A New Decade


Mazin Qumsiyeh– TRANSCEND Media Service

2 Jan 2020 – We entered 2020, a year that heralded an unlivable situation in Gaza according to the UN and a new decade that many are predicting will radically transform the world (either make it or break it on many fronts from world peace to climate change). Locally a recent article in Arabic summed up the previous decade. It covered things like the unfulfilled expectations from the Obama administration which while trying to talk peace supported Israel in money and protection at the UN to expand colonies in the occupied territories.

It covered the strengthening of Zionist support to right wing parties around the world (US, UK, Brazil etc), gains of UN recognition for state of Palestine (including joining UNESCO),inaction on climate, growth of Zionist colonial settlements, Trump’s destructive moves to accommodate Israeli colonialism, numerous attacks on Gaza population (testing Israeli new weapons and killing >1000 civilians), settler attacks on civilians (including burning a whole family), UNSC 2334 resolution that was miraculously not vetoed by the Obama administration (on applicability of Geneva conventions), and the return marches from Gaza that started in 2018 and still ongoing and still faced by shoot-to-kill at peaceful demonstrators. The year was capped by Trump accepting the Zionist Chutzpah that anti-Zionism is same as anti-Semitism followed by (20 December) the International Court of Justice declaring there is ground to investigate Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Dare we hope for a good new decade? In my view that only comes from making right diagnosis and applying therapy starting with ourselves. In her 1987 book “When Society Becomes an Addict,” Anne Wilson Schaef brilliantly articulated characteristics of addicted societies (which also inflict addicted individuals whether to drugs or alcohol). They include things like Chaos (opposite is structure/organization), lying and dishonesty, Denial of reality, attack on and attempts at invalidation of others (not cooperation and teamwork), ethical deterioration, Fear (as opposed to courage to take bold decisions). The crisis orientation overwhelms the capacities of an addictive system. Stress leaves most people in an addictive system exhausted and helpless. Communication confusion is always present and empty promises are always used to offer a false hope in addictive systems.

Healthy persons who are recovering from an addictive system are attacked also. Simplistic dualisms offer a pretense of reality and control in addictive systems e.g., you are a patriot or a traitor. I leave it to you if you agree that US, Israeli, and even Palestinian societies are addicted.

In our case, I had analyzed our “addictive illness” in a recent chapter in a book on post-colonialism in which I used the “mental colonization” analysis. I articulated ways to get off of this which is to start with a nucleus of positive individuals (not saheeja) and grow it methodically and scientifically. It needs a lot of work (proactive not reactive) and effort and self-sacrifice. The ten-step process for getting over addictions is to start with acknowledgement and fully embracing the fact of our addictions. In this case it means stop the charade of Oslo and challenge all the other symptoms of our addiction. I believe this is the decade to be cured and get freedom/liberty.

Freedom is never given to oppressed people from outside. It must be generated by resistance and via pressure primarily from inside (outside help is welcome as with BDS just like in South Africa). Our motto at palestinenature.org is respect and it is respect at three levels (respect for ourselves, for others, for nature). That first level is most critical: it is empowerment.  So let us pull up our sleeves and get to work to make this decade the decade of  end of colonization, greed and racism and a decade of clarity (20/20 vision ;-), peace, justice, equality AND saving our planet from ourselves!

Stay Human and come visit us in Palestine.


Mazin Qumsiyeh, associate professor of genetics and director of cytogenetic services at Yale University School of Medicine, is founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-president of the Middle East Genetics Association. He won the Raymond Jallow Activism Award from the national Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. He is co-founder and national treasurer of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and has written extensively about the Middle East. Qumsiyeh is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, author of Sharing the Land of Canaan and Popular Resistance in Palestine, a professor at Bethlehem University and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History in Bethlehem. http://palestinenature.org


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Jan 2020.

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