World Quds and Biodiversity days coincide

Posted on May 22, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes in today’s Palestinian Christians newsletter:

Today/Friday for the first time that I recall is Al-Quds/Jerusalem Day coinciding with World Biodiversity Day. The former is on the last Friday of Ramadan (lunar calendar) when we all should think of the besieged colonized brutalized city under attack almost daily since its western half was ethnically cleansed in 1948 and its eastern half occupied in 1967. World Biodiversity Day reminds us of our connections to all living things. For me Jerusalem symbolizes human diversity (under attack) and earth biodiversity (also under attack).

My 88-year-old mother remembers her school friend (they were both studying to be teachers) Hayah AlBalbisi was killed with students she was teaching at the Western Jerusalem village of Deir Yassin April 1948 (one of >33 massacres committed to drive all Palestinians out). This set the stage for Judaisizing Jerusalem and Palestine. Yet my earliest childhood recollections are of my mother passing our used clothes and food to refugees in the 1960s with a big smile on her face.  My grandmother’s side of the family is from Nazareth, and I wish I could take my mother one more time to visit that occupied town. We will never forget; we will liberate Palestine and refugees will return. Palestine will be returned to what it once was: multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious. My mother and I deeply believe in this human and natural diversity.  She also takes care of nature even at her advanced age. She used to take us as kids to the field collecting wild plants (medicinal, herbal). From her I learned to love diversity in humans and nature.

Anyways, we keep the struggle alive, people helping people before the Eid in Ramadan. I am proud to see fellow Christians also helping their needy Muslim neighbours. Our Rotary club distributed food baskets. There is a spirit of friendship and teamwork from so many people. Yesterday I had dinner with Catholic De La Salle Brothers and before Iftar with a Muslim Sheikh. Dinner with our volunteer Zohar daily (Zohar is born in Palestine to a Jewish immigrant family but she is like me anti-Zionist). This human spirit is what keeps many of us hopeful. I just wish negative (selfish) people just understood.

In Bethlehem from 7 PM today till Monday midnight there is essentially a curfew so I and two volunteers decided to hang out at the museum and feed the animals, water the plants, study the night life at the botanic garden. With no disturbances over the weekend, I should be able to also finish a couple of research papers. Jessie will stay with my mother at home. As the Buddhists say: “We have joyful participation in the sorrows of this world.”

Palestine: The third way forward. The Palestinians are not powerless. There is much they can do to stop Israeli expansionism.

You can also read m 2004 book, Sharing the Land of Canaan for a detailed way forward:

Air Pollution and the Coronavirus: “The Connection Explained” Many of the same greenhouse gas emissions driving the climate crisis contribute to respiratory illness, which is also one of the main underlying conditions correlating to the worst outcomes in patients with COVID-19.

I just hope more humans learn the lessons of coronavirus, give up the old systems of capitalism and consumerism, take care of each other and of nature.

“Palestine Museum of Natural History: Teaching for the Future”

P.S. again thank you for those who gave me feedback on these messages and for your true friendship and boundless support of fellow human beings and of nature

Stay Human, Stay safe, stay active and happy Eids Al Fitr

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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