NEWS AND VIEWS: The words of the title are those of the founder, Saeed al-Err, of Gaza’s only animal rescue center: Sulala, when speaking to a volunteer with the shelter during this ghastly war. He’s distraught as he can’t help them. Sulala is an amazing animal rescue center. They have a nice website which you can see by clicking on this link. They were based in the north but that was the first place to be bombed and shelled by the Israelis.
He travelled south with some of the animals in his care. He left some behind and he believes that they are now scattered. In all there were 400 dogs and 120 cats at the shelter before the bombs rained down.
He took about 80 cats and 20 disabled dogs further south and housed them in an apartment in Nuseirat where they joined 40 cats already in the apartment. It sounds incredibly desperate.
Food for the animals is running out. He is giving rations to the dogs and cats. There is enough left for a few days. They are supported by bigger animal welfare organisations but because of the blockade on Gaza by the Israelis food isn’t getting through.
Sulala has stopped feeding and caring for stray animals in the street. The apartment is in a so-called safe zone but it is under fire. There are explosions nearby. This must be terrifying for the cats and dogs and of course the humans.
Some of his animals have been injured by bombs. Others have been hit by vehicles. Many are starving and they suffer from untreated diseases. They are terrified; almost paralyzed with fear and have gone into hiding.
Comment: for a man like Mr al-Err, the Gaza war is hell on earth as he is a man who wants to help animals but is now drowning in bombs and shells destroying homes, humans and animals. He must feel helpless. When you are sensitive to animal welfare as he is, it is very painful to see vulnerable animals suffer because of acts of human madness.
For people like me and animal advocates, the man is a hero. He is battling against huge and almost insurmountable odds to save the lives of animals and ease their suffering surrounded by mayhem. It’s a shocker.
The world is rightly concerned with the 20,000 Gazans killed (according to Gazans) by Israeli shelling and bombing. Let’s also think of the more vulnerable: the animals. Mr al-Err does and he sees them as equals.
There are increased calls on Israel to enter into a ceasefire and stop the war. They won’t stop until Hamas releases the hostages. Hamas won’t release the hostages. More pain and suffering will follow. It is the same old story: innocent animals (and innocent humans) being killed and maimed because of humankind’s madness and inability to live peaceably. The hatred is horrendous. It is all so unnecessary.
There is a background story too about Gazan’s relationship with animals. Here is a quote from Sulala:
There is a lot of ignorance in Gaza about animal suffering, and how to treat animals the way they deserve. Many animals are abused and/or neglected….The people of Gaza are not bad people; they just lack knowledge sometimes. This is why we try to raise awareness in our community and in schools on how to treat animals kindly.
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