Thursday 28 December 2023

Diary of a female Palestinian in Gaza recording taking a cat to a veterinary clinic

The Guardian newspaper online is publishing extracts of a diary from a 35-year-old Palestinian man living in Gaza by the name of Ziad. The diary provides us with some insights into life in Gaza under this terrible Israeli onslaught. Note: I first believed the diary was written by a woman because I misinterpreted the name's gender! Hence the title to the article.

Diary of a female Palestinian in Gaza recording taking a cat to the vet
A dystopian scene of shattered and destroyed Gaza. Image: UNICEF/UNI453255/EL BABA

We all understand that Israel has a right to retaliate in response to the terrorist attack on October 7 which was horrendously brutal. But to many, Israel have gone too far and they seem to be bent on destroying Gaza. Although I won't get into a political debate on that.

But Ziad is writing his diary within this context; a shattered Gaza were the inhabitants are struggling to survive and remain alive. Within his diary is a little extract of a cat that she rescued and how he deals with her. The cat's name is Manara. The name is Arabic for "Light". I've taken the name to be female.

I hope The Guardian don't mind me republishing a short extract from Ziad's diary:

Saturday 4 November 9.30am: "We finally find a vet where we can take Manara to have the remaining injections. It is 45 minutes’ walk away....I go with Ahmad with Manara in the bag. She does not resist..We finally reach the vet, and he tells us there is no need to give the remaining shot to Manara. He says that her eye is ruined, and all we need to do for the other one is to use eye drops. 

He does not approve of giving her anti-flea medicine because she has scars all over her body...The vet has no food left or cat litter, but he directs us to another shop, which takes another 10 minutes of walking to reach. When we arrive, I feel shocked; there is a lot of destruction around the place. I am scared.

We go into the shop and buy the food and litter. I see a number of birds, fish and one hamster. The owner tells us he has lost many animals because of the bombing....Noon Since Manara has chosen to sleep in an old carton, I go to buy her a box. Finding a box is easy but finding a blanket to put in it is not. There are almost no blankets or covers left."

He goes on to recount that only one shop has the facility where she can withdraw cash with a Visa card but at a very high commission. He goes in search of a blanket for Manara. He walked for an hour visiting every shop on his walk looking for a blanket. One seller offers to provide him with a blanket from his own home. He refuses and thanks him. He eventually finds a bed cover that came with two pillowcases.

RELATED: No cat food in Gaza since the war began on Oct 7. This means cats will become ill through a lack of proper nutrition.

Comment: my comment on the above extract is that it is surprising to me that a veterinarian's clinic remains open but barely. How many are there? Very few I expect which means many companion animals will not be receiving treatment. 

It also tells us that Manara was badly injured and is blind in one eye. She has scars all over her body presumably from injuries suffered in the collapse of a building or a bomb blast. You wonder how Manara feels emotionally. You wonder whether she'll cope emotionally. She must be enormously anxious because of the disruption, noise, irregularity of human movement and activity. 

Domestic cats love calm and regularity, routines and predictability as it reassures them. This cat is suffering the exact opposite while carrying injuries. I don't have much hope for her in the immediate future bearing in mind that Benjamin Netanyahu has committed to bombing and shelling Gaza for months to come. 

And there will be Israeli troops on the ground trying to find and kill Hamas terrorists. That'll mean more destruction of infrastructure and homes and more destruction of children. It is said that around 8000 children have been known to be killed with a possible added 3000 under the rubble.

I don't take sides. But I see a wrong being carried out here which is an over-reaction by Israel. They are using dumb bombs half the time. These are not guided missiles but from simply dropped injected from warplanes. The bombs have not been programmed to hit a certain target.

I wish Manara and Ziad well. I wish them all of God's blessings and all the luck in the world to survive the next months.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.


  1. Ziad is a man, not a woman

    1. Thank you. I always check and sometimes make a mistake 😎

    2. I have corrected it! Perhaps I was prejudiced as Ziad was so good with the cat.


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