Gratitude blog available here where you can leave comments
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming
gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust
I am so grateful for all that is happening in resistance to the incredible
odds and repression practiced by the elites in power. While some may get
activism or compassion “fatigue” , there are literally millions of people
deciding to leave their apathy behind and put their hands with other people
to work. Our tiny little small part of the world (Palestine now an
apartheid sate called a “Jewish state”) has become a major center of global
activism. This centrality can be due to many factors:
1.Religious centrality to three main religions, one of which was hijacked
for political purposes locally in the past (Christianity –> Crusaderism),
the other hijacked in the past 150 years and is still strongly hijacked
(Judaism –>Zionism) and the other more recently and in nearby areas
beginning to be hijacked (Islam –> Isis and Wahhabism).
2. Nowhere else on earth is Western government hypocrisy more evident than
in Palestine. While the western leaders speak of democracy and human
rights, they support an apartheid racist “Jewish state” that engaged and
engages in racism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing
(so far 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people).
Thus, this is the Achilles heel of Western propaganda.
3. The 12 million Palestinians in the world, most refugees and others
squeezed into bantustans have been remarkably peaceful and tolerant and had
a long history of popular resistance for the past 130 years that provided a
stellar example to the world (see my 2012 book “Popular Resistance in
Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment”).
4. Israeli citizens and the global community are increasingly joining hands
with us to demand justice as the only road to peace.
5. More and more people realize that peace in the “Middle East” (Western
Asia) and around the world is dependent on peace for Palestine. Zionism
with its (sometimes dominant, sometimes subservient) twin US imperialism
are and have been most destructive forces in causing global conflict.
But what really gives us optimism daily are the people we interact with.
Students at the universities who see the importance of knowledge (power)
and come to school with enthusiasm even in the face of suppression of their
movement. Farmers that work hard in their fields even as land and water are
being taken from them by the occupiers. Unarmed young demonstrators showing
bravery in challenging the heavily armed Israeli forces (who occasionally
murder them). Thousands of political prisoners and “administrative
detainees” who resist the prisoners (one on hunger strike is close to
death). Activists who sometimes sacrifice comforts to be with us.
Organizers of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities around the
world who refuse to be silenced by illegal measures their governments try
to impose on them to suppress free speech. Volunteers at our activities
from refugee camp youth centers like Al-Rowwad to our Institute of
Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://www.palestinenature.org/about-us/ ).
Sometimes small actions make us retain our sanity and gives joy and meaning
to our lives. Just this past week:
– A small village of Izbet al-Tabib managed to gather 300 demonstrators
protesting the illegal confiscation of land and resources to serve settlers.
-We saved a cattle egret (bird with long legs and beak from the heron
group) which had been shot and with a macerated wing. We did an operation
that saved its life (unfortunately the wing had to be amputated).
-We released a fox that was drowning in a water treatment pool in the
Bethlehem garbage dump site.
– My tourism class did an exercise to help in a local tourism promotion
-We noted several species of butterflies in our botanic garden already and
the flowers of rare orchids and even the Star of Bethlehem
-We had our first class in biodiversity for the new master program in
environmental biology at Birzeit University.
-We received dozens of visitors to our facilities and added to our very
large network of friends (now tens of thousands)
-We submitted two small grant proposals (we hope to start to do major
fundraising soon for our museum, botanical garden, and institute of
biodiversity and sustainability)
-Our aquaponic system is doing great and we expect our first harvest next
– We said goodbye to some volunteers and we welcomed others who helped us
build this institution.
We expect to receive more volunteers next week including a professor from
Jordan and an aquaponics researcher from Switzerland and at least 10
students from Bethlehem University doing their community service. We are so
grateful for all the above and we welcome volunteers and supporters with
all backgrounds and skills. We are guided by love and respect (to
ourselves, to others, then to nature). We are strengthened amid all the
suffering (here in Gaza, in Syria, in Yemen etc) by human connections and
by caring for each other.
Israeli soldiers beat detained Palestinian teenaged boys
Palestinian Teacher Among World’s Top 10
Reconstruction Of Gaza: Zero Buildings, Massive Profit
Should Jews Have To Pay Reparations for Slavery? Richard Kreitner
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have
roses.” Alphonse Karr
Professor and (Volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
So I just found out that NJ is cutting off my food stamps because I’m considered able-bodied. Food stamps has literally been the only thing feeding my family right now and the only way for me to continue getting food stamps is if I go to a 20 hour a week work program. I tried to go to the program and had to make an appointment for orientation months ago and they were so mean and dismissive of me. They wanted me to miss my doctor appointment to go to their orientation and I told them I couldn’t miss it. I was sick, I needed to see a doctor. So they wouldn’t schedule me for another day and that was that.
I can get out of the requirement if I’m caring for someone in my family, which I am, my mother who has been unwell. But why is she unwell, because without warning her health insurance was terminated because she was deemed to make too much money. My mom makes $800 a month from alimony payments. That’s it! How is that too much money? Because she doesn’t have health insurance, she can’t afford her meds and hence has not been the greatest lately. The only way to prove that I’m caring for my mother is if she gets evaluated by a doctor and deemed disabled. Again, something we cannot afford. And if she never had her insurance terminated to begin with, she’d have her meds and she wouldn’t need someone to look after her. It’s a flawed system and I’m so embarrassed and sad and scared. I don’t know how to feed my family.
I’ve been trying to get a job for a year and a half now with no luck. I have a BA and two MAs. I’m clearly educated and should be capable of getting a job but no one wants to give me a chance despite my 10 years of experience. I really don’t know what to do. I really hate to ask, but I need help. I haven’t paid my credit cards off, we’re charging everything on credit and I’ve reached my credit limit. We’re not using the heat even though it’s so cold, bc we can’t afford to make the payment. I don’t have a cell phone line because we can’t afford it. How is my family going to eat? What am I supposed to do? Like we can’t even afford to pay rent this month. Literally, I have no idea what to do or how to keep us from being hungry and homeless. And I could kick myself for ending up in this situation.
I keep trying to crawl us out of this hole, but I keep failing.
This is so embarrassing, but I need help and I don’t know where to turn. I’m so embarrassed to ask and hate myself for getting to this point. If you could spare anything, even just $1, I would appreciate it so much. https://www.paypal.me/hebavsreason I swear, I’ll never forget your generosity and 100% promise to pay it forward. I’m just so scared and so unsure of how to make ends meet. I’m so embarrassed and I’m so sorry for asking. Maybe you could pass this around, reblog it. Any help would be so important and I’d be so thankful.
Are you a Daily Mail reader? I won’t lie, I usually read the Daily Mail for a laugh. Some of these stories they come up with… they’re just interesting and chuckle-worthy to say the least. I do, however, know that I should never read an article concerning a serious matter on the Daily Mail website. But alas, I torture myself every time and even worse, I always scroll down to the comments section to read the vile things people feel so confidently typing, but rarely say in person.
Some of the worst things I’ve read include:
Comments about how “Real” refugees shouldn’t have phones- Many refugees are fleeing war. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have possessions. Cell phones are no longer a first world standard. Get over it because I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of refugees don’t have these fancy contracts and money to spend speaking hours on the phone.
Comments about how “real” refugees shouldn’t be allowed to wear makeup- First of all, I saw the video this ignoramus was commenting on and the woman did not have makeup up. She was and is naturally gorgeous. Perfect contours, skin and thick eyebrows. She’s prettier than all of us put together. That comment was pure jealousy. Plus, considering everything these refugees have been through, so what if she gets to put on a tiny bit of makeup. She deserves to feel beautiful and like her normal self after the torment of fleeing her country and home.
Comments about how refugees are only in it for the benefits- You know what benefit they really want. The benefit of life!!! I can’t entertain that nonsense.
Comments about how Syrians should fight for their country- This is the silliest comment of all. Syrians have been fighting for their country for years. They’re not only fighting against ISIS, you know. They’re fighting against the Assad regime and the US and Russia and the whole list of countries that have been striking Syria. What weapons do these innocent civilians have that they can use against a whole world? The numbers don’t add up. The worst part is so many refugees are children. Do we really expect children to fight? Because if we allowed that the Daily Mail commenters would comment about how child soldiers are wrong.
Comments about how refugees desire to continue their education makes them economic migrants and not refugees- You realize that these people have had their entire lives come to a complete halt. They’ve literally been sitting around starving and waiting to die. A whole generation of young Syrians is growing up illiterate and unable to do basic math or know much about anything other than war. These refugees aren’t coming over just so they can take advantage of university education. No, if they could have stayed in Syria and continued their education they would have. But there are no teachers left in schools in Syria because there are no schools left. The schools that are left get used as shelters and makeshift community centers.
Comments about how “we” should bomb “them all”- That is an incitement of terror and makes you complicit in murder. Just putting that out there, you horrible human being. I have no problem with seeing ISIS and Assad terrorist thugs get blasted off this earth, however the legal thing to do would be to capture them and try them in a court of international law, in which they would be found guilty and live a long and tortuous life in maximum security prisons. But there is nothing casual about bombing an entire city, killing innocent civilians and calling them casualties.
Comments about how everyone in Raqaa is an ISIS terrorist and that if they weren’t they would have left- Yes, Raqaa is an ISIS headquarter. Yes, ISIS controls the city, but is everyone there a supporter of ISIS, no? But to openly oppose it would leave you dead or tortured. Why don’t people leave? They don’t have the money. Sure smugglers could get you out, but where would you go? The smugglers will take all your money, risk your life and leave you penniless on a raft in the Mediterranean or in the desert on the way to a desolate refugee camp or in some other destroyed part of Syria.
Comments judging refugees for being separated from their families- Seriously? Is this the Olympic category for most vile comment made? Because if it is, you win. People get separated from their families in all sorts of ways that most people would find inconceivable. But it happens all the time. Talk to anyone whose family has been through a war or some sort of catastrophe: I can guarantee you that a majority of people will tell you they have at least one family member that ended up alone or separated from the rest.
Comments about how refugees have “such nice tents”- This dude commented on how her tent was so nice that she couldn’t possibly be a “real” refugee and that she probably has all this money stashed away. How deep in the dirt is your head exactly? Much of this type of supplies has been provided by aid workers, charity organizations and normal human people with hearts that donated much needed goods, such as tents. Do you want to live on a tent on a street corner when it’s raining and cold? No, especially since winter is nearing. You’re just a horrible person for thinking this
Comments stating the run of the mill stereotypes- The long list of racial slurs, insults, and stereotypes that I won’t humor by listing. You know the type orientalist rubbish that is slanderous, libel, disgusting and horrible filth, but Facebook won’t take it down because they’re too worked up taking pictures down of women’s bodies.
My conclusions: Firstly, humans are awful. I don’t know how people can be awful. I doubt most of these hateful commenters could handle day in the life of a refugee. If you really think “we don’t owe them anything,” then you clearly have no idea how complicit our governments are in making Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the world, the situation that they are in today.
Secondly, we haven’t learned from history one bit. These comments– ugh just look at some of the things people said during WWII about refugees. Please and compare those comments to now.
And lastly, I can’t be the only one who sees comparison in 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq with the Paris Attacks and the subsequent bombing of Raqaa.
Civilians, particularly children are innocent and pay the highest toll in wartime situations. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know what the answers to terrorism, racism, discrimination and bigotry are. Offhand I would say education, but we all know the world isn’t that simple.
All I want is for people to think for 30 seconds before they type these horrible comments. I pray your ignorant minds become enlightened with knowledge, wisdom and empathy.