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Our collective survival | Mazin Qumsiyeh

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This post first appeared on the website of Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor and Director, Palestine Museum of Natural History, Bethlehem University. http://palestinenature.org, http://qumsiyeh.org, http://popular-resistance.com.

Feb. 5, 2020

I wrote two books on the Palestinian struggle (and two more are ready to publish soon), highlighted its centrality to world peace, and I have been active in the struggle for human rights and the environment for nearly four decades. I have never been more worried about the future than I am now. Here I speak not just of the future of the 13 million Palestinians (7.5 million refugees or displaced) but the future of humanity as a whole. Let me just list eight things that make you pose and wonder:

  1. Trump will win with a landslide just like Boris Johnson and right-wing parties gain strength in all “Western” countries (I won’t go into the details of why this is the case but the below could even accelerate this trend as propaganda can be used in times of uncertainty to propel those who promise “security”).
  2. The US state department used to spend perhaps 40-50% of their time promoting Israel and they were instructed to double their efforts for Israel (inside information from a colleague in the state department). That means perhaps 80% of the time of US ambassadors and envois and CIA etc. efforts in the 204 countries and provinces will work to implement Zionist agendas. Hence the arm twisting and normalizations by Uganda, Sudan and many others. American national interest loses, Israeli colonialism wins.
  3. The Zionists control of significant wealth and resources including much of the world mainstream media like CNN (Wolf Blitzer used to be a Zionist hack before becoming a “reporter”) to Fox empire to German private TV and much more.
  4. The Palestinian body politic and our leadership have never been weaker or more incompetent than now. All key experts are sidelined and only those who pledge allegiance to Mahmoud Abbas are “in play”. Individuals do heroic efforts but considering #3 it is difficult to reach wide audiences except via social media and Zionists pay many trolls on those. Further the use of lobbies to get governments and institutions to ban criticism of Israel or Zionism as “anti-semitism” is mushrooming. This is especially insidious as campus activism for human rights is being silenced.
  5. The Zionists’ short-term thinking is merely how to steal more land and natural resources from the native Palestinians. Zionists already took over most of the land (now Palestinians are squeezed into 8% of their historic land and this is the few urbanized areas with <1% of the natural resources). But this is not sustainable morally, legally, environmentally, and logistically in so many ways (see my book on Sharing the Land of Canaan). Palestinians are not going anywhere until the whole humanity goes (see below).
  6. The impoverishment of the Palestinians (one of the richest in the Arab world before Zionism) will accelerate here. The West Bank cantons will become like the Gaza canton/ghetto/bantustan. But this is short term benefit for Israel. Poverty increases reproduction rate and since very few can leave while hundreds of thousands of Israelis are moving abroad (300,000 now in Germany) the Palestinian majority under Israeli rule will go from 52% now to 65% by 2048. Further many Israelis are either post-zionist or anti-zionist. Further, the environment is really going down the drain. Health stats are already revealing increase in diabetes, cancer, congenital birth defects etc.
  7. Climate change is accelerating and has an impact around the world. No need to elaborate on this as everyone has heard of the fires and destruction in the Amazon, Africa, and Australia.
  8. Little covered are the arms race around the world that accelerated the last 20 years. Israel’s arsenal of nuclear weapons on submarines and silos in the Negev, US upgrade of its nuclear arsenal with more usable (they call them low yield) nuclear weapons and so on. We are closer now to a far more devastating nuclear exchange than the Cuban missile crisis. Chemical and biological weapons are also developed and used. The countries like Israel and the US that spend a significant percentage of their GDP on armaments thought they could get their way. But physics tells us that for every action there is a reaction and countries like Iran, China, Russia and even Yemen and Iraq and Syria will not put-up forever with the hegemony of the US (now also Israeli occupied territory) over global affairs. We live in a very, very dangerous world.
  9. The 5 G technology is being rolled out without understanding the huge risks associated with it. Never-the-less this is also another conflict issue between nations. Whether the new coronavirus was a deliberate human concoction or not it came at the right time to thwart or at least delay china’s march to become the strongest economy on earth. But with 7.5 billion people on earth, it is only a matter of time before an unstoppable virus is unleashed.

I could expand this list significantly but you see what I and millions of people are worried about our collective future. When asked at two of my lectures in Switzerland about our chances of averting catastrophe, I said maybe 20%. 80% probability that we won’t make it is grim but it points to an urgent need for action. That is why we agreed with the extinction rebellion movement and we started a group Palestine Action for the Planet. Our next meeting is Saturday 22 February.

An article definitely worth (re)reading by the late prof. Edward Said on DIGNITY and the struggle for good causes:
https://lithub.com/edward-said-on-the-death-of-american-activist-rachel-corrie/

Finally a quote by Howard Zinn:
“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.” ~ Howard Zinn

This article was originally published in Popular Resistance: Our collective survival and is reprinted here with permission.

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