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New Orleans, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

I am in New Orleans where I gave two talks already at the 56th annualgeneral assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The first timeI came here was in the 1990s for a medical convention where I got to be atypical tourist enjoying sights but having little knowledge of life ofcommon people. The second trip was in early 2000s on the wheels of justicebus tour where we stayed and worked with common people (the 99%). In early2005, I came again for an end the occupation conference and networked againwith these wonderful people. In August 2005 we were shocked to seeHurricane Katrina devastate this coastal city displacing 160,000 includingsome of the friends we made. We all were angered by the government’s poor(non) response, a government that has just been bombing Iraq and supportingthe continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestine.On this trip, I was honored to share the stage with a number of othernatives addressing the issue of “Decolonization is climate justice”. We hadan informative discussion about the global connectivity of things likeStanding Rock (against the North Dakota Access Pipeline) and themilitarized US “police” forces (many trained by Israeli apartheid forces)attacking those peaceful protestors & poor black people (Black LivesMatter!). I was honored to start reading the book “ ‘All the Real IndiansDied Off’ and 20 other myths about native Americans” by RoxanneDunbar-Ortiz and my co-panelist Dina Gilio-Whitaker. We also talked aboutmental colonization, cultural appropriation (Hummus becoming “Israeli” andkhubiz becoming ‘Pita bread’). On a positive note, like in my last threestops on this tour (so far Denver, Albuquerque, Austin), I also networkedwith dozens of people here in New Orleans. The beauty of spirit, the energyof the young people, the kindness, and the truths being spoken give usenergy to organize.In June 2010 I wrote on dignity: Palestine brings the best in people whohave dignity and self-respect and brings the worst in others who havetribalism and greed coursing through their veins. There was more dignity inany minute of the short life by Rachel Corrie who stood in front of theBulldozer in Rafah and lost her life than is represented in lifetimes of bykings, prime ministers, and presidents. …If humanity survives the next 100years it will have been because of those who act with dignity/self-respectinstead of cowardice and self-interest. Lessons in dignity from those likeRachel, Basem and the freedom flotilla will be required study in the newpeople's history books, which I am sure will be very different than thosewe have in schools today. you are interested to meet in the next leg of the tour in the US, pleasego to you would like to learn more about the museum and garden which I am nowspeaking much about (and getting more and more volunteers for), please seethis short video: see photos and other news of our activities on a daily basis, visit uson facebook under Palestine Museum of Natural History.Thank you to all who continue to support us (including those who advised onairport harassment that I am still being subjected to). You mean a lot tome and all the other volunteers.Finally, our sincerest best wishes for Muslims around the world on EidAl-Adha. In this holiday, we remember especially our people in Gaza: twomillion under a medieval siege that resulted in 1.5 million living inabject poverty. May apathy dissipate and freedom rain. May we all get thecourage to care to work to save our planet and become better human beings.Stay HumanMazin QumsiyehA bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at homeProfessor and (volunteer) DirectorPalestine Museum of Natural HistoryPalestine Institute of Biodiversity and SustainabilityBethlehem UniversityOccupied Palestinehttp://qumsiyeh.orghttp://palestinenature.orgJoin me on facebook