A while ago, I wrote a review of Zeitoun by Dave Eggers and have also mentioned it elsewhere in this blog a handful of times. This book is the true story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun and what happened to him in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. The book is amazing and so when I found out that there was going to be a City Arts and Lecture event featuring author Dave Eggers in conversation with Abdulrahman and his wife, Kathy, I thought it would be an great opportunity and so got tickets.
Moderated by Wajahat Ali in the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, the conversation centered around the Zeitouns as they opened up about their experiences. I have to say, it was one thing reading the book and it was something entirely different to actually hear them talk about some of the horrific events they had to go through. Everyone was spellbound and tt wasn’t hard to notice that they all loved them. I think the story Kathy Zeitoun told in the beginning about her pat-down at airport security on the way to San Francisco warmed the crowd to them right from the beginning :)
Whenever I get a chance, I really try to promote this book to family, friends, coworkers, and random people. Count this as one more time in which I tell you to check this book out. Trust me.
Side note: I wasn’t sure where to do the Maghrib prayer (one of the prayers that Muslims do) before I was meant to meet up a friend for dinner before the show. Then, I remembered that there is a masjid nearby and I could just walk to the restaurant afterward. One problem: the masjid is one of the worst parts of town in San Francisco and I wasn’t too keen on walking for 10 minutes in the semi-dark in the Tenderloin (the name of the area). As I was waiting for Maghrib to begin, my worrying increased and so I asked a random guy in the masjid if it was safe to walk down the particular street I needed to:
Him: “Why, because you’re Muslim?”
Me: “Well, no. I mean, y’know…”
Him: “What, because of hoodlums or something?”
Me: “Well, it’s just that” *looking down, shuffling feet* “the Tenderloin has, y’know, a bit of a reputation and so I was just wondering if it’s safe to walk down [street name] after Maghrib. Y’know.”
He said that there were people who do all sorts of stuff but everyone keeps to themselves. If I don’t bother anyone, no one would bother me. Needless to say, I hightailed it to the restaurant after the prayer, trying to stay focused. Fortunately, I didn’t come across anyone unsavory. I did, however, see someone get arrested outside of the masjid right when I came out. Good times.