Friday, April 1, 2011

the ones you don't save

The past few weeks many more cats have been trolling the garden. last weekend we were teasing Egypt about the friends she invited home- it was like a caterwauling Hell's Angel convention out there. (and yes, I have been to a Hell's angel convention and so speak with authority.)

There has been one cat in particular, a miserable, mangy spotted white little thing who was missing half her tail. She did not hang out in the back and beg for food like most of the others. She stayed under the bushes in the front and cried. She would also make kamikaze runs for the house and try to sneak inside. It made me wonder if she weren't an abandoned housecat- she seemed to crave being near us more than anything. I always shooed her out. I'm pretty sure Emmett has inherited Dave's allergies, and also nothing about this cat looked healthy. One day last week she cried for hours- like a baby wanting food.

I didn't feed her. There are so many cats, and we can't save them all. If I don't hold the line at Egypt the garden will be nothing but cats. But i felt guilty- the way I do when children on the street try to sell us Kleenex and we always wave them away. The boys are very confused by this- what did the children want, why did I say no? I tell them it isn't the right way to give, that I don't want to encourage sending kids out to beg. Its true, but I don't know what happens to these kids when they go home empty-handed.

Yesterday I saw the body of the little white cat at the edge of the street in front of our gate. I don't know what I expected-- that some other organization would step in and feed her? Some other family? It didn't happen. Nothing saved her and she died. Thomas offered that Egwyn the dragon has magical powers and can bring creatures back from the dead. I told him that the cat was happier where she was- she wasn't sick or hungry anymore and her tail was whole again. On some level I believe this. But it was the first time in my life I had to confront the result of a decision not to help someone that really needed it. I can't feed all the cats in Cairo, but I could have fed this cat.

Makes me glad I don't have to make decisions about humanitarian interventions in Libya and Bahrain on a daily basis.

On a happier note, in case you were wondering, we did find homes for egypt's three kittens in January just before the protests. Given all the evacuations since then I like to think that the three of them ended up in Paris or Rome, sipping cream and curled on silk cushions.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Aunt Lola arrives and Emmett jumps for Theo and joy

Aunt Lola is here!



Alhumdillillah. We are very glad to see her. Words can't really express it.

Last Friday we visited the Citadel, the military compound which dates back to the rule of Saladin. If you don't know who that is, it's because you've been raised in a western imperialist cloud. Look him up immediately! It's a scandal!

There we checked out the mosque of Mohammed Ali, which dominates the Cairo skyline.





I know many people are wondering how the West can help the New Egypt in its transition to democracy. I have an idea. In addition to debt forgiveness and civil society programs, how about we do something about this?



This is a clock given by King Louis somebody in France in return for one of the twin obelisks from the tomb of Ramses II. That's right- the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. You know it. Beautiful pink granite, 3000 years old. The clock, as it happens, has never worked since the day it arrived. It is surrounded by scaffolding, rusted, and generally an embarrassment. Every day busloads of egyptian schoolchildren visit the citadel. They for sure learn two things- the complex was built essentially to repel frankish Crusaders. And that five hundred years later, in exchange for their magnificent obelisk, these same french gave a egypt a busted clock. Maybe as a gesture of goodwill, in addition to bombing Libya, the French could send someone over to get this thing ticking again. Or give back the obelisk, which is ancient and irreplaceable, unlike an old clock.

Now here Emmett sends a gesture of goodwill to his cousin Theo.



He was quite pleased with his efforts:





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