We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Anger over razing of Gaza zoo

by BY JAMES RUPERT Monday, May. 24, 2004 at 6:09 AM

RAFAH, Gaza Strip - During the past five years, Mohammed Ahmed Juma and his brother, Fathi, slowly built their privately owned zoo into one of this city's best-loved community institutions. Last week, it took less than 30 hours for Israeli army bulldozers to destroy it.

Anger over razing of Gaza zoo


May 23, 2004

RAFAH, Gaza Strip - During the past five years, Mohammed Ahmed Juma and his brother, Fathi, slowly built their privately owned zoo into one of this city's best-loved community institutions. Last week, it took less than 30 hours for Israeli army bulldozers to destroy it.

As part of the Israeli military's offensive against Rafah, the bulldozers, backed by tanks, crunched through the zoo's concrete-block wall Wednesday night, residents said. Overnight and through much of Thursday, two bulldozers systematically plowed through the zoo's two acres of animal pens, bird cages, fish ponds and gardens, killing and maiming swans, pheasants, raccoons, turkeys, sheep, gazelles, tortoises, an ostrich and the zoo's three-legged fox, Juma said Friday.

Like much of the other destruction in the 6-day-old Israeli offensive in Rafah, the demolition of the zoo seemed a psychological attack on Rafah's population rather than a military strike against the Palestinian guerrillas who maintain a strong presence in the city. Even people whose homes or shops were destroyed by the bulldozers had anger and anguish to spare on behalf of the zoo. The Israeli troops "are attacking innocent animals and our innocent children!" shouted a middle-aged man in an angry knot of residents on Nile Street on Friday.

The zoo "was our dream and our life," said Mohammed Juma, 40, as he gave reporters a tour of the ruins. His family made money from dealing in exotic pets, but also built their business as a rare attraction for families, where a one-shekel (25-cent) ticket bought an afternoon's entertainment for a child.

"We built gardens and a cafeteria and a playground to make it a place for children," Juma said. It was the only zoo in the Gaza Strip, a crowded territory of 1.2 million people. And in Rafah, a chaotic jungle of concrete houses crowding narrow streets, the zoo was a rare bit of open, green space. Residents here cannot reach the Mediterranean beaches three miles to the northwest because Israeli settlements occupy that area.

So the Juma brothers' zoo "was almost the only place where we could take our children to breathe," said Rafah's mayor, Saeed Fathi Zarb.

All that began to end late Wednesday. First, a bulldozer backed by a tank broke through the outer wall of the zoo and drove in, turning circles to illuminate the surroundings with its powerful headlights, Juma said. It left and came back with a second bulldozer. About a dozen soldiers got out of the bulldozers' enclosed, armored cabs, and the accompanying tank, he said, and broke open three birdcages.

"They reached in and took the birds on their hands," Juma said. The birds were tame and let the soldiers carry them back to their vehicles, he said. "They stole between 40 and 45 birds" worth approximately $2,000 each, he said.

An Israeli military spokesman, Capt. Jacob Dallal, denied that any birds had been stolen. He also said "the zoo was not fully demolished" - an assertion impossible to reconcile with the wasteland of brown dirt and twisted wreckage to be seen here in the past two days.

Dallal said Israeli forces had been forced to react to "an explosive device" found on a road outside the zoo. His account did not make clear why such an incident might have necessitated the destruction of the zoo.

At one end of the zoo, the bulldozers pushed a tangle of wrecked cages, fences, pipes and trees into what had been the zoo's fish pond. Yesterday, the stench from decaying animal corpses in that pile had grown heavy. Dr. Ali Shaker, one of only five veterinarians in Rafah, had shown up to treat a gazelle with a broken leg.

"We lost some more animals overnight," said Fathi Juma, the zoo's co-owner. "My brother Mohammed is out in the city trying to find some food for the animals, because our supplies were destroyed, and we are afraid that a lot of the animals who survived will starve now," he said.

On Friday, Mohammed Juma searched for words. The Israeli attackers "have destroyed my dreams," he said. "Some people accuse them of behaving like animals, but I cannot say this. Animals are beautiful and would never do anything like what has been done here."

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy