Near death experience

My dad is dying. My dad has been in the process of dying for over half a year now. It has been very hard.

I do not approve of this whole dying thing at all. Parents are supposed to live forever, but I was actually getting used to the horror of having my dad dying. Except that now it is all of a sudden imminent. His situation turned worse over the course of last week and it has reached the limit.

I realise this is an intensely personal thing, but after careful deliberation, I have chosen to share this with the world, because I think it is vitally important to get rid of the taboo.

My dad’s suffering has now become unbearable and he is opting for euthanasia.

Fortunately, this is (as yet) a very civilised country, and I am and always have been incredibly grateful that we legalised euthanasia.

So, tomorrow, an independent physician will come to confirm that my dad’s suffering is indeed unbearable and there is no way to make it better. This is part of the procedure. After that, the process of actively terminating his life can be set in motion. As you can imagine, the rules are very strict. Which is good, I mean: you don’t want people to get forcibly tossed out of life by impatient relatives: horrid scenarios can be envisioned. Not so, of course, in this case.

I am intensely grateful that the truly horrendous suffering of my dearly beloved dad is coming to an end, in dignity, and by his own decision. His final and fully autonomous decision.

But God (yes, we believe in God, and no, we do not think this is wrong: quite the contrary), I am going to miss him so terribly.

For now, I can still say I have the bestest dad in the world.

Love you, dad.


Sheikh Jarrah

I just received this letter via a friend, I thought it would be good to post it here. It was a word document and I altered it a bit to suit this format (a pdf can be found here), and I removed the addendum with all the fax numbers, but you can look them up in the pdf.

Dear friends,

As many of you know from our recent reports, rather terrible things are happening in Jerusalem. The Israeli government is pursuing a policy of forcing Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem and handing over their properties to Jewish settlers. The guiding idea is to plant colonies of fanatical Jewish settlers in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods. Israeli courts have recently sanctioned such a move in Sheikh Jarrah, where three Palestinian families have now been evicted from their homes; another 28 homes are under a real threat. Needless to say, only Jews are allowed to reclaim property from before 1948 (in the case of Sheikh Jarrah, from Ottoman times, over a hundred years ago); Palestinians have no hope of reclaiming any of the hundreds of homes in West Jerusalem that once belonged to them.

[We recommend the following videos showing the evictions

And this one from Reuters (which can’t be embedded).

Last Friday, December 11, the police violently broke up a peaceful, non-violent protest by Israeli and Palestinian activists and ordinary citizens against what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah. The police were exceptionally brutal, as described in some detail in our report. Twenty-four activists were arrested and held for 36 hours.

(See report in Haaretz)

The police asked that several of them be remanded in custody until the end of the legal procedures against them (possibly a matter of weeks), and they also attempted to evict three international volunteers who had been arrested in Sheikh Jarrah. Fortunately, the court did not grant either of these requests, and all those arrested have now been released under various restraining conditions, including forbidding them to enter Sheikh Jarrah in the near future. Many will likely be charged, entirely falsely, with assaulting a policeman. We do not believe that any such charges will hold up in court—there is excellent video footage disproving them—but the ongoing harassment of key civil rights activists does exact a price.

To watch video footage from the demonstration :

It is very clear that the government wishes to silence democratic protest against its policies of theft and eviction and that it is determined to use the considerable means at its disposal to achieve this goal. The only significant check on their power is pressure from abroad.

If you would like to help, please consider sending an email or fax (the latter is said to be more effective in winning attention) to one of the Israeli diplomatic representatives close to your place of residence (see list below) or to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Nir Barakat, ( Fax: 972-2-6296014) protesting Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem.  Even a note of a few short lines can make a difference. You might ask them: Why are discriminatory policies the norm in Jerusalem? Why are only Jews allowed to reclaim their pre-1948 property? Why is the right to protest being suppressed in Jerusalem? Is Israel still a democratic state?

In the past, such protest from abroad has been effective where all other measures failed.

For further information please write to:

Relevant websites:
Israeli Committee against House Demolitions
Ir Amin
Rabbis for Human Rights
The Sheikh Jarrah website

With thanks to all of you for your support,

Dr. Amos Goldberg and Prof. David Shulman

This is important and your voice matters, please take action.

UPDATE see also here and here below

Gaia has already begun

So why not me?
Equally valid would be, “so why would I?”

But heck.

Hi! I am Saskia.

And so, for those who happen to stumble on this page at this particular moment, what I intend to do is write something when I have a bee in my bonnet. Can be a Mandevillean bee, a spelling bee, or just a bumble bee, I will see. Bumblebee on Marsh Marigold
Oh, and I am not into foreign poetry! I can hear the sighs of relief already.
Anyway. I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep (har har) so this is it.  For now.