Trumping Environment


Mazin Qumsiyeh | Popular Resistance – TRANSCEND Media Service

8 Apr 2022 – We went from winter to summer fairly quickly with spring almost non-existent in this part of the world. In Europe at the same time they encountered 8 degrees below average for 2-3 weeks with winter extended. In the arctic, a block of ice the size of Manhattan crumbled. Soon multiple forest fires will wreak havoc on our planet. These and many other catastrophes are expected to only increase as we scientists studying our planet continue to warn that drastic actions need to be undertaken to stop a doomsday scenario related to climate change, pollution, over exploitation, and habitat destruction.

Side effects of human activities also include increase in invasive species, refugees who will be mostly climate refugees, and much more. Under colonization and during conflicts (which are always rackets for money/profit of the elites) these environmental declines get accelerated. For those like me who actually study these things and write about them, we find that the most disheartening aspect is indeed the way common people who suffer are duped to be partisan to conflict and thus enrich the oligarchs. The latter sometimes profit on both sides of the conflict. For example the oligarchs of the Rothschild and Bush families who got enriched on both sides of the WWII conflict.

I continue to give talks 2-4 times a week and I am always inspired by connectivity of struggles around the world Mexican immigrants in the US, Black lives matter movement, native struggle against the pipeline in the US, struggles of Palestinians against continued genocide and ethnic cleansing etc. It is challenging trying to encourage people to seek the truth when mainstream media (Western or Eastern) spread lies and distortion!. We also noted the political maneuvering in the last two weeks in Geneva to try and set targets and milestones for the critical biodiversity conservation globally. Politics in its worst manifestation trumps the environment. That is why we enjoy the company of enlightened people and especially youth who do not get sucked in by propaganda or consumerism (consumerism of products and (mis)information). Most of us attending daily iftars at the museum during Ramadan are not Muslim but it is the communal gathering that brings the best in people. Visitors to the institute ( such as a group from Luxemburg yesterday are happy to see camaraderie and teamwork in action. Yesterday and today we held children’s activities. I see people doing good for other people daily. I reiterate Howard Zinn’s statement which I included in my 2004 book “Sharing the land of Canaan”

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

And here is Daniel Berringen poignant statement about peace-making: “We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total—but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial. So a whole will and a whole heart and a whole national life bent toward war prevail over the veilleities of peace. In every national war since the founding of the republic we have taken for granted that war shall exact the most rigorous cost, and that the cost shall be paid with cheerful heart. We take it for granted that in wartime families will be separated for long periods, that men will be imprisoned, wounded, driven insane, killed on foreign shores. In favor of such wars, we declare a moratorium on every normal human hope—for marriage, for community, for friendship, for moral conduct toward strangers and the innocent.

We are instructed that deprivation and discipline, private grief and public obedience are to be our lot. And we obey. And we bear with it—because bear we must—because war is war, and good war or bad, we are stuck with it and its cost. But what of the price of peace? I think of the good, decent, peace-loving people I have known by the thousands and I wonder. How many of them are so afflicted with the wasting disease of normalcy that, even as they declare for the peace, their hands reach out with an instinctive spasm in the direction of their loved ones, in the direction of their comforts, their home, their security, their income, their future, their plans—that five-year plan of decent life, that ten-year plan of family growth and unity, that fifty-year plan of descent life and honorable natural demise. “Of course, let us have the peace,” we cry, “but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties.

And because we must encompass this and protect that, and because at all costs—at all costs—our hopes must march on schedule, and because it is unheard of that in the name of peace a sword must fall, dis joining that fine and cunning web that our lives have woven, because it is unheard of that good men should suffer injustice or families be sundered or good repute be lost—because of this we cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake”.

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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.

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One Response to “Trumping Environment”

  1. Lorraine Joan Elletson says:

    I love your articles. Thanks so much for all the wonderful work you are doing for human rights. I pray for the Palestinians everyday. Lorraine J Elletson- Spain