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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 early Sept 2014.  On Jan 23, 2015 while walking in McClaren Park near our home I may have spotted Moti resting on a branch above a thicket of bushes. This brightened our hearts as Clara and I imagine Moti as a feline Tarzan.  Perhaps we'll find him yet.

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.

2014 Tangents Turkey Music Tour trip summary + photos
(click above)

Next tour Oct. 2016
if conditions allow

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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.. 

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Gaza Facts
Click 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).

Songlines Music Travel
(click for details)

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

2015 Trips:

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
August 2015*

India – Rajasthan Musical Adventure
October 17-28, 2015

Senegal – Never Mind the Mbalax
November 20-29, 2015

Gaza Corner
Click above for Archive
(Archive does not view in Google Chrome)

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

This weekly feature includes news from the Middle East often ignored by the mainstream press coupled with music from the region.

Gaza Corner was conceived to help focus attention on relieving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza which has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by the Israeli occupation since 2006.

 Click headlines below for full stories.

Kurdish victory in Kobane defeat for Turkish policy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressly ruled out the northern Iraq model for Syria's Kurds.

(comprehensive analysis by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor.com, 1/29/15)

People gather to celebrate in the Kurdish-dominated city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey after Kurdish forces took control of the Syrian town of Kobani, Jan. 27, 2015.
(photo by Reuters/Sertac Kayar)

Rift between Turkish PM, President grows following Kobane statement
(Today's Zaman, 1/26/15)

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's recent praise for Kurds who  resisted an armed siege by the Islamic State in the Syrian border town of Kobani has been taken as a sign of a growing conflict with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who claims that any sympathy and assistance for Kurdish groups fighting in Syria amount to support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kobane is liberated from Islamic State Siege
(Opinion by Dore Stein, 1/27/15)

(Spelled Kobane in Kurdish regions
and Kobani in the West)

During September and October of 2014 Gaza Corner focused on the siege of Kobane where the Islamic State was poised to commit a genocidal Kurdish massacre.

After a 134 day siege, Kobane was liberated on January 26.  This was a result of sustained US air strikes and determined resistance from the disciplined Kurdish forces.

The Syrian Kurds practice an egalitarian society unlike any place I know. People are treated as equals. There are no gender or class distinctions. There is religious tolerance. This victory is a watershed moment in Kurdish history. The Kurds are one of the indigenous peoples of this region and the largest stateless people in the world.

The destruction in Kobane resembles what happened to Gaza over the summer. Refugees cannot return to Kobane in meaningful numbers because of a lack of food, medicine, housing, electricity etc. World powers and humanitarian agencies are needed to assist the rebuilding of Kobane.  Turkey should not block humanitarian corridors as it has done in the past.

Contrary to a report from NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman during  All Things Considered on January 27, the significance of Kobane surviving as a Kurdish canton cannot be overstated.

Tom Bowman's report on Kobane
 (3:55, click above to listen)

At the end of the interview, Tom Bowman concludes with the statement: "...hundreds of air strikes for a small town."

Is Bowman suggesting this 'small town' did not justify the large commitment of US air strikes?

This 'small town' Kobane had served as a last refuge for Syrians of all faiths fleeing IS and the Syrian military.  Its population more than doubled to a half million as desperate Syrians from Raqqa, Homs and elsewhere sought safe haven in Kobane.

When IS captured Mosul during the summer and acquired a vast array of modern American heavy weaponry, the calculus changed. The US re-entered Iraq militarily and started bombing IS which forced a strategic retreat into Syria. IS had previously tried to capture Kobane but had been rebuffed for two years. But with their newly acquired massive weaponry, IS set their sights on Kobane again. Capturing Kobane was more than symbolic as it would enable IS to control much of the Syrian/Iraqi 510 km border with Turkey.

IS faced stiff resistance once again. Because of its military advantage, IS eventually controlled a majority of Kobane.
A genocidal massacre was imminent as Kobane was nearing collapse.  The Kurds were running out of food and ammunition.  The US had turned a blind eye up until that point. But at that moment the US strategy changed 180 degrees. An air strike campaign was initiated to assist the tenacious Kurdish fighters.   US C-130 cargo planes also dropped desperately needed aid and weapons.

Why the change?

Remember IS had been acquiring territory at a frightening pace and had not faced meaningful resistance. IS already occupied Mosul and Raqqa. Yet the Kurds had fought off IS with mostly rifles against tanks, rockets and mortars for more than a month.

The US noticed.

The US needs competent fighting forces on the ground in Syria and Iraq. The Kurds are an obvious choice to be part of the answer.
The US already witnessed the Syrian Kurdish militias YPG and (female) YPJ, and the PKK secure a human corridor for the initial rescue of the Yezidis off Sinjar Mountain in Iraq. This is something the Iraqi army and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga were not able to do.

The US did not publicly credit the Kurds for the initial Yezdi rescue because of not wanting to offend Turkey who considers the PKK and their Syrian cousins terrorists. When Turkey joined NATO, the US and EU obliged Turkey by adding the PKK to the global terrorist list. The PKK has launched attacks inside Turkey for 30+ years due to Turkey's oppression of the Kurds since the creation of Turkey.

The Kurdish struggle has nothing to do with the US or the EU.

'Terrorist' is a manipulated label in geopolitical linguistics.

All indigenous resistance movements are labelled terrorist by the governments they oppose. 
American revolutionaries who founded the United States were considered terrorists by the British and so it goes.

The decision to assist the Kurds in Kobane with air strikes was also helped by sympathetic Western media coverage which is enamored with Kobane's egalitarian society and female fighters.

Turkey did nothing to prevent the fall of Kobane until late in the siege. Tom Bowman's assertion that Turkey provided a weapons corridor for Kobane's Kurds provides zero context. Since the start of the 134 day siege, Turkey vetoed any form of weapons being sent to the YPG/YPJ in Kobane. Only when the US pressured Turkey did President Erdogan finally relent and allow Iraqi Peshmerga forces to cross into Kobane with desperately needed heavy weapons.

Turkey does not want Kurds or IS on its border. It likely wished IS and the Kurds would destroy each other.  When that did
not occur,  Erdogan hoped the Iraqi Peshmerga or the Free Syrian Army would control Kobane which also did not develop. But Turkey also knows it would face massive unrest from its large Kurdish population (22%) if Kobane were to fall. Thus they reluctantly allowed Pershmerga heavy weaponry to enter Kobane which was an important element in the ouster of IS from Kobane.

Tom Bowman's piece also fails to convey the historical significance of the liberation of Kobane. Kurds are an indigenous people of the region and comprise the largest stateless population on earth. In 1920 The Treaty of Sevres, signed between the Ottoman Empire and Allied forces, envisaged the creation of a Kurdish state. The plan was annulled after the Turks won its war for independence.  In 1923 The Treaty of Lausanne established the boundaries of Turkey and divided the Kurds among Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Kobane is part of the ancestral land of the Kurds. Kobane has become a symbol that has unified the Kurds of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran and renewed hopes that its homeland, Kurdistan, ('Nishtiman') promised in 1920 is still possible.