoming more and more clear to everyone. I can't speak on behalf of all the minorities but as I come from a minority myself as an Ismaili (although I am secular), if you look at what is happening in my hometown Salamieh you can see that people finally understand the fact that the regime is using this tactic, and they are no longer fooled by it. I'm sure that if any Christian spoke out against the regime, they would face the same consequences, like what happened to some artists, such as Mai Skaf who is Christian.

I think if Syrians managed to get rid of this regime, they would be able to challenge any future problems that might arise after any change, such as the idea of an Islamic state and so on.

Ghassan Almeer, UK

Only UN option left for Palestinians

I write in reference to the article Israel's UN envoy says Palestinian recognition will not be blocked (August 29). The Oslo Accords were so badly worded that they could be interpreted 10,000 ways.

Israel (and the US by default) is not honouring the Oslo Accords the way the rest of the world does. The way Israel (with unconditional support of the US) has been acting and the way Israel twisted the Accords, Oslo was nothing more than a trap for Palestine. That Accords should be void.

Israel got 57 per cent of Palestine and has stolen 21 per cent more; what is there to negotiate? Don't you think Palestine did its part already? If Israel is not happy with 78 per cent of Palestine then what will satisfy it? One hundred per cent of Palestine, 100 per cent of Lebanon; who would be next?

Still, it's absurd. The US is threatening Palestine with sanctions for going to the UN which is in every country or nation's fundamental rights. Yet Israel built illegal settlements for over 40 years, committed war crimes, humanitarian crimes, may have illegally obtained nukes and never got as much as a slap on the wrist. With such obvious US bias, who can in all honesty blame Palestine for going to the UN?

Chris Newman, UK

Katrina lies must be laid to rest

As New York deals with its own evacuation (Hurricane leaves 14 dead, millions without power in US, August 29), it's important that some myths be laid to rest about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which marked its sixth anniversary yesterday.

My book, Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina, offers some facts. While Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it was not a natural disaster for the city of New Orleans. The Army Corps of Engineers' shoddy levees failed to hold up to a Category 3 storm. Most of the damage was caused by these failures as well as the slow response by the federal government.

While we in the Superdome believed the rumours of murders and rapes, in reality these could not be verified. There was a suicide, a couple of drug overdoses and five deaths of medical patients.

The airport, Amtrak, and Greyhound shut down prior to the evacuation. Many of us could not get out and ended up at the Superdome or Convention Center.

The evacuation of approximately 85 per cent of residents was higher than any other of its kind.

Those flooded buses would have only evacuated about 5000 people as only half were operable.

Days after Katrina, George W Bush said "no one could have foreseen the breach of the levees". Six months later a video and transcripts surfaced showing Mr Bush being forewarned by the Head of the National Hurricane Center that this was going to be a devastating storm and quite likely the levees would be breached. He said: "Everything would be taken care of." Thus he was caught in two lies.

Paul Harris, US

Republican party can still be saved

In regards to James Zogby's The Grand Old Party leans right, and Americans shudder (August 28), as a conservative, I feel pain.

Perhaps if we keep in mind that the election is still 14 months away, the conservatives' favoured candidate will come forward to rescue America from its current woes.

Ted Baxter, US

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