Women’s day, reliable virus info, 42 knees etc.

Posted on Mar 8, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumiseyh writes from Beit Sahour/Bethelehm

It is hard to come up with the right words on International Women’s Day. To my three sisters, my wife, my mom, to all Palestinain women, to all women, especially those in areas of conflict and under occupation, colonization, oppression we say: we must redouble our efforts for freedom and human rights. To the 43 women political prisoners in Israeli jails: we honor you.

Bethlehem is like a ghost town indeed after 19 tested positive for corona virus (contained in a hotel). People are staying indoors. But there are 250,000 people in this district and life must go on. Positive aspects are making the world realize the trends of going back to 19th century nationalism and xenophobia will not work. We share a planet and our fates are all connected (climate change, infectious disease, poverty etc in one area affect all!)  Here in Bethlehem under siege, we met with health officials, we took precautions as needed but work must go on. I and about half a dozen volunteers are taking care of garden work, feeding animals, going on field trips (Yesterday in Wadi Al-Makhrour, today maybe in Artas), writing research papers, doing clinical cases. Talking about research, we uploaded some new published works that just came out on our website, please take time to review them here: https://www.palestinenature.org/research/

’42 knees in one day’: Israeli snipers open up about shooting Gaza protesters: Over 200 Palestinians were killed and nearly 8,000 were injured during almost two years of weekly protests at the Israel-Gaza border. Israeli army snipers tell their stories. …..Eden: “On that day, our pair had the largest number of hits, 42 in all. My locator wasn’t supposed to shoot, but I gave him a break, because we were getting close to the end of our stint, and he didn’t have knees. In the end you want to leave with the feeling that you did something, that you weren’t a sniper during exercises only. So, after I had a few hits, I suggested to him that we switch. He got around 28 knees there, I’d say.”

Coronavirus live updates

In Canada we oppressed, colonized and segregated indigenous People on reserves to move them out of the way of settlement by newcomers after first contact and when we became a country in 1867 we created an apartheid system and out of arrogance and ignorance tried to make “Indians” just like us.
We called them primitives, savages and heathens. From 1867-1982 we dishonoured Indigenous Peoples just as the Israeli state is dishonouring Palestinians in occupied territories. I am outraged about both. In Canada for the last 25 years, including 3 years as a Cabinet Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs in my province of Manitoba, I have done my best to promote truth and reconciliation and genuine self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and de-colonization worldwide.
I am aided in Canada by s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, many judgements of our Supreme Court of Canada over the last 48 years, the Truth and Reconcilation Report 2014 and its 94 Calls to Action and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I am inspired by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to the extent it serves first the oppressed, impoverished and vulnerable Peoples of the world, especially females and children. God willing my wife and I will be back in Palestine soon with another group of Rotary Peace Builders seeking to learn more about building understanding, goodwill, peace, trust and justice.
We must connect then. Since our last trip in March 2019 I have presented to my Rotary Club and at a Peace Days Festival event to the general public about what I learned from my last trip. I have become very active here and been ostracized by some of our local prominent citizens who do not want to talk about human rights, international law and history of your region, but more importantly. I am emboldened by those people I most respect and trust who are too fearful to do what I am doing and can do because I am free and independent enough to take the risks I am taking for the benefit of ALL concerned.
I now define “ALL” in the Rotary 4-Way Test as “everyone, everywhere, the wisdom of our ancestors, 7 generations ahead and sentient and non-sentient beings.” This helps guide me in using just and loving thoughts, words and actions. Keep up the good work with the patience, understanding and non-violence our Indigenous Peoples in Canada showed settlers in Canada. As I see it we are at a cross-roads in Canada and my teachers who guide me are Indigenous Peoples who live good lives and are guided by the 7 Sacred Teachings of humility, courage, truth, honesty, love, wisdom and  respect. With great respect and appreciation for the educational work you do as a service above self.

Stay Human,
 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
facebook pages
Personal https://www.facebook.com/mazin.qumsiyeh.9
Museum https://www.facebook.com/Palestine-Museum-of-Natural-History-1454309858180882/