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Actions in Building, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

The Christmas season is here in Bethlehem and the “Holy Land”. Alreadythe Christmas tree in Bethlehem Nativity square is lit. It isbeautiful to see people of all faiths here in occupied Palestine sharejoys and share sadness (ie. share life). We already attended twoconcerts/choirs (one led by Germans, the other by Swedes). It is mostinspiring to see Muslims and Jews in the Christmas spirit here. Likeall holidays it becomes part of our native Palestinian culture asdifferent faith communities join hands and sing together and celebratetogether. Friends of ours lost their son and hundreds of all faithscame to pay respect on the day of burial Friday (it washeart-wrenching to watch this beautiful family mourn this specialchild). Sunday we attended services for six who died earlier (40 dayor 6 month rituals) which included my Aunt Amal and my uncle Sami. Wemiss them all.We are in the midst of an environmental conference (networking withreally good people) and thinking out loud how we make a difference. Wefinally had rains here in good quantity and even though we are cold,we are happy. We try to live our life despite the horrors of theoccupation and the incitement against us. We even had rainbows andgreat food. We are still lucky to be alive and in good health.Life carries on and forces us to think of what legacy we leave in it.Will we be destructive or productive? How much time do we spend tochallenge destructive forces and how much to build (I try to balancebut it is very hard). For me the most rewarding is seeing positivechange in eyes of children coming to our museum and botanical garden.To see it in the increased critical thinking and questioning by mystudents at the three colleges/universities I teach at (Bethlehem,Birzeit, Dar Al-Kalima). As the semester closes soon, I can’t help butmarvel at where they were at the beginning of the semester and wherethey are now (well at least the majority of them ;-).  I could nothelp but think of the lyrics of Loius Armstrong’s song:"What A Wonderful World"I see trees of green, red roses too.I see them bloom, for me and you.And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.I see skies of blue, And clouds of white.The bright blessed day,  The dark sacred night.And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.The colors of the rainbow, So pretty in the sky.Are also on the faces, Of people going by,I see friends shaking hands.  Saying, "How do you do?"They're really saying,  "I love you".I hear babies cry,  I watch them grow,They'll learn much more, Than I'll ever know.And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world.The Best Magazine in Palestine: This Week in Palestine will now beavailable by subscription. Please visit this link to see thelatest/December issue (still free for now and a wonderful issue oncelebrations/holidays) and ALSO to subscribe: Palestine Christmas Alert if you have not seen our holiday message of hope and call toaction, please visit human and come visit us in occupied PalestineMazin Qumsiyeh