Will humanity fail or rise to the challenge?

Posted on Mar 12, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes from Beit Sahor in his Palestinian Christians newsletter:

Will humanity fail or rise to the challenge?

Obviously human beings are being tested: pandemics spreading around the world (and after coronavirus, there will be others much more deadly), the collapse of oil prices that led to financial market collapses, the climate change (we have really 7 or 8 years left to make drastic changes in lifestyle to avoid the irreversible damage), the technology gone rampant and killings and nature (5G, chemical and biological weapons), the accelerating risk of nuclear war, and much more. How we deal with this as individuals and communities is really existential. There are bad signs and good signs. Let us give some examples of both and then of areas where we could go either way).

Please post other good and bad news in the comments on this blog.

Example bad news first

1) Regarding Coronavirus, it has become officially a pandemic and the failure of many governments to take it seriously will have catastrophic consequences in those areas (like Italy and the US). Some governments are using the pandemic as an excuse to increase repression and discrimination instead of using it to bring peace with justice. The genocidal sanctions on Iran for example has been tightened causing needless deaths of many. And even though Israeli cases are far more than Palestinian cases, restrictions and blockade tightened in our ghettos/bantustans (our own apartheid regime) and settlers are free to travel anywhere. Bethlehem is blockaded only for its Palestinian residents not for the illegal Israeli colonial settlers living here. Iran released tens of thousands of prisoners to protect them; Israel brought in a sick doctor and cut services and stopped family visits to the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. The catastrophic economic situation around the world impacts the most vulnerable communities. Poverty will skyrocket and the billionaires will stay billionaires! “Israel” with all its money and resources (fleeced from us and others) is focused on being anti-Palestinian instead of working to better the lives of all its citizens including Palestinians. Greece and Turkey play football with Syrian refugees and the genocide in Yemen is ongoing and I shudder to think what would happen as the virus spreads in such devasted countries like Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

2) The climate change catastrophic situation is not dealt with and the political structures look like will not be changed. Because of cheating and rigging to prevent Bernie Sanders from getting the democratic nomination (driven mostly by Zionists), the choice in November will be to vote for one xenophobic puppet and another (Trump vs Biden) or sit it out. Trump will win (the power of incumbency and more money from Zionist billionaires) and we will be run for four more years by a fumbling megalomaniac. In either case the US will continue to topple governments that serve their people and install puppets similar to the one they put in charge of Brazil who will finish off the Amazon rainforest.

Good news:

1) In many locations, people quickly responded aggressively to the virus and seem to have contained the situation including at the source of the virus (Wuhan province in China) where new cases continue to decline. Medical personnel around the world have been nothing less than heroes. Among Palestinians we were pleasantly surprised by how serious it was taken and every one of the 31 cases reported in the past few days has known source and well controlled with hundreds observing the self-quarantine (only two people did not and they are now forced to do so and maybe penalized!). So many people are helping other people. Other good news on this front is the scientific development of simplified cheap tests and quick progress on anti-viral cures.

2) Young people around the world are aware like never before. Part of it is they understand increasingly how the system is rigged, that 99.9% of politicians lie to them, and that their future cannot be left to politicians. They take things into their own hands, mobilize, help fellow human beings and are increasingly realizing that their future is at stake.. Extinction Rebellion is the fastest growing movement on our planet.

Now there are things that we cannot predict where they go yet. Will decision makers do the right thing and learning from the past realize that “business as usual” cannot go on and that they need to think of the collective human interest? Will we learn that the horrors of World War I and WWII were indeed repeated including actions of ethnic cleansing and slow genocide even by some people claiming to be heirs to the victims of similar atrocities? Will some countries use Israeli made drones to oppress people & shut down borders to refugees or will they really work for peace and justice instead of supporting repressive regimes like “Saudi Arabia” and “Israel” who cause these problems? Will those who attended the large AIPAC conference including congress people realize there is so much more hard from that besides getting Coronavirus (four were infected and mingling)? Will politicians put their personal financial and political interests ahead of our (and their’s) children future? Will the world (including our Arab countries and Palestine) remain run by mediocre people focusing on their own narrow self-interest? Will Israeli society and global Zionists continue to drift farther to the rights (racism, fascism etc)?

We did not learn from our history. As WWII was ending and Germany and Japan were already defeated, the US fired the first two shots of the next war with the Soviet Union (that is the Hiroshima and Nagazaki terror bombing). Then we had Korea, Vietnam, Palestine and many many more atrocities against peole to serve colonial and imperial powers. In the past they got away with it. Today, this is existential to all humanity and as was said by a prophetic voice: we either live together as fellow human beings or we perish together as fools. When I said this to an audience in a recent talk in Europe, they asked about probabilities: I said 20% and 80% but the probability of 20% to survive as a species is getting smaller – the window of opportunity is closing. We must all reach deeper in our hearts and minds (and soul if you believe) and summon our best to fight. It is the epic struggle for our existence.

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Stay Human and come visit us in Palestine (at least after it is made possible again)
and do stay safe

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Founder, and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
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