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Finding goodness, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

It has been a very challenging week. Not in terms of life or our(volunteer) work. I and my wife continue to work seven days a week andaccomplish a lot as full time volunteers at the Palestine Museum of NaturalHistory and Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability. Evensubmitting more research manuscripts than I expected (one or two a week in thisperiod) and more grant applications (2-3 per month). Our garden is blooming andwe harvest regularly things like strawberries, tomatoes, basil, mint and more.Visitors to the museum are regular and whether young or old, they go awaymotivated and energized to do something. So things are going well. No, whatmade it a challenging week are two things expectation and analysis. Inanalyzing the world situation (thinking globally while still acting locally) weobserve how difficult a landscape humanity faces. Rich Arab leaders that arepuppets of the western world continued wasting billions that rightfully belongto the people. Hundreds of billions of Arabian Hijaz money wasted by the rulersas a bribe to Trump and to attack other fellow Muslims (in Iran, Qatar,Palestine, Yemen). But lest you think I take sides against the Saud family, letme be clear. Edward Said once put it, we do not have to choose between fanaticdictators and fundamentalist religious fanatics. So I am neither with the Saudior with the Qatari royal families or their agendas. There are now three axes inthe Middle East:
Axis 1- Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Egypt, Israel, USA
Axis 2- Qatar, Turkey
Axis 3- Syria, Iran, Russia, and possibly China (for now keeping adistance)

Axis 1 now decided to go after axis 2. Axis 2 is considering moving forprotection to axis 3. The US is solidly behind axis 1 but keeping leverage viaaxis 2 (US bases both in Turkey and Qatar). The US is trying hard to undermineaxis 3. Israeli leaders brag about how their strategy of aggressive war, strongmilitary and strong lobbies ensured this geopolitical structure working to theiradvantage. Lieberman and Netanyahu openly flaunt the friendly relations with “Sunnistates” against Iran and Hamas and Hizballah. To echo this, axis 1 “leaders” (unelecteddictators) list any resistance group fighting Israeli colonialism as terrorgroup. In Palestine, the Fatah leadership follows axis 1, Hamas axis 2, and thePFLP axis 3. The Palestinian street is looking for alternatives and seeinglittle on the horizon. I do not want to overanalyze this situation. The questionthat always stays is “what is our individual roles”? The struggle is to stay optimistic,look for the positives and build on them towards a future of peace, justice,and sustainability.

We do not have to line-up with governments, we do have to a) speaktruth to power, b) build something positive despite incredible odds, 3) try tofind and encourage the goodness in ALL humans. Briefly, we must indeedchallenge corruption and greed that leads to war and conflict. My owntrepidation is I see both large scale greed and corruptions (Trump, the kingsof Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and General Sisi of Egypt) but I also seesmall scale beginning of greed and corruption in people here in Palestine evenunder occupation. How do we make sure that people we know do not continue downthat path (addictive destructive)? Building something positive on the groundlike a small permaculture farm can therapeutic and can cause a small rippleeffect. But how can we enlarge his to have many such positive ripples that stirthe sludge that is lurking underneath, give oxygen, allow life to grow and purifythe water? Perhaps this is where the third element comes in: try to find andencourage the goodness in ALL humans. This is the most challenging task. It iseasy to see points of light everywhere. Millions of people actually, the lastevidence of this is how millions voted their hopes not their fears in Englanddespite a concerted campaign by the elites to vilify leader of the Labor partyas an “antisemite”. Hundreds of activists share their positive action everyweek with me (I have a large email list of tens of thousands of activists). Whatis more difficult is to see how we can light more candles and ensure that oncean activist candle is lit, that t is protected, enhanced, and enlarged. That isa more challenging task.

I would love to hear from readers new ideas of how we can do thisbetter and more efficiently. It is existential (as I wrote in another message):we either quickly learn to do this and live together in peace and harmony or “weperish together as fools.”

I will be engaging many hundreds of people in discussion around theseissues in my upcoming trips (the US this month and England in October see ).