Ego Is the Enemy


Mazin Qumsiyeh | Popular Resistance – TRANSCEND Media Service

17 Mar 2024 – Our email list was 51,000 before and increased by 4000 new people since early October 2023. In the past five months I gave over 52 talks to audiences around the world. >120 radio and TV interviews and sent over 70 emails with information and actions people do not see on mainstream media. We expected (logical) formation of a unity government in the West Bank and Gaza  during a genocidal war on our people. Instead we see that Mahmoud Abbas (whose term expired 15 years ago) appointed yet another “Prime Minister”.

The Oslo governments kept this heterogeneous mix of service (in some cases good service) to the community as an autonomy while also benefiting many in a corrupt system encouraged and facilitated by the US and Israel to keep divisive corrupt rule while protecting Israeli (colonial) security. It is what such a system was designed for under Oslo agreements. While those agreements were supposed to be interim for five years (to 1999) they are what is the maximum that was intended. All resistance including non-violent was squashed and the only resistance partially allowed was ” diplomatic resistance” (even then the authority was not allowed to challenge Israel in international courts).

This pathetic state of affairs has continued for 30 years with colonial settler population mushrooming from 150,000 to 950,000 and Israel kept drifting to the right to become the most fascist and racist society on earth while Palestinian politics remained frozen.  If I was asked why, the answer will be long.  As an academic and grassroots activist (not a politician), I have argued over the past 40 years for two themes: 1) more scientific and logical analysis of our situation which leads to different discourse, 2) For positive strong engagement not merely criticism. Let me explain.


I am not proud that the lessons from history predicted this dual state always repeated: innovative and amazing sumud and resistance by our people while pathetic and selfish leadership that leaves our people orphans to fend for themselves.  It is not difficult to see things coming and history repeating itself (a second Nakba with Arab and Palestinian collusion). See my earlier books like “Sharing the Land of Canaan” and “Popular Resistance in Palestine, a history of hope and empowerment” where I explain this redundant history in detail but where I also show points of optimism and especially emanating in every generation from young people. Young people born in the past 30 years of failed politics are in my opinion the generation of real liberation. This is tre not just in Palestine but globally (the global intifada is unfolding). I think young people intuitively understand the corruption and decadence of politicians.

My only advice to the younger generation is to read more books.  Ho Chi Minh used to insist on a library in each of the tunnels dug to resist the American imperial genocide in Vietnam. This was a secret to success of the Vietnamese freedom struggle against the French and then the American genocidal occupation (3 million killed or starved to death). The same can be said for the Algerian and South African liberation struggle. It is not enough to have a just cause or to look for answers in ancient Holy Books. There is a body of knowledge that exists that developed over centuries. Ignorant masses are easier to manipulate than educated masses. Even empires collapsed (Roman, Umayyad, Spanish, Portuguese, Ottoman etc) or are collapsing now (US, Israeli) partly if not mostly due to intentional programs of distancing the people from real knowledge. Brainwashing them to be good consumers but not involved, educated, and critical thinkers.

One of the books that needs to be read by all people (including our frozen politicians) to achieve real success for our causes is “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. Another is Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet”. There are many others. Reading is empowerment but at the same time provides that needed humility to recognize how little we know and that scientific knowledge is both repeatable and falsifiable. We all make mistakes. Political factions and people who do not admit their mistakes and fallibility are not those who make history.


It is not enough to have an understanding of things or to criticize. It is not enough to protest or resist the evil that surrounds us. It is important to envision a better future AND WORK FOR IT. I am grateful that I am surrounded by groups of educated young people who share a vision of sustainable human and natural communities locally and globally. This is shared by hundreds of millions of people who work on environmental justice, climate justice, decolonization, and building shared sustainable communities (and these things are linked).

Locally we work on the one democratic country (a country that is pluralistic and serves all people regardless of religion or background) and we work on sustaining indigenous people on their land while protecting nature (see and browse our annual report). This second theme is reason why, while having built institutions in the US, I returned to Palestine 16 years ago to build things here where they are most needed. We have been very lucky in those years to find hundreds of volunteers, staff, and supporters to help build something positive in the midst of this chaos.

We keep the hope alive that we shall overcome someday. As before, I welcome feedback.


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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DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WHOSE BARCODE STARTS WITH 729, which indicates that it is produced in Israel. DO YOUR PART! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


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