Invasive versus biodiverse-ive

29.02.2016 - Pressenza Hong Kong

Invasive versus biodiverse-ive
Mazin Qumsiyeh with his student friends (Image by Mazin Qumsiyeh)

A ceasefire was declared in Syria brokered by the US and Russia which is a good thing. The twin rogue regimes of Israel and Saudi Arabia are not happy. The former rattled its military wares and killed a few more Palestinians. The Saudi regime cut off aid to the Lebanese army while dumping more weapons on civilians in Yemen. Personally I was reflecting on issues of Invasive Species. Here in Palestine we see more and more invasive species: crows, mina birds, Zionist settlers and European Pine and Australian “ornamental” trees they brought that are taking over vast areas of the country and damaging native flora and fauna. 530 native villages diverse in customs and culture and religion were wiped out to make space for the invasive species. Biodiversity shrunk in the face of the onslaught.

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Many human beings especially those who look at life from a narrow perspective (sometimes called fundamentalists) view diversity as harmful and want to create a more homogeneous society with their group/idea dominating it. The Pharisees of 2000 years ago were a powerful sect mired in ritualistic traditions which predated by some 300 years the evolution of Rabbinical Judaism. Jesus challenged them for their orthodoxy of thought that he considered disconnected from reality and needs of the people. In the past 2000 years similar ideas opposing diversity were resurrected from crusaders to Islamic fundamentalism, to white supremacy, to genocide od Armenians by Ottoman turks, to Nazi atrocities of murdering millions, to US genocides in Cambodia and Vietnam, to apartheid in South Africa, to Rwanda, and most recently to Zionist genocide of native Palestinians.

Working and adapting to changing landscapes is based on diversity whether in natural world (Darwinian evolution) or in human societies (cultural evolution). This is a key to survival but the reverse is also true: most isolationist ideologies that refused to accept concepts of diversity are extinct or almost extinct. Zionism will thus also end. I am beginning to wonder if the ultimate trajectory of Jewish colonization of Palestine is a complicated ritual (sacrificing the native Palestinians) to arrive at a culminated predictable mass suicide (ala Samson or Masada). I say this with some trepidation because all my life I have been working hard to insist that there is a way out based on human rights and international law that guarantees mutual survival and mutual respect for all people and ideas in Palestine. I still think it is possible (although that window is closing very quickly thanks to Israeli actions) to return Palestine to a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural society (albeit with now a far more prominent Jewish and Hebrew presence). Zionists insist on their program that is analogous to the program of the crusaders to “Christianize” Palestine and make it this fictional “Christendom.” Zionists want to transform the country to a Jewish state and their relentless program to do that is now focused on Jerusalem and strengthening the Jewish only colonies built around it on Palestinian lands. When the Crusaders were defeated, Christian presence here continued and actually flourished (my family is descendants of Canaanites who converted to Christianity in the 3rd century AD and lived through that tumultuous era as Arab Eastern Christians).

Intrinsically, people recognize that there is beauty and harmony in diversity. Every human being recognizes that spring is beautiful because of the diversity of textures, flowers, animals, smells, faces, and foods. From childhood we recognize that we do not like monotony and we like things that mix colors or change routines. That is also why jokes are funny as they provide the unexpected punch line. I started to think that the same as applies to considering the natural world of animals and plants beautiful must also apply to diversity of people. Zionism and Nazism’s main failure is that they wanted to create homogeneity. Homogeneity is ugly by definition even without considering the attempt to exclude what originally made the place beautiful: the natives.

Stay human and help the natives

Categories: Diversity, Middle East, Opinions
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