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Translated into English it means peace or believers. For two weeks she had no word from her husband, concluding in the end that he must be dead. "I'm making it very clear to you today.". So far he has renovated a museum, some schools and about 250 houses damaged in the floods. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. It was very hurtful. The reason for her current preoccupation is the publication of the new book by that one-man literary factory Dave Eggers, whose best-known previous work is the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. ", "She was inside the house holding on to the bookshelf with water up to her shoulder," Zeitoun recalls, as we stand outside the house. they asked a passing soldier. So why have these two nice, beautiful words been changed in people's minds to 'terrorist'?" Kathy walked right up to him and explained the situation, but Jordan said there was nothing he could do. Eventually, the charges against all four of them were dropped. Prior to sentencing Zeitoun, Landrum-Johnson denied his request for a new trial. Abdulrahman Zeitoun is not the calm and peaceful man that Eggers portrayed. Prosecutors argued at trial he repeatedly violated a protective order forbidding him to get near his ex-wife or properties they still owned jointly after their divorce. “Zeitoun is a riveting, intimate, wide-scanning, disturbing, inspiring nonfiction account of a New Orleans married couple named Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun who were dragged through their own special branch of Kafkaesque (for once the adjective is unavoidable) hell after Hurricane Katrina. In June 2013, another judge acquitted Zeitoun in a bench trial on charges that he tried to beat his ex-wife, Kathy Zeitoun, to death with a tire iron in 2012 and later offered another inmate $20,000 to kill her. Eggers’s riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun’s roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy an American who converted to Islam and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun … The moment he saw my name he said, 'Get into the boat!'". That said, when I arrive at his house he is nowhere to be seen. ", "I am afraid of him, not only because of attempts on my life, but because I don't want my children to suffer any longer," reads the letter. Then, on 19 September, she learned of his detention from a missionary who called her after having seen Zeitoun in prison. We get back into the car and retrace the route of that boat ride, stopping at the Greyhound bus station near the city centre. An outside wall of the house is stained with a faint but still clearly discernible line at about shoulder height, a record etched in paint of where the flood waters settled. At this point, our journey begins its descent to a much darker place. Eggers worked closely with Abdulrahman Zeitoun (known simply as "Zeitoun") and his American wife Kathy to faithfully represent Zeitoun's experiences when he remained in New Orleans to … Another soldier said as he passed: "Taliban. But surely that suggests that he fears another Katrina, I ask him. One of the gross injustices against them both was that Zeitoun was allowed no phone call, which left her in mounting despair. "You guys are al-Qaida," came the reply. The request argued prosecutors failed to prove, among other things, that Zeitoun had intended to commit the crime of felony stalking. Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Zeitoun, Zeytoun, Żejtun, Zaytoun, Zeitun, Zitouna, "Zetum" or Zeita (all derived from the Arabic word for "olive tree") may refer to: Organisations. Other questions:subscriberservices@theadvocate.com. It explores what happens when the entire fabric of society collapses, plunging a city into a parallel universe where there is no justice, no government, no protection, no respect. The country was in the midst of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the heels of the Six-Day War. After a few years of apprenticeship in the Syrian port city of Jableh, Zeitoun spent twenty years working at sea as a muscleman, engineer and fisherman. "I cracked open at that point," she tells me. "I don't want them to be afraid to live.". My life is here now," he says. "I felt very bad. "Why are we here?" Beside it is a framed 3D model of the Qur'an. Court officials told her they couldn't divulge such information as it was private. Landrum-Johnson found him guilty of the felony stalking charge at a bench trial on June 6, 2016. His wife Kathy, a boisterous Southerner who converted to Islam, is left to make sense of the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun was possible. Photograph: Julie Dermansky/Polaris. (OPSO) Zeitoun was completely content, despite the grueling labor. Kathy had suffered abuse from the beginning of her marriage to Abdulrahman. Landrum-Johnson set a February court date to follow up on the status of a possible appeal. Abdulrahman Zeitoun was sentenced to four years in prison Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, for felony stalking. Eggers spent three years on and off interviewing the family, then translating their memories into his trademark vivid yet restrained prose. Camp Greyhound held a total of 1,200 detainees in the aftermath of the hurricane, most of whom were African-Americans and all of whom suffered the indignity of having their right to habeas corpus removed. ", We set off by car along the maze of streets around his neighbourhood. The closest thing it reminded him of was Guantánamo. Zeitoun still gets angry about the way he was treated, particularly as an American Muslim. "This is my home, my city. At the center of it all, on Tumanbay Street, sat … The nadir came for her when she tried to find out the address of the courthouse where he was due to appear, charged with looting. Nothing else. It was just on a piece of paper on the side of a desk or in a file. "Most of the time I don't think about what happened at all," Kathy says, as she pours the coffee. Their experiences were just a blip in the civil rights catastrophe that was Katrina. "Zeitoun," he says in self-introduction, as though there were any doubt. Increasingly angry, Kathy reiterated what had happened to her husband as loudly as she could, in front of the reporters. The book, entitled Zeitoun, is, as its name suggests, a very personal telling of a national tragedy. She dashed back to the city from Texas, where she had been staying with friends. Zeitoun is revered in his adopted city as a fair and hardworking businessman. He announced his intention to appeal the conviction and sentence. "Being called those terrible names. Despite that, he refuses to be bitter and vengeful. In the days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. But when Zeitoun was carted off there, he and his three companions found themselves surrounded by 80 or so men with assault rifles and dogs, a mixture of National Guardsmen, prison wardens and soldiers, some of whom had recently been serving in Iraq and who seemed to approach the situation in New Orleans with a war-zone mentality. Zeitoun helped the woman reach safety in a fishing boat, which was no small feat given that she weighed 90kg (14st). Subject of post-Katrina book, 'Zeitoun,' sentenced to 4 years for stalking, Emily Lane, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. How would you feel?". Despite facing some mild prejudice after 9/11, Zeitoun has built a life that is both financially and socially successful. I did what I was brought up to do – to help people.". "I don't want to give these guys the chance to do the same thing to me again.". Dave Eggers's latest book, Zeitoun, patiently unravels the harrowing tale of how Kathy Zeitoun, a Louisiana native who grew up in a southern Baptist … While Zeitoun was incarcerated, first at Camp Greyhound and then in a maximum-security prison, Kathy was, as she puts it, "battling her own demons". Judge Frank Marullo, since retired, found that the other inmate was a liar. Gradually, out of this domestic pleasure dome, telltale signs emerge of the calamity that struck the Zeitouns almost five years ago. He was kept penned up at the bus station for three days and nights, and interviewed by officers from homeland security who seemed to think they had caught a big fish. It was not read aloud in court. On November 8th, Zeitoun was indicted for attempted first-degree murder and solicitation of first-degree murder. He had come initially in search of work, never expecting to stay, but he then met Kathy, a local Louisiana woman who had converted to Islam four years previously. Our Lady of Zeitoun, also known simply as El-Zeitoun, Zeitun or rarely Our Lady of Light, was a mass Marian apparition that occurred in the Zeitoun district of Cairo, Egypt, over a period of 2–3 years beginning on April 2, 1968. He is known simply as "Zeitoun" to his many neighbors, friends and loyal clients. "The way I thought of it was, anything you can do to help. Further on, we come to the residence of a man who was stranded and to whom Zeitoun brought food and water every day while he still had his canoe and his liberty. A New Orleans judge sentenced Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who was portrayed as a hero in a 2009 book about his actions after Hurricane Katrina, to four years in prison for stalking his ex-wife. Then we arrive at Claiborne Avenue where the weirdness truly began. For his trouble, he was arrested as a suspected terrorist, Abdulrahman Zietoun in the New Orleans Greyhound bus station where he was held after ­being arrested. What he did was to stay in New Orleans when the hurricane struck, driven by a conviction that that is where he belonged. I felt like I was a little kid again – with no say-so, no rights, no voice. As they approach the fifth anniversary of those events, the Zeitouns have managed with striking success to put their lives back together. "It can happen again.". The book by Dave Eggers titled "Zeitoun" showed him to be a stalwart husband and father who rescued neighbors by canoe after Katrina before landing behind bars for weeks after police and National Guard members mistook him for a possible terrorist. I'm in control of nothing," she says. Zeitoun, Egypt, a suburb outside Cairo. To Zeitoun, the series of disasters—first flood, then fire—evoke the story of Noah’s ark. The publisher's description of the book couches it as a story about a Syrian native and house painting contractor who was caught "between America's two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.". Zeitoun By Dave Eggers Vintage 368 pages Paperback $16.00 About This Guide This guide is intended to enhance your group’s reading and discussion of Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun, a harrowing nonfiction account of what happened to one man, and his family, in … . Zaytoun (organisation), a non-profit organisation marketing Palestinian olive oil products; People. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American, spent 23 days in jail, wrongly accused of terrorist activity, after his post-Katrina heroics. He is also extra careful to follow all the civil rules – he doesn't speed or cut through red lights or park where he shouldn't. Eggers's riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun's roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy — an American who converted to Islam — and their children, and the surreal atmosphere in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun was possible. "How could the address of a courthouse be private? He swam to the front door and inside found a woman in her 70s hovering above him. "All he did was look at my ID," Zeitoun says, "and that was enough. Our Lady of Zeitoun, also known simply as El-Zeitoun, Zeitun or rarely Our Lady of Light, was a mass Marian apparition that occurred in the Zeitoun district of Cairo, Egypt, over a period of 2–3 years beginning on April 2, 1968. To win the argument, Zeitoun compared God to a ship captain ferrying humans through the dangerous seas. What dark thoughts? Zeitoun, 60, who completed a four-year Louisiana prison sentence in March after his conviction on felony stalking, can remain free in the U.S. as an … "It happened before," he says. Zeitoun takes us on a guided tour of the route that he negotiated in his canoe in the days after the storm. Kathy Zeitoun, dressed in a blue silk shirt and matching hijab, is fluttering around making spiced pumpkin-flavoured coffee and answering the constantly ringing phone. As students explored the book, many were overwhelmed by the heart wrenching but heroic story of the main character, Abdulrahman Zeitoun. Imagine you see a doctor and you shout at him, 'Can you help me? During this time he traveled the world and eventually settled in the United States in 1988. Blackwell North Amer When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. Abdulrahman Zeitoun main.jpg. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina he paddled from house to house in a canoe, offering help to his neighbours. Tensions ran high in the predominantly Muslim country, home to a minority of Christians. A line drawing of him in the boat is printed on the cover of Eggers's book, and the film director Jonathan Demme plans to make an animated movie of his story next year. On November 8th, Zeitoun was indicted for attempted first-degree murder and solicitation of first-degree murder. Dave Eggers’s riveting account of what happened to this hardworking Muslim immigrant makes it impossible to put the book down. . He turns up an hour and a half late, which Kathy insists is wholly true to form and actually not that bad: he kept her waiting for two hours on their wedding day. he asks. Zeitoun paddling through New Orleans in his canoe may well become one of the enduring images of Katrina. I cried harder then than I did at any other time. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers is published by Hamish Hamilton in hardback on 15 March, £18.99. Abdulrahman Zeitoun is not the calm and peaceful man that Eggers portrayed. Instead, he … (OPSO). The first stop we make is at a house of grey clapboard standing on stilts. It was 6 September, six days after the hurricane, and he was in the house – his own property, which he rents out – along with a Syrian friend, Nasser Dayoob, his tenant Todd Gambino and Ronnie, a white man Zeitoun didn't know but who had asked to stay in the house for shelter. Zeitoun points out the spot where he saw a human body floating in the filthy water. He could have turned up 10 hours late and still you'd forgive him, just as soon as you felt his firm handshake and the embrace of his warm smile. Abdulrahman Zeitoun was sentenced to four years in prison Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, for felony stalking. "Muslim is a very simple word. Orleans Criminal District Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson, who handed down the sentence Monday (Nov. 21), warned Zeitoun to abide by a permanent protective order barring him from contacting his wife and three children after he is released from custody. "That's where I kept the canoe tied, like you'd tie up your horse. It does so exclusively through the eyes of the Zeitouns. "Katrina was a great reality slap. His construction skills and great strength proved invaluable as he levered her on a ladder out to the vessel. He refuses to bear a grudge, and says, for him, it remains a great country – you don't judge 300 million people on the behaviour of a few bad guys. A letter from Kathy Zeitoun was put on the record to be considered by the judge for sentencing. Kathy and Zeitoun walked into the lobby, and suddenly Kathy caught sight of Jordan out front, surrounded by reporters. Kathy seats me in the neat and orderly living room, which is dominated by cream leather sofas and a watercolour of a street scene from her husband's native Syria. A week later Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Our tour continues and we pass the house of a local Baptist church pastor and his wife whom the Zeitouns had known for years and who similarly cried out for help. About The Book Abdulrahman Zeitoun is a Syrian-born entrepreneur who runs a busy painting company in New Orleans. He says he is more disciplined now about his religious observance, making sure he at least is punctual for his five daily prayer sessions. Zeitoun loved exploring cities, but he wasn’t the stereotypical sailor: he didn’t gamble or drink alcohol. In one of the most memorable phrases of the book, Eggers writes: "Her patterned dress was spread out on the surface of the water like a great floating flower. No other questions. Noises emanating from four of her five children bubble up like broth from the back room where they are watching Kung Fu Panda on a giant flat-screen TV. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. ', because your foot is infected and hurting badly, and he's wearing a green medical gown and a stethoscope around his neck, and he says, 'I'm not a doctor,' and walks on. Kathy seats me in the neat and orderly living room, which is dominated by cream leather sofas and a watercolour of a street scene from her husband's native Syria. Today, a personal story of a national tragedy. He has never even thought of abandoning the US. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. On every street corner he has a tale to tell. They had built a life together, grown their construction business and had children. In June 2018, freshmen at Pentucket High School were assigned the nonfiction book Zeitoun by Dave Eggers for their summer reading assignment. Zeitoun is a moving and eye-opening journalistic account of a much-loved and respected Syrian-born small business owner and resident of New Orleans in the days before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. As he paddled by, Zeitoun explains, he heard a voice faintly crying "Help!". . About The Book Abdulrahman Zeitoun is a Syrian-born entrepreneur who runs a busy painting Page 2/12. In the letter she asks the judge to impose the maximum sentence, saying Zeitoun "went through great lengths to make our live as miserable as possible." Landrum-Johnson, explaining her decision to deny the request, cited testimony about the "history of physical abuse on the victim and daughter.". Zeitoun by Dave Eggers In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. account of what happened to one man, and his family, in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He begins by pointing to a pillar at the front of his house. This is a true story that tells about the experiences of a Muslim family, the Zeitouns, before, during, and after the storm. He says now that whenever he drives by the Greyhound station – or Camp Greyhound as it was dubbed – dark thoughts enter his mind. Abdulrahman Zeitoun is the real-life hero of Dave Eggers's new book. Kathy had suffered abuse from the beginning of her marriage to Abdulrahman. Today it's back to a semblance of normality, with its familiar canine logo and silver buses lined in rows. In the days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. Saturday afternoon and the Zeitoun household is bustling with activity, as you quickly get the impression it always is. Part 4 of the book begins thirty pages later, as Eggers picks up Zeitoun’s story, and readers learn what has happened to him after the end of part 2 during his arrest and incarceration. The most interesting part was about the aftermath of Katrina, and as Hurricane Harvey had just inundated Houston, it was especially timely reading, How Zeitoun was able to get along so well showed his capability. Zeitoun's attorney Paul Barker said since his client has already served two years and three months at the Orleans Parish jail, he may be eligible for release as early as this week. Kathy Zeitoun, dressed in a blue silk shirt and matching hijab, is fluttering around making spiced pumpkin-flavoured coffee and answering the constantly ringing phone. Zeitoun was detained for almost a month before he was released on $75,000 (£50,000) bail for having looted his own house. In the hurricane, the flood waters reached almost up to its windows. God left me here for a reason. This time, though, he wants a bigger model that would allow him to rescue people more easily. Although what happened following Zeitoun’s arrest was certainly traumatic, not all of his memories from the time after the storm are so negative—he takes solace in remembering how calm, peaceful, and helpful he felt maneuvering throughout the city and assisting those in need. Zeitoun explained he was the landlord, but the only response was a demand from one of the National Guardsmen for his identity card. This guide is intended to enhance your group’s reading and discussion of Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun, a harrowing nonfiction account of what happened to one man, and his family, in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. April 2, 1968. To prove the point to himself, perhaps, he plans to buy another boat; his canoe went missing following his arrest. Barker objected to the denial for a new trial and to the sentencing. After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun canoed through the city, rescuing neighbors and bringing them bottled water — until he was wrongfully arrested by … ", It was like a dagger blow for Zeitoun, for himself personally and for his vision of America, the country where he had come to live as a young merchant seaman from Syria and which he had always believed was a land of fairness and opportunity. Download File PDF Zeitoun By Dave Eggers ... Zeitoun visits his many work sites At the centre of the book is Kathy's husband, Abdulrahman, or Zeitoun as he is universally known, a New Orleans building contractor who has attained almost mythical status. He spent his twenties and early thirties at sea, on cargo and passenger ships going all over the world. "She must have been in the water for about 24 hours by then.". Abdulrahman Zeitoun is the real-life hero of Dave Eggers's new book. Kathy has been diagnosed with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including memory loss and dizziness. She cites abuse or threats on her and her daughters by Zeitoun. Beside it is a framed 3D model of the Qur'an. In recent days Kathy has been forced to think back a lot on the events leading up to and following 29 August 2005, when hurricane Katrina ripped through her city of New Orleans, breaching its levees and immersing much of it, including her home, in several feet of water. He comes into the room straight from a building site with his trousers splattered in mud. Noises emanating from four of her five children bubble up like broth from the back room where they are watching Kung Fu Panda on a giant flat-screen TV. I felt lost.". "I really don't feel we deserve all this attention," he says in a thick Middle-Eastern accent. The others fared worse: Dayoob, Gambino and Ronnie spent five, six and eight months in prison respectively, despite Zeitoun's efforts to prise them out. In the days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on … And now here he was being called a terrorist. Abdulrahman Zeitoun grew up in Syria. "I only did what I had been brought up to do.". aturday afternoon and the Zeitoun household is bustling with activity, as you quickly get the impression it always is. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina he paddled from house to house in a canoe, offering help to his neighbours. "Stay away from them," Landrum-Johnson told Zeitoun, leaning forward from the bench while looking at him. Then, when he is arrested and imprisoned without being allowed to communicate and without being charged, he is helpless. He remembers a time in his sailing days when he entered into a debate about the existence of God with his captain. I was naive before – I felt I had things under control. All in all, Zeitoun reckons he must have helped to save or rescue more than 10 neighbours. Instead, he dedicates his time to rebuilding the city, which is what he was doing when he was so late for our meeting. She says her memory has been affected after her ex-husband used her "as a punching bag. The memory of people refusing to help. Nor will he contemplate quitting New Orleans. You have permission to edit this article. The children are starting to sleep in their own beds again having for years insisted on cramming into their parents' for security. While Kathy and the kids joined the mass evacuation from the city, he hunkered down at home; and when the levees broke and the flood water poured in, he put to use a battered old canoe he owned to navigate the streets of his neighbourhood, now turned into canals. Not only is he the dominant character in the 339 pages of Eggers's book, but in the US press he has been dubbed an "all-American hero" for the phlegmatic way he conducted himself in the midst of catastrophe. But I've come to the conclusion that I don't control anything. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Zeitoun was on the phone to his brother in Syria when six unidentified police officers and National Guardsmen burst through the front door dressed in military fatigues and bullet-proof vests and carrying M16s and pistols. These guys wanted revenge on us, no matter what.". "Until I step out on to the street – then it all comes back to me.". Dave Eggers’s riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun’s roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy − an American who converted to Islam − and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun became possible. N'T want them to be afraid to live. `` a non-profit organisation marketing Palestinian olive oil what happened to zeitoun ;.... Fishing boat, which left her in mounting despair spot where he belonged heels... 6, 2016, for felony stalking kathy reiterated what what happened to zeitoun happened to her husband, in. 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