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FREE DOWNLOAD ë The Monk of Mokha â [PDF / Epub] ★ The Monk of Mokha Author Dave Eggers – Dcmdirect.co.uk PROLOGUE Mokhtar Alkhanshali and I agree to meet in Oakland He has just returned from Yemen having narrowly escaped with his life An American citizen Mokhtar was abandoned by his government and left t PROLOGUE Mokhtar Alkhanshali aHere is a domestic terror incident propagated by a Muslim for instancepropose the registry or even internment of Muslims in America When he made the joke Mokhtar was wearing a T shirt that read MAKE COFFEE NOT WAR Mokhtars sense of humor pervades everything he does and says and in these pages I hope to have captured it and how it informs the way he sees the world even at its most perilous At one point during the Yemeni civil war Mokhtar was captured and held in prison by a militia in Aden Because he was raised in the United States and is steeped in American pop culture it occurred to him that one of his captors looked like the Karate Kid when Mokhtar recounted the episode to me he called the captor the Karate Kid and nothing else By using this nickname I dont mean to understate the danger Mokhtar was in but feel its important to reflect the outlook of a man who is uniuely difficult to rattle and who sees most dangers as only temporary impediments tocrucial concernsthe finding roasting and importing of Yemeni coffee and the progress of the farmers for whomhe fights And my guess is that this captor did look like the Ralph Macchio of the early s Mokhtar is both humble before the history he inhabits and irreverent about his place in it But his story is an old fashioned one Its chiefly about the American Dream which is very much alive and very much under threat His story is also about coffee and about how he tried to improve coffee production in Yemen where coffee cultivation was first undertaken five hundred years ago Its also about the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco a valley of desperation in a city of towering wealth about the families that live there and struggle to live there safely and with dignity Its about the strange preponderance of Yemenis in the liuor store trade of California and the unexpected history of Yemenis in the Central Valley And how their work in California echoes their long history of farming in Yemen And how direct trade can change the lives of farmers giving them agency and standing And about how Americans like Mokhtar AlkhanshaliUS citizens who maintain strong ties to the countries of their ancestors and who through entrepreneurial zeal and dogged labor create indispensable bridges between the developed and developing worlds between nations that produce and those that consume And how these bridgemakers exuisitely and bravely embody this nations reason for being a place of radical opportunity and ceaseless welcome And how when we forget that this is central to all that is best about this country we forget ourselvesa blended people united not by stasis and cowardice and fear but by irrational exuberance by global enterprise on a human scale by the inherent rightness of pressing forward always forward driven by courage unfettered and unyielding BOOK I CHAPTER I The Satchel Miriam gave things to Mokhtar Usually books She gave him Das KapitalShe gave him Noam Chomsky She fed his mind She fueled his aspirations They dated for a year or so but the odds were long He was a Muslim Yemeni American and she was half Palestinian half Greek and a Christian But she was beautiful and fierce and she fought harder for Mokhtar than he fought for himself When he said he wanted to finally get his undergraduate degree and go to law school she bought him a satchel It was a lawyerly valise made in Granada painstakingly crafted from the softest leather with brass rivets and buckles and elegant compartments within Maybe Miriam thought the object would drive the dream Things were clicking into place Mokhtar thought He had finally saved enough money to enroll at City College of San Francisco and would start in the fall After two years at City hed do twoat San Francisco State then three years of law school Hed be thirty when he finished Not ideal but it was a time line he could act onFor the first time in his academic life there was something like clarity and momentum He needed a laptop for college so he asked his brother Wallead for a loan Wallead was less than a year youngerIrish twins they called each otherbut Wallead had things figured out After years working as a doorman at a residential high rise called the Infinity Wallead had enrolled at the University of California Davis And he had enough money saved to pay for Mokhtars laptop Wallead charged the new MacBook Air to his credit card and Mokhtar promised to pay back the eleven hundred dollars in installmentsMokhtar put the laptop in Miriams satchel it fit perfectly and looked lawyerly Mokhtar brought the satchel to the Somali fund raiser This was and he and a group of friends had organized an event in San Francisco to raise money for Somalis affected by the famine that had already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands The benefit was during Ramadan so everyone ate well and heard Somali American speakers talk about the plight of their countrymen Three thousand dollars were raised most of it in cash Mokhtar put the money in the satchel and wearing a suit and carrying a leather satchel containing a new laptop and a stack of dollars of every denomination he felt like a man of action and purpose Because he was galvanized and because by nature he was impulsive he convinced one of the other organizers Sayed Darwoush to drive the funds an hour south to Santa Clara that nightimmediately after the event In Santa Clara theyd go to the mosue and give the money to a represent.
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PROLOGUE Mokhtar Alkhanshali and I agree to meet in Oakland He has just returned from Yemen having narrowly escaped with his life An American citizen Mokhtar was abandoned by his government and left to evade Saudi bombs and Houthi rebels He had no means to leave the country The airports had been The Monk PDFEPUBdestroyed and the roads out of the country were impassable There were no evacuationsplanned no assistance provided The United States State Department had stranded thousands of Yemeni Americans who were forced to devise their own means of fleeing a blitzkriegtens of thousands of US made bombs dropped on Yemen by the Saudi air force I wait for Mokhtar pronounced MKH tar outside Blue Bottle Coffee in Jack London Suare Elsewhere in the United States there is a trial under way in Boston where two young brothers have been charged with setting off a series of bombs during the Boston Marathon killing nine and wounding hundreds High above Oakland a police helicopter hovers monitoring a dockworkers strike going on at the Port of Oakland This is fourteen years after and seven years into the administration of President Barack Obama As anation we had progressed from the high paranoia of the Bush years the active harassment of Muslim Americans had eased somewhat but any crime perpetrated by any Muslim American fanned the flames of Islamophobia for another few months When Mokhtar arrives he looks older andself possessed than the last time Id seen him The man who gets out of the car this day is wearing khakis and a purple sweater vest His hair is short and gelled and his goatee is neatly trimmed He walks with a preternatural calm his torso barely moving as his legs carry him across the street and to our table on the sidewalk We shake hands and on his right hand I see that he wears a large silver ring spiderwebbed with detailed markings a great ruby red stone set into it He ducks into Blue Bottle to say hello to friends working inside and to bring me a cup of coffee from Ethiopia He insists I wait till it cools to drink it Coffee should not be enjoyed too hot he says it masks the flavor and taste buds retreat from the heat When were finally settled and the coffee has cooled he begins to tell his story of entrapment and liberation in Yemen and of how he grew up in the Tenderloin district of San Franciscoin many ways the citys most troubled neighborhoodhow while working as a doorman at a high end apartment building downtown he found his calling in coffee Mokhtar speaks uickly He is very funny and deeply sincere and illustrates his stories with photos hes taken on his smartphone Sometimes he plays the music he listened to during a particular episode of his story Sometimes he sighs Sometimes he wonders at his existence his good fortune being a poor kid from the Tenderloin who now has found some significant success as a coffee importer Sometimes he laughs amazed that he is not dead given he lived through a Saudibombing of Sanaa and was held hostage by two different factions in Yemen after the country fell to civil war But primarily he wants to talk about coffee To show me pictures of coffee plants and coffee farmers To talk about the history of coffee the overlapping tales of adventure and derring do that brought coffee to its current status asfuel for much of the worlds productivity and a seventy billion dollar global commodity The only time he slows down is when he describes the worry he caused his friends and family when he was trapped in Yemen His large eyes well up and he pauses staring at the photos on his phone for a moment before he can compose himself and continue Now as I finish this book its been three years since our meeting that day in Oakland Before embarking on this project I was a casual coffee drinker and a great skeptic of specialty coffee I thought it was too expensive and that anyone who cared so much about how coffee was brewed or where it came from or waited in line for certain coffees made certain ways was pretentious and a fool But visiting coffee farms and farmers around the world from Costa Rica to Ethiopia has educated me Mokhtar educated me We visited his family in Californias Central Valley and we picked coffee cherries in Santa Barbaraat North Americas only coffee farm We chewed at in Harar and in the hills above the city we walked amid some of the oldest coffee plants on earth In retracing his steps in Djibouti we visited a dusty and hopeless refugee camp near the coastal outpost of Obock and I watched as Mokhtar fought to recover the passport of a young Yemeni dental student who had fled the civil war and had nothingnot even his identity In the most remote hills of Yemen Mokhtar and I drank sugary tea with botanists and sheiksand heard the laments of those who had no stake in the civil war and only wanted peace After all this American voters electedor the electoral college made possiblethe presidency of a man who had promised toexclude all Muslims from entering the countryuntil we figure out whats going on he said After inauguration he made two efforts to ban travel to the United States by citizens of seven Muslim majority nations On this list was Yemen a countrymisunderstood than perhaps any other I hope they have wifi in the camps Mokhtar said to me after the election It was a grim joke making the rounds in the Muslim American community based on the presumption that Trump will at the first opportunityif t.
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The Monk of MokhaAtive of Islamic Relief the global nonprofit distributing aid in Somalia One of the organizers asked Mokhtar to bring a large cooler full of leftover rooh afzaa pink Pakistani drink made with milk and rose water You sure you have togo tonight Jeremy asked Jeremy often thought Mokhtar was taking on too much and too soon Im fine Mokhtar said It has to be tonighthe thought So Sayed drove and all the way down Highway they reflected on the generosity evident that night and Mokhtar thought howgood it felt to conjure an idea and see it realized He thought too about what it would be like to have a law degree to be the first of the Alkhanshalis in America with a JD How eventually hed graduate and represent asylum seekers other Arab Americans with immigration issues Maybe someday run for office Halfway to Santa Clara Mokhtar was overcome with exhaustion Getting the event together had taken weeks now his body wanted rest He set his head against the window Just closing my eyes he said When he woke they were parked in the lot of the Santa Clara mosue Sayed shook his shoulder Get up he said Prayers were beginning in a few minutes Mokhtar got out of the car half asleep They grabbed the rooh afzaout of the trunk and hustled into the mosue It was only after prayers that Mokhtar realized hed left the satchel outside On the ground next to the car Hed left the satchel containing the three thousand dollars and his new eleven hundred dollar laptop in the parking lot at midnight He ran to the car The satchel was gone They searched the parking lot Nothing No one in the mosue had seen anything Mokhtar and Sayed searched all night Mokhtar didnt sleep Sayed went home in the morning Mokhtar stayed in Santa Clara It made no sense to stay but going home was impossible He called Jeremy I lost the satchel I lost three thousand dollars and a laptop because of that damned pink milk What do I tell people Mokhtar couldnt tell the hundreds of people who had donated to Somali famine relief that their money was gone He couldnt tell Miriam He didnt want to think of what shed paid for the satchel what she would think of himlosing all that he had all at once Hecouldnt tell his parents He couldnt tell Wallead that theyd be paying off eleven hundred dollars for a laptop Mokhtar would never use The second day after he lost the satchel another friend of Mokhtars Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim was flying to Egypt to see what had become of the Arab Spring Mokhtar caught a ride with him to the airportit was halfway back to his parents house Ibrahim was finishing at UC Berkeley hed have his degree in months He didnt know what to say to Mokhtar Dont worrydidnt seem sufficient He disappeared in the security line and flew to Cairo Mokhtar settled into one of the black leather chairs in the atrium of the airport and sat for hours He watched the people go The families leaving and coming home The businesspeople with their portfolios and plans In the International Terminal a monument to movement he sat vibrating going nowhereExuisitely interesting This is about the human capacity to dreamhere there everywhere Gabriel ThompsonSan Francisco Chronicle A cracking tale of intrigue and bravery A gripping triumphant adventure story Paul Constant Los Angeles Times I wish someone had asked me to blurb The Monk of Mokhaso I could have said I couldnt put it down because I couldnt put it downAnn Patchett Parnassas Bookstore blog A true account of a scrappy underdog told in a lively accessible style Absolutely as gripping and cinematically dramatic as any fictional cliffhanger Michael Lindgren The Washington Post Remarkable offers hope in the age of Trump Ends as a kind of breathless thriller as Mokhtar braves militia roadblocks kidnappings and multiple mortal dangers Tim Adams The Guardian A heady brew Plainspoken but grippingDives deep into a crisis but delivers a jolt of uplift as well Mark Athitakis USA Today A vibrant depiction of courage and passion interwoven with a detailed history of Yemeni coffee and a timely exploration of Muslim American identityDavid Canfield Entertainment Weekly The Monk of Mokhais not merely about coming to America it is a thrilling chronicle of one mans coming and going between two beloved homelandsa brilliant mirror on the global community we have becomeMarie Arana author of American Chicaand Bolivar American Liberator This American coming of age story reminds us all of how much our country is enriched by all who call it homeDalia Mogahed author of Who Speaks For Islam What a Billion Muslims Really Think Heres a story for our time filled with ethos and pathos Youll laugh cry and discover worlds unknown to most From scamming in the Tenderloin to dodging bombs in Yemen Mokhtar and Eggers take us on a worthwhile ride through the postmodern topography of our timesHamza Hanson Yusuf Like many great works Eggers book is multifaceted It combines in a single moving narrative history politics biography psychology adventure drama despair hope triumph and the irrepressible indomitable nature of the human spirit at its bestImam Zaid ShakirIn telling Mokhtars story with such clarity honesty and humor Eggers allows readers to consider Yemen and Yemenis long invisible side lined or maligned in the American imagination in their wonderful and complicated fullnessAlia Malek author of The Home That Was Our Country A Memoir of Syria and A Country Called Amreeka Arab Roots American Storie.