Books · Expatria · Istanbul · Politics · Spirituality

war of the worlds

our stray cats, have been warring. Tommy, the tabby cat who is so beat up and has made his new home curled on a chair on our balcony, was attacked by Saucy (formerly known as Mama Cat) over the Territory of the Balcony. it was the crack of dawn, quite literally, when i heard Tommy crying and after a strong chastising of Saucy a little chat with Tommy to comfort him i couldn’t get back to sleep. Tommy used to have a sadness and fierceness in his eyes. he still carries the sadness, but when he looks at us there is gratefulness instead. apparently, Tommy used to belong to one of the former teachers and was ‘set free’ when they left. poor Tommy, no wonder the sadness. i think he doesn’t really know how to defend himself against the more wily street cats. every time he comes home (because our balcony is now his home and my loyalties are with him) he is a little more beat up and bedraggled.

it got me thinking about wars. all the cats around us are being fed by various people and so are far from going hungry. yet, Saucy continues to fight Tommy over the balcony and for more of his food. i wonder if human greed is passed along energetically to animals. it seems a great deal of the problems in the world stem from human battles over territory. whether it is taming a wilderness, domesticating Mother Earth, or taking over ancestral lands of others. if there is war in the cat world as much as the human world, it makes me so happy that Tommy has a refuge.

how happy it makes me is a thing in and of itself. i can’t pet Tommy because of his mange, so maybe that is why i feel such an overflowing of love for him. because i cannot have that physical contact, the love has to manifest in a different way that can still touch him. i know he feels it, his ears lay back when i talk. last night i was chatting away to him and he seemed to be sleeping, but when i tried to sneak away to not wake him he sat right up until i came back and resumed my quiet chatter. my heart was ready to burst from such a small thing.

sometimes i get the feeling that the cats in istanbul are special. they are something more than cats anywhere else, maybe angels. but then i hear them fighting and picking on the weaker ones and they become human again. i suppose they are quite like us then. humans too have these moments of connectedness to the great something that is out there, and other times we are petty assholes fighting over something that we have no reason to fight about. hurting each other for nothing.

the sudan has been in the news again recently. the sudanese government will not allow any outside intervention in the genocide. and for once, the USA is calling it genocide openly. they will not call the ongoing slaughter of indigenous populations around the world genocide, and in fact object to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on one of the bases that the Convention on Genocide is invoked. they were loathe to use the word genocide when the situation took place in rwanda. and in both these situations, if the word genocide had been used by the american government and others, the situation might have been different. i feel they use it now because they know that, once again, they will not be getting involved until the killings are over. they use it now because they are the bad guys in so many other reality shows around the world and it boosts their image for the world to hear them.

maybe the fact that i am reading homer’s ‘iliad’ right now is not helping, especially since i am reading it on soil where much of the war takes place. although, under the pretext of helen’s beauty, when in fact the greeks and turks seem to have hated each other since way back then. one never thinks of the trojans as being turkish, we think of them as greek, but in fact they were a different ethnic group, albeit similar to the greeks, and the war of troy was about economic power and land, not the most beautiful woman in the world.

could there have been so much war in the world it has seeped into to soil and poisons the very air we breathe?

when i hear the cats fighting and screaming in their way, what i hear underneath it are that there are the people, the children around the world that are suffering. the voices of girls being raped in the refugee camps by militiamen and the supposed peacekeepers. i hear the slaughter and the brutality that echo in war throughout the globe. i think that is why it is so important to me to protect Tommy and why his wounds break my heart. he reminds me of all the battles that remain to be faught, not with war, but with love and kindness.


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