Jul 4, 2019

Sunrise


This morning I took a group of seven volunteers to watch the sunrise in the desert area near Mar Saba. The stillness and beauty of the area caused me to then sit down and write this blog which reflects my thoughts on a dramatically changing world but essentially an unchanged human nature and interactions and the therapy of good deeds. 

The nature of my work (95% of my 80 hour/week work is volunteer effort) since I returned from the US in 2008 to Palestine involves interactions with hundreds of people every week. There are children who come to the museum (palestinenature.org), university students, visiting international delegations, people on the street, farmers in marginalized villages, government officials, employees, international and local volunteers, and family and friends. The interactions increase every year because of the expansion of our network and activities.  I absorb silently those pieces of knowledge about people and their behaviors and it is fascinating always. However one could categorize them into negative and positive. Let me give negative examples first:

-Individuals who have an over-inflated ego who want to be in positions of more power for the sake of power
-Corrupt individuals (found in NGOs, government etc)
-Lazy people who sit around bemoaning their fate but doing little to change it
-Habitual liars
-Racists (e.g. many Zionists that keep sending me racist notes and articles)
-Individuals who come to you only when they need something and when you need them they quickly disappear
-Individuals who stab you in the back (because of jealousy or other)
-Fundamentalists who take their religion not as a mechanism to get spiritual, be kind etc but as a way to judge and punish the “other”

I could go on but I am sure my readers (especially those engaged in activism) know that list. But there is an even longer list of positives
-Individuals who give of themselves volunteering and helping (e.g. volunteers here at the museum).
-Individuals who take time to thank others for their good work
-Individuals who do their jobs with passion and gusto (when doing something they do it well)
-Educators who work with children and really make a difference in their lives
-Academics who care about their students and provide role models for critical thinking, questioning, civic engagement etc
-Researchers who add to our knowledge nin ways that serve sustainability of humans and natural ecosystems
-Those who engage in resistance sometimes at great cost to themselves and their families
-Poor and kind people who deeply know that sometimes a small gesture, a token gift (even a hand drawn card) makes a big difference
-Children who have an amazing mind to explore and learn.
-Students at the university who do not accept regurgitation of information but challenge and seek knowledge, critical thinking etc
-Women (and men) who have that beautiful nurturing spirit that creates ripple effect in society
-Activists who work hard to leave the world a better place.

Again I could go on. By listing the above, please do not understand that people are classified: behaviors are. Most (perhaps even all) people have a mix of activities some good and helpful to society and some destructive. Many people also change, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. But every day we do meet people who are overwhelming themselves with negative energy and some who exude 99.9% positive energy. Just the past 24 hours, I interacted in meaningful ways not just with a government official who sat around bossing people around and actually interfering with their work but with these positive people:

-A nurse who was going out of her way to help patients in overcrowded government facilities. She called older ladies mother and aunt!
-Omar who is a kind father of three trapped behind the wall (essentially a prisoner in his own home) who refused to give in to Israeli pressures to remove him and proudly showed me around a newly cultivated part of his farm (in Al-Walaja)
-A colleague who donated his book library to the museum
-Rotarian colleagues who had helped projects for women and children in Gaza and in Bethlehem
-Zohar joined me to go to deal with some bureaucracy and we got a chance to talk. She is a long term “Israeli” (I say human) volunteer who really cares about fellow human beings.
-Young international volunteers who come to work in the garden and wherever needed. Hard labor but idealistic people from seven countries who will not let us older people continue to destroy our plant.
-Gaza colleagues who survive against unimaginable odds.
-A friend who repeatedly refused privilege and money to maintain his principles and who always insists on paying for our dinners and desserts. He especially inspires young people.
-A colleague who came from abroad bringing us needed supplies that otherwise would be hard to pass by Israeli customs
-A Jewish man who takes time to try to explain to fellow Jews how Zionism is not the answer but is actually part of the problems facing Jews and the rest of humanity
-Staff at the museum who exhaust themselves, going beyond the call of duty to serve such as working with children here in the summer camp.
-Colleagues in the UK working hard to arrange a speaking tour for us
-A research building us an algal farm
-A volunteer building us a compost toilet
-My wife who while tired still goes around picking trash from streets and tending to others’ needs
-My mother who was so concerned that her garden tortoises were being stolen that she asked me to take the last remaining three (originally 11) to the museum where “they can have a better life)
Omar and Jessie
And this is just 24-30 hours! The real stresses and difficulties of living under occupation, and occasionally getting stabbed in the back are more than compensated for by the therapy of sunrises, good company and kindness. We have always had ying and yang, angels and devils on our shoulders! What we chose to emphasize and work with is what shapes our future and our legacy: the good wolf and bad wolf struggling inside us. The one that gets stronger is the one we feed. So let us all try to feed the good wolf inside and we keep the hope alive. And may we always enjoy simple things like flowers and friends and sunrises. 

This Week in Palestine magazine (best English language magazine covering Palestinian issues) just published  (July issue which is focusing on Green Palestine) two articles covering our work which are worth reading
Our study of Wadi Zarqa al-Ulwi protected area (a summary of an example project we did and do here)
A green oasis in invcreasingly urbanized Palestine: about our institute’s efforts in agriculture and natural landscapes

How we miss our friend Edward Said and his writings and activism for Palestine. May we all try to leave such a legacy.


Jun 23, 2019

Dead Horse


The cart before a dead horse

This is a letter I address publicly to Mahmoud Abbas and all Palestinian (and other) people


A while back I was invited to a meeting of Palestinian business and political leaders. One of the prominent speakers was a prominent member of the revolutionary council of Fatah. Wikepedia said he was accused of corruption repeatedly. The meeting was to address the financially precarious situation of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and ways to respond to the Bahrain conference. I heard much “political” posturing and useless talk including an interesting note that the politician said that the authority “cannot” prevent people from going to Bahrain (because then it could be said that the people did not attend because of pressure”. I commented: If our objection to the Bahrain conference is that it is trying to subvert Palestinian legitimate rights of return to their homes and lands and self-determination via “bribes” of economic improvement, then this is precisely what the Oslo agreements were about. If we disagree with that approach, then we should start by removing all the agreements of Oslo and its appendages like the Paris economic agreement that gave Israel responsibility to continue its economic profiting from the occupation. Someone asked what is your solution? I said go back to be a real Palestine Liberation Organization: Palestine is all of Palestine not 22% of it, Liberation is self-explanatory and it is for all 13.5 million of us Palestinians, and organization means more than one person we “pledge loyalties” to. The well-dressed politician came after the meeting to chastise me before he got into his fancy black Mercedes (which was left running all the time) with his body guards. Many of those attending came to tell me that they supported what I said (I told them they should have spoken out in public). Many are genuinely afraid but it is now an existential issue and we cannot remain silent. I told them more people are speaking out. The social media is a very strong tool in our hands.

The Bahrain conference concocted by racist Zionists Kushner/Greenblatt/Freedman uses exactly the same language as encoded in Oslo. You can compare for example the economic texts of Oslo II agreement signed in Paris (available here https://www.paltrade.org/upload/agreements/Paris%20Economic%20Protocol.pdf ) with the text of the Bahrain “Peace to prosperity” working documents (available here https://www.whitehouse.gov/peacetoprosperity/ ).

To be blunt: those who signed on to Oslo I and II and still follow them are no more or less than those who sign on to Bahrain I (yes, there will be Bahrain II). In public speeches they claimed it is somehow a different thing and now putting the cart (economy under occupation) in front of the horse (political solution of two states). Sorry, the cart had run over the horse and killed it back in 1993 (some say the beginnings was in 1974 and 1988). So it is time to get a new horse proverbial horse (A PLO reclaiming its charter of a secular democratic state), remove the trash that was accumulated in the cart and get a new beginning. It is thus not enough for us to protest things. It is time to take our own initiatives. It is time for a new PLO that reflects the will of the people and can then harness their amazing power. If anyone wants to know about the amazing power of the Palestinian people to get new horses, please read my book “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment.” In it I explain for example how the uprising of 1936 forced dissolutions of many factions, reshaped others, and created new ones. We must learn from our history the right lessons. The best lesson to learn is that it is never too late to admit mistakes and go back to the people. I do have real faith in the people. The self-declared leaders know in the deep recess of their calcified hearts these facts and know that risking positions and money is nothing compared to the certainty that if they stay the course, the end will be clear. We all die. The question is how do you want to be remembered? You have two models 1) Collaboration/selfishness: e.g. Marshal Philippe Pétain (head of the French Vichy regime 1940-1942) and Nguyễn Văn Thiệu (corrupt US puppet president of South Vietnam 1967-1975), or 2) enlightened leadership like Omar Al-Mukhtar and Che Guevera? The choice is yours/ours.

I Murder 200,000+ People… Every Day

رسالة علنية


العربة قبل الحصان الميت

رسالة علنية لمحمود عباس ولكل الشعب الفلسطيني

دُعيت لحضور اجتماع لرجال الأعمال والقادة السياسيين الفلسطينيين. كان أحد المتحدثين البارزين رجلاً من رجال السلطة وعضو المجلس الثوري لحركة فتح. قالت ويكيبيديا إنه متهم بالفساد مرارًا وتكرارًا. كان الاجتماع لمعالجة الوضع غير المستقر ماليا للسلطة الفلسطينية في رام الله وسبل الرد على مؤتمر البحرين. طُرحت المواقف "السياسية" والحديث غير المجدي بما في ذلك ملاحظة مثيرة للاهتمام مفادها أن السياسي قال "لا يمكن" للسلطة أن تمنع الناس من الذهاب إلى البحرين (لأنه يمكن بعد ذلك القول إن الناس لم يحضروا بسبب الضغط). إليكم ما قلته أنا: إذا كان اعتراضنا على مؤتمر البحرين هو محاولة تخريب حقوق الفلسطينيين المشروعة في العودة إلى ديارهم وأراضيهم وتقرير المصير عن طريق "رشاوى" من التحسن الاقتصادي ، فهذا بالتحديد ما وقع عليه في اتفاقيات أوسلو ، وإذا لم نوافق على هذا النهج ، فعلينا أن نبدأ بإزالة كل اتفاقيات أوسلو وملاحقها مثل اتفاق باريس الاقتصادي الذي أعطى إسرائيل مسؤولية مواصلة تحقيق أرباحها الاقتصادية من الاحتلال. قلت أن الحل يكمن في العودة إلى الشعب وتكوين منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية الحقيقية: فلسطين هي كل فلسطين وليس 22 ٪ منه ، التحرير واضح ولكل 13.5 مليون فلسطيني، ومنظمة تعني أكثر من شخص نبايعه. جاء السياسي بعد الاجتماع ليعاتبني قبل أن يركب سيارة المرسيدس السوداء الفاخرة (التي كانت مشغلة طوال الوقت) مع حراسه الشخصيين. جاء الكثير من الحاضرين ليخبروني أنهم أيدوا ما قلته (قلت لهم إنهم يجب أن يتحدثوا علانية). كثيرون خائفون حقًا لكنها الآن قضية وجودية ولا يمكننا التزام الصمت. قلت لهم المزيد من الناس يتحدثون علنا. وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي هي أداة قوية للغاية بين أيدينا.
يستخدم مؤتمر البحرين الذي يعقده الصهاينة العنصريون كوشنر / غرينبلات / فريدمان نفس اللغة المستخدمة في معاهدات أوسلو. يمكنك على سبيل المثال مقارنة جزء النصوص الاقتصادية المتكاملة من اتفاقية أوسلو 2 الموقعة في باريس هنا https://www.paltrade.org/upload/agreements/Paris%20Economic%20Protocol.pdf
    بنص وثائق البحرين "سلام إلى الازدهار" Peace to Prosperity  هنا https://www.whitehouse.gov/peacetoprosperity/
بالمناسبة كان يلفظ شارون كلمة  Peace ك Piss وتعني الشخاخ (على العرب) وprosperity شبيهة ب  prostitutionوتعني الدعارة


لكي لنكون صريحين: أولئك الذين قاموا بتوقيع أوسلو 1 و 2 وما زالوا يتبعونهم ليسوا أكثر أو أقل من أولئك الذين سيقومون بالتوقيع  على البحرين 1 (نعم ، سيكون هناك البحرين 2). في الخطب العامة يدعون أنها شيء مختلف إلى حد ما ووضع العربة (الاقتصاد) أمام الحصان (حل "الدولتين"). آسف لكن كانت العربة قد دهست الحصان وقتلته عام 1993 (يقول البعض إن بدايات السقوط كانت عامي 1974 و 1988). لذلك حان الوقت للحصول على حصان آخر (منظمة الحرير بديموقراطية واضحة وببرنامجها الأصلي لدولة ديموقراطية واحدة) وإزالة القمامة التي تراكمت في العربة والحصول على بداية جديدة. بالتالي لا يكفي أن نحتج على الأشياء. لقد حان الوقت لاتخاذ مبادراتنا. لقد حان الوقت لمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينية الجديدة أن تتكون وتعكس إرادة الشعب ، ويمكن بعد ذلك تسخير قوتهم المذهلة. إذا أراد أي شخص أن يعرف عن القوة المذهلة للشعب الفلسطيني (بما فيها الحصول على خيول جديدة) فالرجاء قراءة كتابي "المقاومة الشعبية في فلسطين: تاريخ حافل من الأمل والتمكين". أوضح على سبيل المثال كيف أجبرت انتفاضة 1936 إنهاء العديد من الفصائل وإعادة تشكيل بعضها وخلق فصائل جديدة. يجب أن نتعلم من تاريخنا الدروس الصحيحة. أفضل درس لتعلمه هو أنه لم يفت الأوان بعد للاعتراف بالأخطاء والعودة إلى الشعب. لدي إيمان حقيقي في شعبنا. القادة يعرفون في أعماق قلوبهم المكلسة هذه الحقائق ويعرفون أن المخاطرة بالمراكز والأموال ليست شيئًا مقارنة باليقين بأنهم إذا بقوا على المسار فإن النهاية ستكون سيئة. أعلم أن ما أقوله قويا -- جميعا نموت ولكن ما إرثنا؟ السؤال هو كيف تريد أن يتذكرك التاريخ؟ لديك نموذجان 1) مثال الأنانية: على سبيل المثال المارشال فيليب بيتان (رئيس نظام فيشي الفرنسي 1940-1942) و نجوين فان ثيو (الرئيس الفاسد في فيتنام الجنوبية تحت الإحتلال الأمريكي)  في
  أو 2) القيادة المستنيرة مثل عمر المختار وتشي غيفارا؟
 الخيار لك / لنا

وللحديث تكملة
المواطن الفلسطيني مازن قمصية
ملاحظة: الرجاء توصيل هذا الكتاب لمحمود عباس

Jun 1, 2019

Success & Self-determination

What distinguishes a healthy successful human being (or animal for that matter) from apathetic pathetic creatures who make excuses for their failures in life? At our Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability we take care of many animals (rehabilitation of wild animals and a few domestic ones). On weekends and holidays I spend more time observing them and also observing human activities in the streets of Bethlehem and globally. I can’t help but compare and contrast and notice variation. For example we have two lizards of the same species, one is rather shy and freaks out in presence of humans the other is calm and collected. Our hamsters shape their own environment and place their waste in one corner, their food in another, and their babies and sleeping quarters yet in another. This got me thinking about human success: those who succeed are precisely those who have self-confidence to decide to work hard to change their circumstances and not take things for granted. I think that is the essence of self-determination: it has to do with self-confidence and not accepting your surroundings as given but shaping it to the maximum possible (which in the case of humans in the interconnected 21st century world is limitless). We need to get rid of mental colonization first. As said before: “free your mind and your ass will follow”-African-American saying, the best weapon in the hands of the occupiers is the mind of the occupied”-Steven Biko.

Come to think of it what makes a “hero”? The stereotypical stories is that heroes win against difficult odds but the key element ius decision to take on these odds not the winning part. Indeed does a person who tries and “loses” become less of a hero than one who wins? How many indeed are martyr heroes. Here in Palestine we have utmost respect for those who resist (who fight injustice) because it is natural. We disdain those collaborators and those who watch their own narrow selfish interests. Real losers are not who work to change circumstances (even if they are jailed or killed) but only those who stay in their comfort zones. The latter are those who make all sorts of excuses (US is powerful, “Saudi Arabia” has to much leverage to challenge, “Israel” controls the US). What they fail to realize is that the biggest fear of repressive powers like those is that the people develop self confidence that they can change their own circumstances. Apathy empowers tyranny, resistance undermines it. I tell students, staff and volunteers: what you change in your mind you can then change your world. No God or others will save you. Be the change you want to see right now. Power is available to those seek it. Your choice is to be that fish that swims even against the stream or the dead fish that flows with the stream. This seems elementary but it is remarkable that we see more resilience (self-confidence and ability to push positively forward) among animals and plants than among fellow human beings. Even self-declared “leaders” suffer from the lack of self-confidence to RESIST and simply go with the flow. That is why politicians are corrupt and greedy. We have utmost respect to those who are active and work hard positively for the sake of others (society, the enviromnment). They are truly alive because they resist. For the others: for your own sake please liberate your mind and you can then liberate your body from bondage. You can do anything you put your mind to do. I ended my earlier messages with “stay human” but perhaps we should wish to “go wild animal” – reclaim freedom in our mind… resist. To resist is to truly exist! It is the essence of happiness to be determining your own future not to let others do it for you.

Our motto at the museum and institute is RESPECT: for ourselves, for others, for nature. It works.

Now those of us who never take vacations go back to reading, respecting, recycling, reducing (waste), reaching out to fellow living things, and resisting. If you are in the area of Bethlehem, where a guy named Jesus also resisted 2000 years ago, and want to share success then stop by for cup of coffee or tea. We are located here: palestinenature.org/visit

In self-confidence and utmost respect
And in an animal spirit!


May 12, 2019

ثلاثة ثيران وأسد


هناك قصة عن ثلاثة ثيران وأسد. يأتي الأسد إلى الثور الأحمر والأسود ويقول: أنتم في خطر ، الثور الأبيض يبرز ويمكنه جذب الحيوانات المفترسة التي يمكن أن تعرضكم للخطر ، لذلك اسمحوا لي أن أزيله. وافقوا. بعد بضعة أسابيع يذهب إلى الثور الأسود ويعطيه نفس الكلام عن خطر الثور الأحمر. في وقت لاحق يأتي للثور الأسود قائلًا أتى دورك. يقول الثور الأسود الذي يرثي مصيره: لقد أكلت يوم أًكل الثور الأبيض. هذه القصة تتبادر إلى الذهن وأنا أفكر في مصير باقي الدول العربية وروسيا والصين وفنزويلا وإيران وحتى فرنسا وإنجلترا. دعني أشرح.

بعد تدمير الحرب العالمية الثانية ، ظهر نظام عالمي جديد مع "الأمم المتحدة" التي أنشأها الفائزين في الحرب (الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية والاتحاد السوفيتي والصين والمملكة المتحدة وفرنسا). صمموا الأمم المتحدة بحيث تحدد هذه القوة العظمى مستقبل العالم (يتمتعون بحق النقض الفيتو في مجلس الأمن الدولي). بالتالي لا يمكن تنفيذ أي لائحة أو قانون على الأرض ما لم تتفق القوى الخمس. للولايات المتحدة تميزت على البلدان الأربعة الأخرى لأنها تركت سالمة إلى حد كبير من الحرب وازدهر اقتصادها في الخمسينيات. نمت الشركات الأمريكية للسيطرة على العالم وأصبحت القوة الاقتصادية المهيمنة. لكن كان هناك سبب آخر لهذه الهيمنة الاقتصادية: القومية. أدركت معظم الدول الأخرى أنها لا تستطيع السماح لبلد آخر بالسيطرة غير الولايات المتحدة (بلد مخلوط من المهاجرين). كان الخيار الأقل سوءًا الاعتماد على العملة الأمريكية كعملة عالمية. كان ذلك أيضًا لأن الولايات المتحدة ربطت عملتها (الدولار) بامتلاك الذهب لدعمه. لكن في السبعينيات من القرن الماضي أسقطت الإدارة الأمريكية الجزء من الاتفاقية المتعلقة بالذهب ومنحت نفسها الحق في طباعة أكبر قدر من الدولارات كعملة مدعومة فقط بائتمان الحكومة الأمريكية وليس الذهب. هكذا طبعت الولايات المتحدة تريليونات وتريليونات وذهبت إلى العجز التجاري والحكومي الذي زاد ا ديون الحكومة لتصل 21 تريليون دولار وتريليونات غير محسوبة أكثر في ديون الشركات والقطاع الخاص. في هذه الأثناء ، أصبح الأغنياء أكثر ثراءً (والفقراء أكثر فقراً) حول العالم. لضمان الهيمنة الاقتصادية كانت الهيمنة العسكرية ضرورية وبالتالي تنفق الولايات المتحدة الآن على جيشها أكثر من أي شيء آخر وأكثر من الدول الـ 12 التالية مجتمعة.

العوامل الرئيسية للهيمنة الاقتصادية والعسكرية في الولايات المتحدة كانت المصالح العسكرية / الصناعية والمصالح الصهيونية (وهناك تداخل بين الاثنين). مع نمو قوة اللوبي الصهيوني بشكل كبير بعد عام 1967 كانت هناك أقل وأقل من الأمثلة تذكر حين إذا اصطدمت المصالح  فإن اللوبي الإمبريالي (المجمع الصناعي / العسكري) كان قادرًا على هزيمة اللوبي الصهيوني. هناك حاجة إلى النظر إلى أمثلة لخسارة اللوبي الصهيوني في فترات سابقة مثل الخمسينيات والستينيات وكيف تغير الوضع بعد 1967 وخاصة بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفيتي عندما فشلت حتى جماعات الضغط العسكرية القوية وصناعة النفط في مواجهة اللوبي الصهيوني. على سبيل المثال ، عندما تراجع جورج بوش ووزير خارجيته جيمس بيكر ورؤسائهم العسكريين (رجال النفط والعسكريين) في عام 1991 أمام اللوبي الصهيوني (وقالوا علنًا أنهم يتراجعون بسبب ذلك). هذا الوضع المأساوي وغير المألوف للغاية حيث أن أقلية من المتطرفين إلمؤيدين للاستعمار في فلسطين (7.5 مليون فلسطيني نحن لاجئون أو نازحون) وتشكيل "دولة يهودية" عنصرية يتملكون الزمام في أقوى دولة عسكرية على وجه الأرض. لقد تحولت السياسة الخارجية للولايات المتحدة في السنوات الثلاثين الماضية من ذريعة "النظام الدولي" والولايات المتحدة تستخدم حق النقض (الفيتو) في مجلس الأمن الدولي لتحمي نفسها واسرائيل إلى نظام التجديف والبلطجة. هكذا تحولت الولايات المتحدة من "ضبط" العالم (القوات الأمريكية في أكثر من 100 دولة) إلى عصابة في العالم تطيع رئيستها تل أبيب. ما حدث يكاد لا يصدق: قالت مادلين أولبرايت إن إزالة صدام حسين كانت تستحق بالفعل نصف مليون طفل عراقي ، ضحكت هيلاري كلينتون حول كيفية احتلال ليبيا ، وتفاخر دونالد ترامب بكيفية ابتزاز ملوك الدول الغنية بالنفط. الآن القوة عارية واضحة ولا حاجه حتى لحلفاء شكليون. ندمر والعرب يدفعوا عبر الإبتزازز  تنسحب الولايات المتحدة من اتفاقية موقعة لتغير المناخ ، ومن اتفاقيات الحد من الأسلحة وحتى من اتفاقية مع ايران وقعتها الولايات المتحدة / الأمم المتحدة / روسيا / الاتحاد الأوروبي. الهدف هو أن الكل يخدم الشركات القليلة التي يكون مسؤولوها التنفيذيون صهاينة ويخدم المصالح الصهيونية في فلسطين. الهدف هو استعباد  العالم. أن يهز العديد من قادة البلاد رؤوسهم ويأملون في ألا يلاحقهم رجال العصابات المجانين في واشنطن وتل أبيب. لكن يجب عليهم التفكير في مصير الثور الأسود.

Lion and 3 bulls


There is fable attributed to Aesop and others about three bulls and the lion. While there are variations to the story, the moral remains the same. The lion comes to the Red and black bull and says: You are in danger, the white bull stands out and can attract predators which can endanger you, so let me eliminate him. They agreed. A few weeks later he goes to the black bull and gives him the same speech about the danger pf the red bull. A while later he comes for the black bull saying it is your turn. The black bull lamenting his fate says: I was eaten the day the white bull was eaten. This story comes to mind as I consider the fates of Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran, and even France and England. Let me explain.

After the destruction of Second World War, a new world order emerged with a “United Nations” created by ythe winners of that war and in particular the five great powers (USA, USSR, China, UK, and France). They modeled the UN so that the great power determine the future of the world (hence they held veto power in the UN Security Council).  Thus no implementation of any regulation or law on the ground could be carried out unless the five powers concur. The US had an edge over other four countries simply because it had been left largely unscathed from the war and its economy boomed in the 1950s. The US corporations grew to dominate the world and become the dominant economic power. But there was another reason that this economic dominance happened: nationalism. Most other countries knew they could not let another country dominate other than the US (a country of immigrants to begin with). It was a kind of least bad option to rely on the US currency as a global currency. It was also because the US pegged its dollar to having gold to back it up. But in the 1970s the US administration dropped the part of the agreement that dealt with gold and basically gave itself the right to print as much money as it wanted “backed by the Faith and credit of the US government” not by the gold. The US thus printed trillions and trillions and went into trade and government deficits that now racked up over $21 trillion bin government debt and uncounted trillions more in corporate and private debt. Meanwhile the rich got richer (and the poor poorer) around the world but especially in the US. To ensure the economic hegemony, a military hegemony was essential and so the US now spends more on its military than anything else and more than the next 12 countries combined.

The key agents of economic and military hegemony in the US were military/industrial complex and Zionist interests (and there is big overlap of the two). As the strength of the Zionist lobby grew exponentially after 1967, there were fewer and fewer incidents where if the two interests collided, the imperialist (military/industrial complex lobby) was able to defeat the Israel lobby. Examples of loss of the Israel lobby against that would need to be looked at in earlier periods like the 1950s and 1960s. There are examples especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union when even the powerful military and oil industry lobbies failed against the Israel lobby. For example, when George Bush and his secretary of state James Baker and their military chiefs (oil and military men) backed down in 1991 in the face of the Israel lobby (and publicly said they are backing out because of that). This dramatic and very unusual situation where a minority of extremists bent on colonialism in Palestine (7.5 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people) and formation of an racist apartheid “Jewish state” stand against other Jews calling for human rights and manage to make subservient the strongest country on earth. But what had happened is even worse. The US foreign policy has moved in the past 30 years from a pretense of “international order” backed by the US veto at the UNSC to a racketeering system. The US thus changed from “policing” the world (US forces in >100 countries) to a racketeer gangster of the world. We even brag about it: Madeline Albright said removing Saddam Hussein was indeed worth the half a million Iraqi Children death, Hilary Clinton laughed about how we took over Libya, and Donald Trump bragged about how he blackmails the kings of the oil rich countries. Now it is naked force and no pretense even of bringing allies on board. Thus the US with draws from signed climate change agreements, weapons agreements and even the US/UN/Russia/EU signed agreement with Iran. All to serve the few corporations whose executives are Zionist and to serve Zionist interests in Palestine. That many country leaders shake their heads and hope that the mad gangsters in Washington and Tel Aviv do not go after them next is interesting. But they should contemplate the fate of the black bull.

For more on the subject of the lobby and whether the dog wags the tail or the tail wags the dog, see http://qumsiyeh.org/connectingthedotsiraqpalestine/

Mar 13, 2019

PMNH


Divina Levrini died last week; she was a friend and fellow traveler on the freedom flotilla. We are struck with grief. We will plant a tree in her name in our botanical garden [1]. Like our friend Reem Al-Banna she was a freedom singer who died young.

[skip the first two paragraphs if you are not interested in political/human rights issues and go to the third about positive actions]

Israel high court ruled with government to block release of archives that expose Israel's role i n the genocide in Bosnia. In a separate ruling he high court rejected human righs groups petition to make ot illegal for Israeli soldiers to shoot unarmed civilians. Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (originally Miliekowsky) [2] responded to an instagram message that suggested Arabs are part of Israeli society by saying that Israel is not a state of its citizens but it is a Jewish state! He is right and to confirm the point, Israel election committee ruled against allowing the United Arab party to run in Knesset elections but allowed the terrorist Kahanists Jewish (ultra-right fascists) to run. While there is significant pressure on many western politicians who dare to criticize Israeli apartheid policies, this is back-firing [3] and the delusions about our part of the world are dissipating.  Empires do fall!

The world population is waking up: in France with the yellow vests, Haiti, Venezuela, Yemen, Palestine and elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands protested in Yemen after seeing the stooge self-declared Yemeni "foreign minister" (Saudi appointed and living there) seated between Netanyahu and Pompeo at the failed conference organized by a failing US administration to create yet another war for oil and for Israel (this time on Iran)! There will be other repercussions including bringing governments like China, Russia, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela together against imperialism and Zionist colonialism. Soon other countries will follow (maybe even Britain and other European countries). Those who have bet on the maintenance of the US as a world imperial power (albeit guided in its foreign policy from Tel-Aviv) are beginning to realize they have bet on the wrong horse (even some Palestinian leaders). We must draw the right lessons but then also act responsibly.

We at Palestinian universities are under pressure [4]. We at the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability are grateful for the incredible support we are getting from so many people (volunteering, donating, collaborating), We are rising to the challenge: 1) We work with hundreds of school children for empowerment, 2) We work with university students on areas like research (e.g. theses), education, and empowerment, 3) We are supporting 80 farmer families in areas of organic and ecological agriculture and we are working with local communities on resilience through ecotourism, agricultural, and cultural tourism, 4) We have dozens of collaborations around the world and we just hosted  a workshop for 15 faculty from University of Notre Dame and another 20 Palestinians from various universities to expand collaborations, 5) We submit research papers almost weekly and two papers just got accepted (one is our first paper on fossils), 6) On Women's Day March 8, we took 65 people (mostly young women) on a hike through a world heritage site and they learned from women of Battir lots of information on cultural heritage, resilience, and more, 7) We have many international volunteers (this week from Ireland, UK, US, Israel) and continue building and growing our infrastructure of museum and garden (palestinenature.org), 8) We will soon open the exhibit on ethnography (connecting people and the land) and will launch a database of Palestinian cultural heritage (tangible like old agricultural tools and intangible like knowledge of medicinal plants, proverbs etc.). Thus, stay tuned; continue to think globally but ACT LOCALLY. For daily positings of activities and action calls, visit our facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/Palestine-Museum-of-Natural-History-1454309858180882/

[1] https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/the-world-has-lost-a-beautiful-soul/
https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/participants/remembering-divina-levrini-shipmates-friends 
[2] Here is a video of him thinking the camera was off explaining his true contributions during his first stint as Israeli prime minister in the 1990s https://youtu.be/JrtuBas3Ipw.
[3] The shameful attack that backfired
https://lobelog.com/the-shameful-attack-that-backfired/
see also this video https://youtu.be/6kOtbJ33Y-8
Israel’s Stranglehold on American Politics By Chris Hedges http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51255.htm
Israeli journalist Gideon Levy says: "What, after all, has Omar said? That pro-Israel activists demand “allegiance to a foreign country”; that U.S. politicians support Israel because of money they receive from the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, and that “Israel hypnotized the world.” What is incorrect in these statements? Why is describing reality considered anti-Semitic?"
[4] Palestinian universities on the front line by Sam Bahour
http://epalestine.blogspot.com/2016/10/palestinian-universities-on-frontline.html   

Feb 28, 2019

February Blog


In the news this week are interesting signs positive and engative. The largest empire in between the Roman empire and the US empire (ie. the British empire) shows signs of internal decay but positive actions abound. The foolish vote to resurrect nationalism under the so called Brexit seems to be fraying. If a new referendum is called, I am sure Brexit will fail. Further the Zionist interference in British politics with trying to split the labor party (because of Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to speak of human rights for Palestinians) seem to be failing. While also investing heavily in social media with professional trolls [1], the truth can’t be hidden and certainly easier to expose than to hide. The US empire is having its own difficulties as shown by the failure of the Trump administration in achieving the Zionist goals vis a vis Syria, Iran, Venezuela and most recently North Korea. The “Democratic” Party (which is not democratic and is heavily serving corporate and Zionist interests) in the US saw an opportunity and circle around the injured Trump administration. There is a vacuum there for progressive voices which may come from people like Ilhan Omar [2], Ocasio-Coretez,[3] and Bernie Sanders. But the latter’s parroting of the administration lies about Venezuela does not give us confidence. In either case, the democrats can at best slow down the decline of empire (as Barak Obama’s administration did). The lessons of previous empires have not been learned. In the Arab world, the US appointed dictator in Egypt refused to give money to fix the crumpling railroads (he and his group is getting rich) and as a result a major railroad crash and fire ball incinerated to death dozens of people and seriously injured about a hundred. This is the same ruler who is executing innocent people after subjecting them to severe torture to extract “confessions”. Really sad what proud ancient Egyptian civilization has slid into.


What most worries us is that egotistical politicians facing decline of their influence and hence their own popularity turn to war thinking it can help their careers. And with nuclear weapons and other WPM around, it is inevitable that they would be used in future global wars. Thus we worry about India which used Israeli “Spice 2000” 100 kg guided missiles to bomb Pakistan which then retaliated by downing two Indian jets. Both are nuclear armed and the fascist Modi is indeed very dangerous as he seeks to stay in power. The same with Netanyahu who just bombed besieged and starved Gaza. He could be reckless enough to start a war with Lebanon and Syria. Trum facing impeachment may either resign or bomb Iran. The world is a dangerous place because of those greedy egotistical people. But good people are doing good things. A US peace delegation traveled to Iran and met leaders and common people [4]. The Venezuelan people exposed the conspiracy and challenged sanctions and imperialism. While US puppet Guido waves an Israeli flag, the people wave Palestinian flags. Columbian and Brazilian people are starting to stir against their US-backed puppet governments. Even in Palestinian politics, the US supported elites are struggling and have stooped to the point of spending so much money on large bill boards and other media campaigns to prop up their image. There are calls to both Hamas and Fatah to return to the people and end the charade of Oslo accords sponsored by the imperial powers.

Here in Palestine, life of suffering contimnues. The UN Human Rights Council issued a report this week that shows the extent of Israel’s violations of international law and human rights including on targeting children [5].  Yet, we continue to exist and to resist. We are not alone. Last two weeks for example I hosted five International delegations. The museum and institute (palestinenature.org) hosts many volunteers, we are grateful for significant donations (financial and in-kind), we are appolying for more grants, and we have good actions on the ground that make a difference. We also continue to have significant activities in all three areas we focus on: research, education, conservation. In research we continue to make new discoveries, publish, and advance knowledge. In education, we are working with students aged 6 to 90! We have educational workshops that build human capacity (including Science Cafe every Friday 3-5); just in the last week on GIS, on leadership, on tourism promotion, and on agriculture. We do conservation both ex situ and in situ (but based on research and education first) for our cultural and natural heritage.

A section of the apartheid wall in Jerusalem collapsed thanks to the good rains we received. We are 100% confident the rest of the wall will fall. And the BDS movement continues to grow (see examples [6])



[1] An investigation published by the New Yorker  Magazine exposes how Mossad agents are  infiltrating our social media to “shape reality” … “to influence what people believed and how they behaved” …“to reach virtually anyone and to play with their minds” not to mention to influence elections and target Palestine solidarity activists.
[2] A Jewish man says from hospital what Ilhan Omar Said About AIPAC Was Right. I’m ashamed to admit that endorsing AIPAC positions was all about the Benjamins for me and my candidate. By Ady BarkanTwitter
[6] BDSmovement.net, https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi and the new newsletter from British academics for universities in palestine http://www.bricup.org.uk/#nletter

(FASCINATING history) How Zionism helped create the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Jan 13, 2019

Factoids


Factoid 1: in the 2003 US/Israel supported (but never implemented) “Road map to peace” consisting of 2172 word, we find NO (zero) mention of human rights or international law (missing!). We do find 29 mentions of ‘security’ (for the oppressor not the Palestinian victims) and ten mentions of terrorism or terror (never used for Israeli terrorism only supposed native Palestinian ‘terror’ (which is actually Palestinian resistance sanctioned by International law!). It was likely drafted by the lobby.

Factoid 2: US Secretary of state Pompeo gave a lengthy speech (3593 words) in Cairo. We find no mention of human rights or international law (missing). He mentioned Iran over 30 times (negatively), Israel 13 times (positively), Palestine zero times, and 11 mentions of terrorism or terror (never used for State terrorism). It was likely drafted by the lobby.

Factoid 3: Legal cases are beginning to be taken against unconstitutional laws and executive orders pushed by the Israel lobby to protect Israel from BDS campaigns in the USA. Below are four examples from MD, AK, AZ, and TX. We encourage others and we encourage federal lawsuits.

Factoid 4: Israeli and Israeli-Occupied US foreign policy in the Arab world are in disarray. Their puppets and tails are in retreat (including Al-Qaeda and ISIS and other terrorist groups). Dictators and fascists like Netanyahu and Sisi and Bin Salman and others are increasingly realizing that killing more innocent civilians in Gaza, Sinai, or Yemen will not help keep them in power. Gulf leaders who normalize with apartheid Israel are also coming to see that this is not more important than listening to their own people who reject colonialism and fascism. 2019 is already promising to be a bit better than 2018.

Supplementary factoid: US media dominated by Zionist forces ignore news like the above or that Israel culture minister said she supports fascism (and it is part of Israeli culture) or that Israel/Zionism has done 1000 more times than Russia in interference in US elections and getting people in power whose loyalty is more to Israel than their own country (so called Democrats and Republicans alike). They should be called out on it. But I still feel sorry for Zionists. Colonial Zionists suffer from pathology that needs treatment. Even if the world ignores (and it will not) the horrors of attacks on innocent people or on peaceful demonstrations (in 100 years of colonialism over 100,000 natives were killed so on average 1000/year) and all the ethnic cleansing of Palestine (7.5 million refugees or displaced people) or the 800,000 Palestinians who spent time as political prisoners or the 500 + Palestinian villages and town erased. A friend remarked that “if they [Zionists] knew how to use life they would not even rob it from others ….[and thus generate] serious and deep resentment.” Knowning many Zionists who are liberal on so many subjects and support human rights and international law and order in all areas EXCEPT Palestine tells us something about this pathology. It explains why Zionists destroyed millions of native Palestinian trees and yet planted a monoculture of European pine trees (environmentally devastating) or why they dverted te Jordan valley water and destroyed a great ecosystem for a propaganda project called “Israel National Water Carrier” and the myth of “making deserts green” Palestine has always been Green and part of the Fertile Crescent long before Zionists destroyed it), or bombing sewage treatment and electrical facilities in Gaza and allows sewage to be dumped into the Mediterranean.

Commonality and Hope

Responding to climate change, protecting the Amazon forest, helping refugee, having justice (a road to peace), fighting racism and greed, fighting a flu, finding meaning in life maybe connected more than we think.

Humans who disconnect themselves from nature may lose track of fundamental but simple facts of life and can get overwhelmed in teh age of information with these things and get paralyzed or worse yet be propellled o do horrible things. One of those facts of life is that life itself started on earth 3.5 billion years ago with basic process of mutation, change, selection, adaptation, and evolution and tat these same principles and laws STILL apply today even among us HUMANS. Understanding basics can also help us shape our actions. Even before resources were limiting (before competition or survival of the fittest), small micro-organisms acquired random mutations and some of these allowed better reproduction and growth sand some dissappeared. As life grew in volume and complexity, natural selection did become a survival of the fittest and, "nature, red in tooth and claw" (Tennyson 1850).

Evolution is a fundamental fact of science without which nothing in biology or medicine or even agriculture makes sense. No one denies that biology (my first field of formal education) and sociology (human affairs) are connected. But we jumans were to transcend biological evolution at least in social evolution (most people including Darwin would look negatively on ideas of "Social Darwinism"). Evolution of course does occur in human societies: we do know what the fate of many societies that failed to adapt and evolve to a constantly changing world/environment.

Social evolution is also limited by our biology (sex, reproduction, feding etc). Yet, humans have cooperative societies that can and does cover for and many times take care of the weak and vulnerable members of the society. Altruism indeed evolved by biological natural selection in our species because of the survival benefit of it. For example keeping the elderly who kept the stories of the techniques and locations and experiences that helped the new generation be more successful hunterers & gatherers. The "selfish genes" (in the words of Dawkins) did not get eliminated though and to this day that struggle between individualism/selfishness and community interests (both products of our evolution remained). Our varied cultural, religious and educational backgrounds (themselves products of long evolution) may spin these things in different words and concepts like ying and yang, bliss and carnal instincts, angels and devils, or heavens and hells. But what how are we to be guided in our actions?

Martin Luther King Jr once said "Those who organize for peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who organize for war".  But we should analyze and expand on a this a bit. Those two categories spoken of by MLK are just individuals and they do have variations and influences from peers and society. Those who work for peace (altruism, kindness, justice) are people who somehow  managed to suppress certain other evolved tendencies like competition and greed. The reverse is true. Mahatma Gandhi and Donald Trump are both members of the same species with similar genetic background but are products of different experiences and emphases.


The Gandhis of the world are a bit more numerous than the Trumps of the world (see my book for example on popular resistance in Palestine) but numbers are not everything. For example we do have to consider that greedy selfish people can accumulate significant wealth and control media and thus influence fate of millions of people (zionism is a good example). They even get elected as happened in the US, Brazil, or "Israel". Further, those of us pushing against the Trumps of the world are never as organized, never as smart, never have enough resources, never have enough forward looking positive plans and actions for the future. "Never have enough" is a perception (important to give us incentive to get more) not a recipe for giving up! Obviously we occasionally succeed: think improvements and sometimes revolutins in civil rights, women rights, children rights, economic/worker rights, ending wars and apartrtheid in many places etc just in the past 100 years.

So back to finding commonality (first sentence above). The Trumps of the world care about very, very limited things. The MLK's of the world have expanded vision and understand connectivity which is only partially touched upon above. That is why MLK Jr refused to focus just on civil rights but also worked n Vietnam and the economic injustice and the environmenment etc. Because we are all connected. In my book "Sharing the Land of Canaan" I quoted Joseph Campbell

Today, the walls and towers of the culture-world that then were in the building are dissolving ... But of course, on the other hand, for those who can still contrive to live within the fold of a traditional mythology of some kind, protection is still afforded against the dangers of an individual life; and for many the possibility of adhering in this way to established formulas is a birthright they rightly cherish, since it will contribute meaning and nobility to their unadventured lives, ... and to those for whom such protection seems a prospect worthy of all sacrifice, and orthodox mythology will afford both the patterns and the sentiments of a lifetime of good repute. However, by those to whom such living would be not life, but anticipated death, the circumvallating mountains that to others appear to be of stone are recognized as of the mist of dream, and precisely between their God and Devil, heaven and hell, white and black, the man of heart walks through. Out beyond those walls, in the uncharted forest night, where the terrible wind of God blows directly on the questing undefended soul, tangled ways may lead to madness. They may also lead, however, as one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages tells, to 'all those things that go to make heaven and earth.'


In my December blog http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com/2018/12/punctuated-biological-and-social.html I discussed some additional changes that could happen and how to keep us on a track to sustainability but the comments were even more interesting. For example comment 13 posted underneath was from Jeff who wrote:
man's urge to dominate his fellow men, greed, power, colonialism, imperialism. these are the things that have led us astray. these are the things we are fighting to neutralize now. fascism is part of our human nature as is altruism. when we work together all things are possible. hitler, gandhi, trump, mandela. these men represented the good and bad in our natures. what we need is for people to step up and become leaders instead of listening to leaders. if learning enables people to lead there is hope. i am always inspired by you mazin.
INDEED!