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Sunday, March 22

Mothers' Day
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Today in Palestine and many parts of the world is traditionally
mothers' day on the first day of Spring. The colorful carpets of
flowers in the fields are the gift of Palestine to the mothers. My own
mother is emblematic of Palestinian mothers. She is 82 years old and
she lost her good friend in Deir Yassin massacre during the ethnic
cleansing that marked the beginning of our Nakba (catastrophe). Her
own mother is from Nazareth. She suffered a lot but never said so and
always kept a positive spirit and love of people and life. From her I
learned to be who I am. To her I owe not just my biological being but
my psychology and all that I accomplished and hope to accomplish. To
my wife (mother of our son) and my three sisters (two mothers, one
grandmother) and to all the mothers out there and all the ladies
whether biological mothers or mothers of others by action and example:
utmost love and respect.

Even though our Palestine Museum of Natural History and its Institute
of Biodiversity and Sustainability did not officially open to the
public yet, we do get visitors regularly (by arrangement). This past
week we got a school from Nablus, farmers and Bedouins from the Jordan
Valley, a women group from Nahhalin, and international visitors. I
also also spoke to a large group of students from Harvard University.
Our dedicated volunteers did field work in places like Beit Qad in
Jenin district and Wadi Qana and Tulkarem. Today we also had a nice
lecture by Bassem Ra'ad at Bethlehem University and I had the honor of
being one of the respondents. He is the author of the highly
acclaimed book "Hidden Histories" (see review here
http://electronicintifada.net/content/book-review-excavating-palestines-hidden-histories/3604
). We discussed how factual history is being suppressed in favor of a
zionist narrative that expropriated Palestinian Canaanitic history as
it had expropriated our land, our natural resources, our religious
sites, and even our food. Ra'ad's recommendation is to do our own
detailed historical research which we in the museum are doing. We are
also learning for the sake of learning. At the end of this month that
is dedicated to the environment, we Palestinians also have "Land Day"
(started 1976) in which we reaffirm our connections to the land as
native people and rejection of colonial activities. We will have
events at the Museum in Bethlehem both on 30 March and 31 March
(volunteerism, educational programs including a science cafe on March
31 about geology and paleontology). We could use volunteers in all
areas from social media to internet to researching material (in
history, languages, nature etc) to field work, to preparing animal and
plant specimens, to photography, to permaculture, to fundraising etc.
Our many volunteers all report satisfying and productive and fun
experiences. Send us an email if interested to join us at
info@palestinenature.org and we can give you detail and also you can
come by any day to the museum (open daily 7 days a week from 9 - 6 but
call to arrange time at (02) 2773553 )

Many of us are tired of governments and are looking to build
sustainable communities. Governments and their intelligence services
and their lack of respect for human rights are wreaking havoc and
promoting fundamentalism around the world (especially here in Western
Asia). The silence of the US-backed government of Afghanistan and not
punishing those who lynched a woman for burning the Quran. The public
executions and torture by the IS-backed government of "Saudi Arabia".
The silence of US media on these and the atrocities of US-backed
apartheid regime here. Most of us Palestinians who follow Israeli
politics were relieved Netanyahu gets to be Prime minister again. Why?
See this by Ali Abunimah on "Why I’m relieved Netanyahu won" (must
read analysis) http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-im-relieved-netanyahu-won
Yonatan Mendel wrote in the London Review of Books before the
election reflective on real issues and is likewise prophetic. I said
the same thing before every election: we Palestinians prefer Netanyahu
and company over Livni, Peres, Rabin and the like. The oxymoronic
"left Zionists" sort of like "left Nazi" do more damage to native
rights but with a sheep cloak (more like a fig leaf). The "right" has
no such cloak and will move further right as Israel did at every
election. Gideon Levy writing in Haaretz wonders if Israel and
Netanyahu (a lying prime minister whose only accomplishment is killing
Palestinians) actually deserve each other! Now it is up to the
international community to decide how much of apartheid racism will it
tolerate before deciding to give accountability. Or will they wait for
genocide? anyway here are three analysis
Yonatan Mendel http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n06/yonatan-mendel/diary
Gideon Levy http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.647555

This video from the Israeli media is beginning to go viral (Netanyahu
and the USA)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Txrcpl49GQ&t=39

(thoughtful) Reflections By An Arab Jew by Ella Habiba Shohat
“War, however, is the friend of binarisms, leaving little place for
complex identities…”
http://www.bintjbeil.com/E/occupation/arab_jew.html

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Bethlehem University
http://palestinenature.org
http://qumsiyeh.org
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