[HumanRights] A new decade – Mazin Qumsiyeh


Dear friend


We entered 2020, a year that heralded an unlivable situation in Gaza
according to the UN and a new decade that many are predicting will
radically transform the world (either make it or break it on many fronts
from world peace to climate change). Locally a recent article in Arabic
summed up the previous decade. It covered things like the unfulfilled
expectations from the Obama administration which while trying to talk peace
supported Israel in money and protection at the UN to expand colonies in
the occupied territories. It covered the strengthening of Zionist support
to right wing parties around the world (US, UK, Brazil etc), gains of UN
recognition for state of Palestine (including joining UNESCO),inaction on
climate, growth of Zionist colonial settlements, Trump’s destructive moves
to accompdate Israeli colonialism, numerous attacks on Gaza population
(testing Israeli new weapons and killing>1000 civilians), settler attacks
on civilians (including bburning a whole family), UNSC 2334 resolution that
was miraculously not vetoed by the Obama administration (on applicability
of Geneva conventions), and the return marches from Gaza that started in
2018 and still ongoing and still faced by shoot-to-kill at peaceful
demonstrators. The year was capped by Trump accepting the Zionist Chutzpah
that anti-Zionism is same as anti-Semitism followed by (20 December) the
International Courth of Justice declaring there is ground to investigate
Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Dare we hope for a good new decade? In my view that only comes from making
right diagnosis and applying therapy starting with ourselves. In her 1987
book “When Society Becomes an Addict,” Anne Wilson Schaef brilliantly
articulated characteristics of addicted societies (which also inflict
addicted individuals whether to drugs or alcohol). They include things like
Chaos (opposite is structure/organization), lying and dishonesty, Denial of
reality, attack on and attempts at invalidation of others (not cooperation
and teamwork), ethical deterioration, Fear (as opposed to courage to take
bold decisions). The crisis orientation overwhelms the capacities of an
addictive system. Stress leaves most people in an addictive system
exhausted and helpless. Communication confusion is always present and empty
promises are always used to offer a false hope in addictive systems.
Healthy persons who are recovering from an addictive system are attacked
also. Simplistic dualisms offer a pretense of reality and control in
addictive systems e.g., you are a patriot or a traitor. I leave it to you
if you agree that US, Israeli, and even Palestinian societies are addicted.
In our case, I had analyzed our “addictive illness” in a recent chapter in
a book on post-colonialism in which I used the “mental colonization”
analysis. I articulated ways to get off of this which is to start with a
nucleus of positive individuals (not saheeja) and grow it methodically and
scientifically. It needs a lot of work (proactive not reactive) and effort
and self-sacrifice. The ten-step process for getting over addictions is to
start with acknowledgement and fully embracing the fact of our addictions.
In this case it means stop the charade of Oslo and challenge all the other
symptoms of our addiction. I believe this is the decade to be cured and get


Freedom is never given to oppressed people from outside. It must be
generated by resistance and via pressure primarily from inside (outside
help is welcome as with BDS just like in South Africa). Our motto at
palestinenature.org is respect and it is respect at three levels (respect
for ourselves, for others, for nature). That first level is most critical:
it is empowerment. So let us pull up our sleeves and get to work to make
this decade the decade of end of colonization, greed and racism and a
decade of clarity (20/20 vision ;-), peace, justice, equality AND saving
our planet from ourselves!


Stay Human and come visit us in Palestine


Mazin Qumsiyeh

A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home

Professor, Founder, and (volunteer) Director

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability

Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine



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