Rescued from a kill shelter in Manteca, Petey Pumpkinhead III entered
our lives 7 years ago. Abused by a previous owner he was skittish and
nippish. That changed with love, affection and attention.
He was a majestic furry orange tabby. His coat emitted a perpetually
lovely fragrance. He had the sexiest strut with an ever present erect
tail and endearing behind.
Petey had simple needs. Belly rubs topped the list. He loved resting in
his backyard igloo. He would prance out when I entered the yard and
open wide for belly rubs and rolly polly.
He bonded with Klimey who also was rescued from a shelter. Klimey loved
licking Petey and taught Petey how to love back. They were inseparable.
Petey-Weedy (as we called him) evolved into the sweetest and most
gentle of companions. When hungry, he would jump into bed and
delicately place his paw on my face. No histrionics, just a love tap
and breakfast was on.
He loved sleeping inside the space between my legs or alongside the
curve of Clara's thigh. His body language suggested the most delicious
of dreams. He also had the squeakiest yawn when awakened.
Petey had a ravenous appetite and wore his weight well. That changed
last October when he dropped 2 pounds in short order and was diagnosed
with congestive heart failure.
He continued to lose weight but his sweet demeanor never changed.
Although not a lap cat during his youth, lately I would place him in my
lap in the back yard and we would stay together for long periods. These
were cherished moments. Klimey would join us and stay by Petey's side.
Strong medication was required every 8 hours to dissipate the fluid in
his lungs. No matter how much lasix was dosed, it could not stay on top
of the progression of his heart disease.
Last week Petey hit a low point and could hardly breath. He hadn't
eaten for 2+ days. We upped the lasix and he recovered miraculously.
His breathing appeared normal and he started eating - but only food
fresh out of the can. He ate more than he had in months. He had playful
sparring sessions with Klimey, tons of rolly polly and belly rubs, his
tail was erect and he slept next to my face the other day.
Today he had a good appetite in the early afternoon. I didn't see him
the rest of the day. When the thunder rumbled and the rain came pouring
down I went outside.
He was in the igloo. I tipped it and he ran inside. But something was wrong.
His breathing was labored. Petey could not catch his breath. He had
breathing attacks before and I had feared the worst, yet Petey always
An hour or so later when Clara came home, Petey's condition had
worsened. When he walked from under a table to lie down in the litter
box that was an alarming signal. I picked him up and he let out a cry.
Petey went under the bed where Klimey was and continued to make
We left him alone. Petey soon emerged and we put him in a blanket by the heater.
He wanted to be left alone.
Petey-Weedy barely could walk and stumbled out the bedroom and down a
few steps to the cat door. Somehow he pushed himself through. The igloo
was two feet from the door.
We let him be.
An hour later Clara checked on Petey.
His fur was gorgeous. His body still warm.
But Petey had passed.
He never made it to the igloo.
has been missing since Sept 2014. On Jan 23, 2015 while walking in McClaren Park
a cat resembling Moti emerged on a tree branch above a
thicket of bushes. This brightened our hearts as Clara and I imagine Moti as a feline Tarzan. Clara wrote the below poem before we confirmed the cat was not Moti.
by Clara Hsu
Who sits on a branch
above a field of thorns?
My cat. My cat.
Who listens to his names
and twitches his ears?
My cat. My cat.
His looks have changed since autumn
from living wild and eating mice.
We’re trespassing his kingdom
that can’t be bought
Catnip on the hills.
Songlines Music Travel
(click for details)
Shares the Tangents philosophy that nothing beats experiencing music at its source.
Cuba - The Music of Cuba
May 2-16, 2015
Morocco - Gnawa Festival
May 14-18, 2015
Borneo - Rainforest Festival
August 2-11, 2015
Romania - At Home with the Gypsies
August 15-23, 2015
Colombia – NEW TRIP
India – Rajasthan Musical Adventure
October 17-28, 2015
Senegal – Never Mind the Mbalax
November 20-29, 2015
Click to make contribution to MECA that provides emergency aid to children and families in Gaza
above to get the real facts about Gaza, a collaborative project by
Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area (JVP-BA) and the Council on
American-Islamic Relations San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA).
Click above for Archive
(Archive does not view in Google Chrome)
Saturdays 11p on Tangents, 91.7 fm SF, kalw.org
weekly feature includes news and opinion from the Middle East (and beyond) often ignored by the
mainstream media followed by music from the relevant cuountry or culture.
was originally conceived to focus attention on relieving the
humanitarian crisis in Gaza which has been under a severe blockade
imposed by Israel since 2006. Gaza Corner has evolved to include
the Middle East, Magreb, Kurdistan and Turkey.
Click headlines below for full stories.
Amnesty International Report:
Unlawful and deadly:
Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict
Palestinian armed groups in Gaza committed war crimes during last summer's Operation Protective Edge, which left more than 72 Israelis dead. The alleged crimes include rocket fire that resulted in the deaths of six Israeli civilians, including one child according to a March 26 report by Amnesty Internatioonal (AI).
(click above link for access to 68 pg. PDF file)
Operation Protective Edge
was an Israeli 51-day invasion into the Gaza Strip that began on July
7, 2014. Israelis say it was an effort to stop rocket fire;
Palestinians say the rocket fire was a result of continued ceasefire
violations committed by the Israelis.
During the 'war on Gaza' (Dore Stein's phrase),
Palestinian armed groups responded by firing thousands of unguided
rockets and mortars towards Israel, in many cases directing them
towards Israeli civilians and civilian objects, in violation of
international law according to the Amnesty International report.
These attacks killed six civilians in Israel, wounded others, and
damaged civilian property. The conduct of Palestinian armed groups also
endangered civilians in the Gaza Strip. In one case, the available
evidence according to Amnesty
International, indicates that
a rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group on 28 July 2014 killed 11
children and two adults in the al-Shati refugee camp, north-west of
Gaza City. If the projectile which landed in the al-Shati refugee camp
is confirmed to be a Palestinian rocket, it would mean that attacks
launched by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 conflict killed
more civilians inside the Gaza Strip than in Israel.
The Amnesty International
report does not address the summary killings of Palestinians in the
Gaza Strip by Hamas forces for alleged “collaboration” with Israel
during the July/August 2014 conflict, which will be the subject of a
Israeli forces also committed serious violations of international law
during the hostilities, but these are not the focus of this report.
Some of the Israeli violations, including attacks that constituted war
crimes, have been analysed in previous Amnesty International reports,
and additional reports will be published in the coming months.
It's worth distinguishing that unlike the Palestinians who fight with
mostly crude unguided rockets, the Israeli Defense Forces possess
advanced weaponry such as precision guided bombs and missiles yet still
killed at least 1585 Gazan civilians including over 500 children and
300 women, and more than 11,000 Gazans werw injured according to the
Amnesty International report. It seems to me the IDF either
intentionally targeted the civilians or had really bad aim which is
hard to believe.
Though critical of Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza, the Amnesty International
report clears Hamas of using the civilian population of Gaza as human
shields, an accusation commonly employed by Israeli officials.
"There is no evidence of any use of Gazans as human shields by Hamas or
any other armed group," according to Deborah Hyams, an Amnesty
International researcher who contributed to the report.
Dore Note: Apparently Amnesty International did
not deal with the question of whether the Israeli Defense Forces used Palestinians as human shields which has been reported and documented.
Another criticism of the Hamas government is that they do not build
bomb shelters for the residents of Gaza, a fact that many feel
contributes greatly to the lack of safe areas. VICE News asked Amnesty International 's Hyams whether the lack of bomb shelters could be attributed to Hamas policies, or the Israeli siege of Gaza.
"It's potentially both," the researcher began. "The siege has made all
construction difficult, not just in the area of bomb shelters." Hyams
went on to address the common criticism that Hamas builds tunnels
instead of shelters: "There's a point to be made there, but we aren't
necessarily criticizing the tunnels. If they aren't used to attack
civilian targets, they are a legitimate tactic. But if you can build
tunnels, why not build shelters?"
Israel's Operation Protection Edge
brought an unprecedented level of death, destruction, damage, and
injury to the occupied Gaza Strip. More than seven years of Israeli
blockade, imposed in June 2007 after Hamas took over Palestinian
governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip, had already inflicted a
severe cumulative toll on infrastructure, health systems, and all
aspects of life in the territory. The 1.8 million Palestinians squeezed
into the Strip could not leave, as the borders were sealed and no place
inside the Strip was truly safe. There are no bomb shelters or warning
systems to help protect civilians in the Gaza Strip. At the height of
the hostilities according to the report an estimated 485,000 people had
fled to UN schools, government schools, and other public buildings, or
were staying with relatives, but several UN schools sheltering
displaced civilians came under attack.
Dore note: Assessing blame for attacks on U.N. schools were not part of this report. However, Human Rights Watch investigated three Israeli attacks on Gaza schools which occurred on July 24 and 30, and August 3, 2014, that killed 45 people, including 17 children.
On the Israeli side, bomb shelters, advanced warning systems, and
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system helped limit civilian
casualties in many areas. However, the conflict provided renewed
evidence that vulnerable communities in Israel, particularly Bedouin
villages in Israel’s southern Negev/Naqab region, many of which are not
officially recognized by the Israeli government, lacked
protection. On both sides, civilians once again bore the brunt of
the third full-scale war in less than six years.
Dore note: I'm not sure how Amnesty International draws the conclusion that on both sides
civilians bore the brunt of casualties. According to the report,
66/72 Israeli deaths were members of the Israeli Defense Forces.
The report sources the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), confirms over 2,250 people were killed in the
Gaza Strip, at least 1,585 of whom were civilians, including 538
children and 306 women. More than 11,000 Palestinians were
injured, up to 10% of them permanently. It
is obvious the Gazans bore the brunt of the third full-scale war in less than six years, as they always do.
Neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian authorities have conducted
credible, independent investigations meeting international standards
following previous conflicts, and those responsible for violations have
consistently escaped accountability. Since the 2014 conflict, Israel’s
investigations into the actions of its forces have once again been
conducted by the Israeli military itself, and there is no indication
that the Palestinian authorities are investigating violations by
Palestinian armed groups.
"To date, the situation with domestic investigations on both sides is
not looking good. Israeli investigations are conducted by the Israeli
military, and there's a huge conflict of interest
there," Amnesty International researcher Hyams declared, criticizing
Israel's method of inquiry. "On the Palestinian side, we just don't
know of any investigations into alleged crimes," she concluded.
An independent commission of inquiry established to investigate all
violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) “in the context of the
military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before,
during or after” is due to report to the UN Human Rights Council in
June 2015. Amnesty International has consistently urged both the
Israeli and Palestinian authorities to co-operate with the UN
Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict. Israel’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in November 2014 that Israel
would not co-operate with the Commission, and the Israeli authorities
have refused to grant its investigators access to Israel or the OPT.
The pattern of impunity for serious violations and crimes, as well as
evidence that both sides were committing further crimes during Operation Protective Edge,
led Amnesty International to call for an International Criminal Court
(ICC) investigation into crimes under international law committed in
Israel and the OPT. Palestine’s accession to the ICC, which will take
effect on 1 April 2015, and its submission of a declaration accepting
the Court’s jurisdiction from 13 June 2014, are important steps towards
justice for victims on both sides.
Dore note: The Amnesty International
report fails to point out that Israel and the United States are not
signatories to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and
as such have no legal obligations resulting from ICC rulings.
Amnesty International acknowledges In the Methodology portion of the report
that it has been unable to send a delegation of researchers, including
military experts, to visit the Gaza Strip since the beginning of
Operation Protection Edge in July 2014. The Israeli authorities have
refused, up to the time of finalizing this report, more than six months
after the hostilities ended, to allow Amnesty International and
researchers from other international human rights organizations to
enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing with Israel, despite the
organization’s repeated requests since before the beginning of the
conflict. The Egyptian authorities have also not granted Amnesty
International permission to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah
crossing with Egypt, again despite the organization’s repeated requests.
Amnesty International has consequently had to carry out research in the
Gaza Strip remotely, supported by two fieldworkers based in Gaza.
Among several report recommendations, one conclusion states "Israeli
authorities should completely lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip,
including permitting the unrestricted transfer of construction
materials into the Gaza Strip and the transfer of goods from Gaza to
Israel and the West Bank, subject only to necessary and proportionate
security checks, as an essential step towards addressing the shelter
and protection needs of Gaza’s 1.8 million civilians."