Today as I was walking back to the hotel in Jerusalem, I heard a terrible crying. It was coming from a pile of garbage outside the Gloria Hotel. It’s very difficult to pick up garbage in the old city, unless you just happen to live in the Jewish quarter,because, although Palestinians pay the same taxes that Jews pay, they get very little services…not even the mail unless they have a post office box at one of the few post offices.
So the crying continued, louder and louder as I approached the garbage heap. There, under all the orange peels and detrius was a tiny kitten, yelling as loudly as she could. She isn’t more than six weeks old.
What could I do? Every bone in my American body said I had to rescue her, and every bit of common sense said to leave her to die. In Palestine, it’s survival of the fit, not the weak. A young girl in Marda has to have a kidney transplant. Hadassah hospital in Israel wants $40,000 up front. She will die.
Another l8-year old girl has epileptic seizures, and her father must pay $400.00 a month for her medicine, because they have no insurance to cover this kind of monthly cost. And he doesn’t even make $400.00 a month. She is
slipping further and further into mental retardation.
So I looked at the kitten, and I knew she would die in the garbage of the Gloria Hotel. I just couldn’t leave her. I picked her up and took her to my hotel and asked for someone, anyone, to save her.
One young man lives illegally in one room with his wife, three children and his fear of being caught. He doesn’t have a Jerusalem ID and will be thrown in jail if the Israeli authorities find him living with his wife and working in the city. He’s already been in jail for 3 months, because he was caught working.
Another man lives in Ramallah and walks nine hours to get to Jerusalem. He knows that when the 27-foot wall that is encircling Jerusalem is finished, so is his job and so are his hopes.
I sat on the floor of the dining room with this little kitten in my lap, and I cried. One of the waiters took pity on me and said he’d take her home for his son.
I can only hope he meant it. It’s foolish I know. We can barely help the Palestinians open their shops or go to school and demonstrate against the wall, and I’m worried about a kitten.
I’m very sad.