Ahmad Safi, a PAL employee, gave us a presentation about their work. I was amazed by the amount of knowledge he had on animals in Palestine. He told us about their rescue operation to save animals from Gaza’s Khan Younis zoo who hadn’t eaten for 52 days during the 2014 Gaza War, and on treating working animals: the volunteers go to villages where donkeys and horses work the land, vaccinate them and instruct the owners about treating them respectfully.They also have a campaign to raise awareness among children about their pets.“We have to break the cycle of violence,” he said. “We have to tell these kids that what they see the occupation doing – killings, incursions and raids into their villages and schools – is not a natural reality. This violence eventually comes out on defenseless animals, and kids think it’s all right because violence is king. Everybody harms the weaker, and animals are an easy target.”“We try to convey to them that we are all living creatures, and we all have feelings – animals and human beings alike, “Sham, a volunteer, explains. “The same way we fear a tank or an armed soldier, they do too. We are under the occupation together, and therefore should help every living creature.”“It says so in the Qura,” Jiwa adds.Our ancestors didn’t eat meatI ask them whether they are vegan – khudaryat, in Arabic, meaning “herbivores.”“Sort of,” says Siham. “I barely eat meat. Since I became involved in this I noticed I don’t like the taste that much.”“I am vegetarian,” says Dana. “I gradually stopped eating murdered stuff, I can’t put in my mouth something that was once living.Sham says she does not proselytize or try to enforce anything on her family. “Palestinian cooking has so many vegetables. Even if they eat meat and I eat salad and rice, I’m happy.”“So many vegetables, yes,” adds Jiwa. “And how can you open a cafeteria without falafel? It has all the iron and protein that you need. Who needs shawarma?”“But meat is a requirement at any special meal,” I say. “Look at the iftar meal after Ramadan. Is there an Arab dinner party anywhere that doesn’t have meat?”“That’s right, Safi says. “We were taught meat was prestigious. But what did our ancestors eat? Plants and vegetables. They ate meat only once a week because they couldn’t afford it. Meat-eaters were considered the rich ones, that’s why it took over our diet. The meat industry here uses hormones profusely, we learned that from Israel. The owner of one of the biggest chicken farms in Palestine said that he learned from Israelis how to feed his chickens a mixture of chicken meat leftovers, intestines, hormones, antibiotics and some seeds, instead of the regular food, to make them fat quickly, and cash in on it. Since when did Palestinian farmers start growing chickens like that? It’s all about the money. Jews and Palestinians want to be as rich as they can.”
Vernon Majors did not kill Khalid Jabara because he had an “unusual fixation” with his Lebanese neighbors. He killed them because he was a xenophobic racist terrorist murderer.If the tables were turned and Khalid had been the person to whom all those criteria apply, you wouldn’t have hesitated to apply them. You’d have even decided what his entire background was judging by his name, the color of his skin, and the country where he came from.That’s not different from what Vernon Majors did. It’s not “unusual fixation,” it’s him making sure Khalid’s family knew they were: ‘dirty Arabs,’ ‘filthy Lebanese,’ ‘Aye-rabs,’ and ‘Mooslems,’ as he told them repeatedly to make sure they knew their place in his world. Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but the Jabara family is Christian.The story goes back to last year when Vernon Majors willingly ran over Khalid Jabara’s mother trying to kill her. Unfortunately for him, she did not die, and he ended up in jail, but like the good white American that he is, Vernon Majors saw himself out of jail a few weeks ago, back to the same streets, neighboring the Jabara family, and wanting to take out his revenge on them.Picture this: a man who willingly ran over a woman trying to kill her ends up in jail for one year, with no conditions on his bond — no ankle monitor, no drug/alcohol testing. It was as if he never entered.The Jabara family learned of his release. They also knew he had a gun. They also notified the police who informed them they couldn’t do anything, because second amendment and all. Minutes after the police left, Khalid went outside of his house to get the mail, and he was fatally shot by Vernon Majors, who has since been apprehended.
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