This post is also available in: Italian
A three day conference in Annemasse France has just concluded. It was inspiring to talk with so many active people who are looking for ways to help and build a better future for humanity and also for fellow living things on this small planet.
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor and Director Palestine Museum of Natural History
I focused on the project of the Palestine Museum of Natural History especially our plans for conservation and empowerment of Palestinians and the work in the Jordan Valley. Together we felt empowered and strengthened. This was also my first visit to France after the publication of my book in French on history of Popular Resistance –
Une histoire populaire de la resistance Palestinienne:
On Sunday morning I attended church services in Saint Benoit des Nations church. Sitting there so far away from home and in the quiet moments during the service, I missed home And I felt at peace. I reflected how lucky and happy I am. I did accomplish a lot in my life from writing several books, contributing to scientific knowledge, training students, teaching at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, previously being on the faculty of Duke and Yale Universities among others, starting clinical cytogenetics laboratories including in the difficult circumstances under occupation, and now embarking on the ambitious project of building a museum of natural history in Bethlehem.
But working and helping young people is still the most fulfilling part of all. In my youth I had hoped and expected people to help me and my projects and my ideas. Wiser now, I merely want to do my best for others and only hope that peoplelive up to their own conscience and feel comfortable in their own skin.
I do not like apathy but I do not see it my role to guide people as to where they should direct their energies (hopefully they do it in positive directions). Another area of reflection was that I now see more positives in ALL people. Even those who oppress us, I only wish them enlightenment and positive life. I feel privileged to meet and work with so many positive energetic people like those at the conference in Annemasse (Dusa, Suhair Farraj, Gadi Algazi, Moncef Chahed, Nisrin AbuAmara, imen Habib, Marie-Paule Michel, Serge Godey,Maurice Button etc)
On the way to Europe, we Palestinians have to go through Jordan because we are not allowed to use the only open airport in our country (Lod Airport, renamed to Ben Gurion Airport). This is one of thousands of apartheid/discriminatory practices against us native Palestinians by the colonizers. Any way at Amman airport, I stopped by and bought some gifts from the nature store (to benefit the society of conservation of Nature in Jordan). One of the items was a small jar of Apricot Jam made by the people of the village of Dana (living in the vicinity of the beautiful Dana Nature Reserve). Well, the Frankfort airport security decided to confiscate this small bottle of jam. Even the officer who did this told me these are ridiculous regulations they have to follow. In this era of genocide (as in Gaza, in Syria, in Iraq), this is the US/Israeli legacy of creating paranoia about “terrorism” (as long as you do not include state terrorism).
It makes Western people remain subservient to the dictates of those making billions: keep the people afraid and keep them subservient to governments which themselves are subservient to powerful Zionist lobbies.
But we can and must challenge repression. I found it refreshing talking to fellow passengers and citizens of many countries that they know what the game is and that they are willing to act. As I said in many of my talks the Chinese have a long history and proverbs that are very good to remember for example “better light a candle than curse the darkness”, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand”.
I now go on to Geneva then to Oslo then back to Palestine. But I already miss the homeland so much.
A lecture I gave earlier on human rights and the current situation in
[My talks here were different in focusing on environmental challenges and
our Palestine Museum of Natural History]