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Thursday, August 6

Mazin Qumsiyeh ON Global climate
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The story that captured media attention around the world especially in western countries was the killing of “Cecil” the Lion by a western Dentist. Locally, the story most making the news was the killing of a local hyena by ignorant superstitious locals . As biologists and conservationists here working to protect our fauna and flora, we are ofcourse very angry about these senseless killings.  But we are also angry that these are the same media outlets that are ignoring a global threat that is killing millions (perhaps billions) of animals: global climate change. Here in Palestine under Israeli colonial occupation temperatures are 5-7 degrees above their norms. Even in our regular excursions to the fields we find many dead animals (in one instance three newly dead tortoises and two birds in one small field). The same media is also ignoring the senseless killings by colonial Israeli settlers and soldiers of Palestinian children and youth. Just in the past 18 months, over 2600 Palestinians (one third of them children some burned alive).  And the world still ignores Israel’s stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction including hundreds of nuclear weapons. The US congress remains under Israeli occupation and many congressmen will come here to visit the apartheid regime and declare allegiance to Israel. Zionists continue to kidnap and murder Palestinians with impunity but the indirect killing they inflict on nearby populations is even more devastating. Over one million Iraqis were killed and hundreds of thousands of Syrians. And Egypt on behest of Zionists is ethnically cleansing the Sinai of its population.  The fake war on terrorism like previously the fake war on communism and war on poverty etc were intended to hide the real reason for wars and conflict: greed and distractions from this greed via conflicts. Conflicts are pushed by arms merchants and other profiteers and guided by racist notions and egotistical maniacs who think they can shape the world. And politicians continue to lie to their own people. Even Palestinian politicians like Mr. Mahmoud Abbas regularly lie in public pronouncements (for example on taking the information about the child burning to international tribunals). But always we need to be reminded of all the great and good work being done to challenge the system (lighting candles instead of cursing the darkness).  In fact more and more people are speaking out and even in positions of power are beginning to realize that the trend and the status quo are dangerous even for their own children.

Here are just some things that people are doing and that you can do (this is now updated and with more general applicability not just to the issue of Palestine). 

We visited Bardala on the northeastern tip of the West Bank and in the Jordan valley. It was an enlightening trip as we met with the village council and some other farmers. The Jordan valley had 350,000 Palestinians in 1967 and now only 70,000. Israeli colonial racists took control (theft) of 94% of the land of the valley and the vast majority of the water resources. Bardala has to actually now buy water from the Israeli company Mekorot and then it is not enough. We witnessed wide scale burning in the Jordan valley (not clear how the fires got started but it could be Israeli settlers trying to deprive the Bedouins of grazing areas). But it is also related to global climate change (see fires in California as a result of drought etc).  The Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability ( discussed with the locals ideas of sustainability and protection of biodiversity. We took two other field trips and we worked on our botanical garden (even though it is very hot here). 

I finished writing a solicited a review of one book and a forward to another book. We had more visitors/visiting delegations (Scotland, USA, France, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and locals including a local boys scout group). Life goes on in its ups and downs, births and deaths, but we try to have “joyful participation in the sorrows of this world”. Now it is grape season here and we harvested much from our gardens. We also had our first harvest of honey (about 25 kilogram) and will package it soon for gifts to our museum donors who visit us. We are ;glad that our bees are productive and happy as our mini-reserve (a few acres of botanical garden and small ecosystem). Please do visit:
And please join our facebook page where we post pictures of our daily activities. It is at Palestine Museum of Natural History.

I will be giving a talk at Diyar's Palestine Diaspora Conference August 10-13 in Bethlehem

Head to Head - Have Palestinian leaders failed their people?

Gaza’s ‘Birthplace of saints and death-yard of angels’

Remembering our friend Vittorio Arrigoni who used to end his emails with "Stay human"

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine

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