In Egypt: Under no conditions, under threat of death could anyone kill a cat. People were exceuted for even killing a cat accidentally. And when a cat died, the whole family, and probably their closest friends, went into mourning, the measure of their personal loss signalled by their shaving off their eyebrows.
But not all Gaza residents were committed to the war. A reporter asked one of the Arabs what he most wanted. He was a taxi driver, father of ten. All he wanted was 'to eat and to work.' What did he think of Nasser? 'Nasser is good, Israel is good, America is good, Britain is good, Canada is good, India is good, Anything is good.
Ere to sleepThou liest down, prepare to guard thy life--A man is friendless in the hour of trial....I to the needy gave, the orphan nourished, Esteemed alike the lowly and the great; But he who ate my bread made insurrection, And those my hands raised up, occasion seizedRebellion to create.... They went aboutAll uniformed in garments that I gaveAnd deemed me but a shadow.... Those who sharedMy perfumes for anointment, rose betimesAnd broke into my harem.
Evidence indicates that cats were first tamed in Egypt. The Egyptians stored grain, which attracted rodents, which attracted cats. (No evidence that such a thing happened with the Mayans, though a number of wild cats are native to the area.) I don't think this is accurate. It is certainly not the whole story. Cats didn't start as mousers. Weasels and snakes and dogs are more efficient as rodent-control agents. I postulate that cats started as psychic companions, as Familiars, and have never deviated from this function.
As to the 'Left' I'll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our 'national security' calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of 'Left' intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush's legitimacy. So I don't even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction.
When you have half of Caironese in slums, when you don't have clean water, when you don't have a sewer system, when you don't have electricity, and on top of that you live under one of the most repressive regimes right now.. Well, put all that together, and it's a ticking bomb. It's not of a question of ; it is question of looking around at the present environment and making a rational prognosis.