March 20; 7:45 am, B Nimri Aziz begins a new radio commentary on events around the globe and in the USA. Listen in at 99.5 fm, or online www.wbai.org where we are livestreamed.
March 8, Women's Day Radio Specials 10-11 am on WJFF Radio, 90.5 fm, and 11:am on WBAI, 99.5 New York: B. Nimri Aziz interviews director Amber Fares about her new film "Speed Sisters" --a profile of 5 Palestinian car racers. Orther segments are from 2009-2010 interviews with professional women in Damascus Syria, Nadia Khost and Nidaa Al-Islam.
As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer. James Baldwin
I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?
Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89
It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.
You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.
Mary Tyler Moore
You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions
"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali
"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure" attributed to Tibetan sources
Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.
- Reviewed by BN Aziz
I first saw this book in the airport before I was about to depart New York for Damascus. The name "Zeitoun", olive, is a popular word in Arabic, and the a common Arab family name. Still I did not realize the importance of the story until a year later when I actually took it in hand to read.
Dave Eggers is now a widely known because of his authorship of this book, and the earlier biography/novel “What is the What”, which I am currently reading.
It seems that Eggers has introduced a most effective, convincing way to tell the dramatic story of his subjects. Extensive recording of a man’s life story, then lightly fictionalized. "Zeitoun" is the account of an American family over a two year period. It is a simple family, as unremarkable as so many millions in the landscape of American history. Abdulrahman Zeitoun has a wife Kathy and four children, the oldest of which is a boy from her first marriage. Together this ordinary couple run a family house construction and repair business. Their days are full —driving children to school, supervising workers, meeting deadlines, bar-B-Q’s in the yard, visiting extended family.
Then hurricane Katrina emerges and heads into their neighborhood in New Orleans. Kathy departs for higher ground in another city with the children; Zeitoun remains in New Orleans to board up houses of neighbors and secure his own properties.
He is an un-heroic fellow who finds he is needed by neighbors, abandoned animals, and three other men in the neighborhood who also remained through the storm. When Zeitoun goes missing after a week, his wife begins to worry. So does his brother Ahmed in Spain.
Zeitoon and his fellow survivors are incommunicado, have been picked up by federal authorizes. For looting.
The tension created by these two locations—Zeitoun in the flood and then in prison, and his family in a distant cit, frantic about his welfare-- is moderated by flashbacks of Zeitoun and Kathy’s early lives in the US, and his youth in Syria, his brothers and his father at sea, his own wanderings around the world, ending up, almost by chance in New Orleans. Compared to his earlier life, the domestic scene they inhabit in the US is rather uneventful.
What makes the book special for me is Eggers’ presentation of the life of the man Abdulrahman Zeitoun, both his heroism in the storm, his determined prayer and belief in himself, his day to day offhand description of his treatment like a caged animal. First we experience Zeitoun and Kathy’s Islam as a very ordinary matter woven humbly into their common American days; then we experience the devastating Katrina hurricane as a calamity; and finally we are confronted by the behavior of federal enforcement authorities during the storm. I read many criticisms of the blunders of authorities, the racism behind the inaction, the incompetency, the priority given to ‘security’, the corruption pervading reconstruction of the city. I watched Spike Lee’s critical film of the affair in “When the Levies Broke”.
Only in this book, in the almost understated words of Zeitoun, do I feel the outrage of the whole affair, especially the caging of American and denial of their rights by the faceless, cold men and women who our government trains in the name of to ‘protecting this land’. But neither author Eggers nor Zeitoun use such harsh words. They just give us the facts.
One congratulates Eggers on his writing and his respect for people that allows them to entrust their story to him. For me, an anthropologist, Eggers illustrates the best in social and political documentary.
"Zeitoun" was published in 2009 by McSweenys.com
by Dave Eggers
Well, sometimes the impossible takes a little longer!!!!!!
Lynne Stewart, Dec.31, 2013
- a poem.. a song..
- "I Am From"
Lisa Mohammed reads "I Am From" Flash
- Qur'an Surat Al-Laila
from 'Approaching the Qur'an' CD, male reciter
- Book review
- Yousry Nasrallah, Director, Egypt's
Scheherazade: Tell Me A Story
reviewed by BN Aziz.
- Tahrir Team
- Read about Aydin Baltaci in the team page.