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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.

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

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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).

Gaza Corner
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Saturdays 11p on Tangents, 91.7 fm SF, 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 cuountry 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.

 Amnesty International Report:
Unlawful and deadly:

Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict

related article:

War Crimes Committed by Palestinian Armed Groups in Gaza, Report Details
(Creede Newton, Vice News, 3/26/15)

combined sources:
(Amnesty International, Vice News and Dore Stein)

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
, 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.

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 forthcoming report.

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.

Dore note: 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

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."