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Life here goes on in all its ups and downs. On the down side we noted with
dismay how Mr. Jibril Rjoub decided unilaterally to capitulate to the
Israeli government and not pursue them in FIFA (Fédération Internationale
de Football Association) even though they violate basic human rights
including rights of athletes. The capitulation decision was with no
democracy, no consulting of people (even our own athletes) and contradicted
Rjoub's own promises in mainstream media. There is an Avaas campaign to
gather signatures to "red card" Mr. Rjoub (see
https://secure.avaaz.org/ar/red_card_rjoub/?rc=fb&pv=61 ) for taking these
unilateral and undemocratic decision . This is one of a series of setbacks
that keep proving that the Oslo process was indeed a second Nakba for us.
It created a cadre of benefited elites who for the sake of PR must keep
speaking as if they are against the occupation but in practice facilitate
and entrench the occupation/colonization.
Questions for philosophical thought to the likes of Jibril Rjoub: who was
the women who refused to give up her seat to a white man in a bus in
America? Now who was prime minister of England at the time or minister of
youth or athletes etc? Who made the difference and who is remembered? In 50
years who will remember you and if they do how will they remember you? How
do we remember Vichy or Buthalesi?
We think philosophically of how many humans are weak and do not show a
backbone. They do not respect themselves or believe in themselves. They get
down the slippery slope of "getting along" to advance their individual
financial or personal ego interest. Jesus said "what good is it for man to
gain the whole world and lose himself". I have compiled hundreds of such
examples maybe for my next book.
On the up-side good people keep doing amazingly good work. We had a
Bethlehem Rotary gathering to celebrate end of one project in Gaza
(maternal and Child health) and start another with help from our Japanese
colleagues. Dr. Asaad Ramlawi (ministry of health) gave us a sobering
presentation on malnutrition in Palestine. We had growth in our activities.
Museum volunteers do two field trips every week with volunteers (this week
was to Wadi Fukin and Neni Naim/Kufr Breik). We had a productive discussion
about the Jordan Valley project (sustainability and biodiversity). We
planted new plants. We met with numerous visiting delegations including a
group of visiting innovators (writers, artists etc) who came for the first
time in Palestine (program has been doing this http://palfest.org/ ). We
had an event in the Manger Square to gather fingerprints for freedom
(initiated by colleagues from Nazareth to break three records, see
http://www.fpp.today/ ) and had the honor to meet Waheeb daughter of Tawfiq
Ziyad. He is the famous Palestinian poet and we with help of Mr. Qavi
(donor) in the Museum of Natural History have been distributing plaques for
two months with part of his poem Baqoun:
Here we will stay
In Lidda, In Ramle, in the Galillee
We shall Remain
Like a wall on your chest
and in your throat
like a shard of glass, a cactus thorn
and in your eyes
On personal news: I finished writing a chapter on BDS (boycotts,
divestments and sanctions) highlighting opportunities (e.g. with churches)
and challenges (e.g. with Oslo and the PA structure). I also finished two
reports. I am going to Amman (3 days) for a conference on biodiversity then
to Marseille briefly (2 days) for a conference on climate change. Next
month to Germany. Biggest challenge is shortage is time. Biggest
opportunity/pleasure is working with youth.
A luta continua.
Come visit us in Bethlehem under Israeli apartheid.
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability