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Subi Memorial

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 persevered.

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 anguished yelps.

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.

Moti 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.

Moti Sighting
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
 any price.

Running streams.
Catnip on the hills.

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Advertisement on wall of Nardis jazz club in Istanbul where 2014 Tangents Turkey Music Tour saw Turkey's most famous jazz musician, drummer Okay Temiz,  among 11 world class concerts in 16 nights.. 

Songlines Music Travel
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Shares the Tangents philosophy that nothing beats experiencing music at its source.

2016 Trips:

Borneo - Rainforest Festival
July 31-August 8, 2016

Romania - At Home with the Gypsies
September 3-11, 2016

Colombia - Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena
September 5-19, 2016

India - Rajasthan Musical Adventure
October 6-19, 2016

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November 19-30, 2016 

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December 29 2016-January 12, 2017

Gaza Facts
Click link above to get 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).

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Report:
Gaza: One Year After 2014 War, Abject Misery Across Gaza and West Bank

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)  excerpt:
With the continued blockade and siege of Gaza, it is as if the war had just ended. MSF sees how the suffering wrought by the Israeli occupation has become normalized and how the status quo will only lead to more of the same. Security fears cannot justify the devastating medical and psychological consequences of barriers, checkpoints, bombing campaigns, blockades,
and incursions.

Gaza Corner

Click above for Archive

Saturdays 11p on Tangents, 91.7 fm SF, webcast at kalw.org

This weekly feature includes news and opinion from the Middle East (and beyond) often ignored by the mainstream media followed by music from the relevant country or culture.

Gaza Corner 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.

Gaza Corner Audio 5/21/16
Audio is posted within 48 hours of broadcast

Gaza Corner discusses the "Basement Massacre" by Turkish forces in Cizre. a Kurdish town in SE Turkey. Turkey's military committed mass murder when it deliberately burned to death about 175 people who sought refuge in 3 basements.

This is a war crime that European countries and the US have chosen to ignore for geopolitical reasons. Europe wants Turkey to take in the majority of refugees. The US is reluctant to criticize Turkey because it wants it as an ally in the fight against the Islamic State.

related articles:

Inside Cizre:
Where Turkish forces stand accused of Kurdish massacre

Includes 4 minute video with scenes of devastation and heartbreak in Cizre.
(Jeremy Bowen, BBC, 5/23/16)

Cizre destruction
 Photo by Getty Images

'Unprecedented destruction' of Kurdish city of Cizre

An extensive independent report from the Turkish human rights NGO
Mazlumder (pdf file) concludes that Turkish army campaigns in the predominantly Kurdish city of Cizre in the country's far southeast turned the city into a "war zone" where over 200 people were killed during the curfew. More than 10,000 homes were destroyed.

The majority were killed when Turkish security forces stormed three residential basements in which hundreds were sheltering from the fighting.  Kadir Kunur, co-mayor of Cizre, told the NGO. "A total of 176 people were massacred altogether in three basements."

Video documentary featuring eyewitness to Cizre devastation

The war in southeast Turkey:
‘This country hates the Kurds’

Cizre, originally a city of some 130,000 inhabitants, had been under constant siege since December last year and the clashes between young armed PKK sympathisers and the Turkish army were merciless. Groups of civilians ended up stuck in basements of half destroyed buildings with hardly enough water and food, often injured and without ambulances being permitted to take them to hospital. Kurdish politicians kept in touch with people in the basements and tried to convince the Minister of the Interior to intervene, but to no avail: the basements were set alight. Post-siege videos showed civilians, politicians and journalists in the basements, their faces showing abhorrence at the sight of charred human remains and the smell of decaying flesh.
(Frederike Geerdink, Beacon Reader, 5/25/16)

Alarming' reports of major violations in south-east Turkey – UN rights chief

“Most disturbing of all,” the High Commissioner said, “are the reports
quoting witnesses and relatives in Cizre which suggest that more than 100 people were burned to death as they sheltered in three different basements that had been surrounded by security forces.”
(UN.org, 5/10/16)

Cizre destruction
no photo credit

Kurds make ends meet
in the ruins of Cizre

The city has experienced a kind of destruction without parallel in Western Europe since World War II
: street after street has been reduced to rubble, houses with holes in their sides the size of articulated lorries, multi-story apartment buildings burned out leaving only hollow shells, the rooms within them now a trichrome scheme of black, grey, and white ash.

Article includes 2 minute video
(Tom Stevenson, DW.com, March 15,2016)

Turkish forces accused of
'mass murder' in southeast

The Turkish army has been accused of committing "mass murder" in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Cizre by the leader of one of the country's major political parties.

Based on the evidence some sort of incendiary device may have been used "because many of the bodies were burned - they were totally unrecognizable they had been burned so badly."

Article includes 2 minute video

Behind the Barricades of Turkey’s Hidden War

Much of the violence has been hidden from public view by state censorship and military “curfews” — a government word that scarcely conveys the reality of tanks encircling a Kurdish town and drilling it with shellfire for weeks or months on end. The conflict has revived and in some ways exceeded the worst days of the P.K.K.’s war with the Turkish state in the 1990s.

Journalists are strictly barred by the Turkish government from reporting on the insurgency, and even the mildest expression of sympathy for the rebels can earn a prison sentence. As a result, what has happened behind the barricades and under “curfew” has gone largely unreported."

Dore note: This is an in-depth article written by a reporter who was able to avoid Turkish check points and meet with the Kurdish YPS  Civil Protection Units in Nusaybin and visit Cizre after the curfew was partially lifted.
(Robert F. Worth, NYTimes, 5/24/16)

Back home after months of fighting, Kurds in Turkey's historic Sur district in Diyarbakir
find only debris

Some look for their homes, others for the bodies of relatives as Kurdish civilians are finally allowed to return to devastated neighborhoods in Diyarbakir after months of fighting between
the Turkish military and Kurdish Civil Protection Units (YPS).