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[HumanRights] Writers and Readers Festival and more

Mazin Qumsiyeh

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, Indonesia was a wonderful
opportunity to meet so many great people. Just a few examples: Ati Nurbaiti
(Indonesian journalist wo covered the violence in Aceh), Avi Sirlin
(Canadian who wrote about Alfred Russel Wallace), Christina Lamb (British
bestselling author and leading foreign correspondent), Dorothy Tse (Hong
Kong fiction writer), Eka Kuniawan (young brilliant Indonesian author of
eight books), Hyeonseo Lee (escaping miraculously from North Korea and
author of her memoir “The Girl with Seven Names”), Janet DeNeefe (Founder
of the festival and author),Joseph Woods (Irish Poet and writer), Mohsen
Hamid (award winning Pakistani writer), Mpho Tutu (ordained minister,
author, leader, and daughter of Desmond Tutu), William Finnigan (USA author
and Journalist), among many others.  I was the only Palestinian (perhaps
only Arab) in the festival. In my intervention on Thursday, I talked about
colonial legacy in Western Asia (seeds sown 100 years ago by British and
French and materializing today in places like Syria and Palestine). The
next day with a panel called “Passport to…” we talked about refugees and
limitations on movement etc. On Saturday, the focus was on Palestine for
one hour with questions to me from British writer and journalist living in
Singapore  Michael Vatikiotis). The only problem in the festival was
censoring sessions dealing with the massacres committed by the US backed
dictator Suharto (Zionist Henry Kissinger’s man) with hundreds of thousands
killed between 1965 and 1968 and the massacres in Indonesian occupied East
Timor (supported by Australia) from 1975 to 1999 (later East Timor gained
independence). This makes me think of why many states do not want to face
their history honestly: Israel refuses to acknowledge its ethnic cleansing
and massacres of native Palestinians, US having a federally funded
holocaust memorial museum but no similar museum for the genocide of natives
and of African slaves, Holland and Britain and other European nations not
recognizing their legacies etc.  But anyway, the Indonesian people we met
(Hindu, Muslim, other) were all very nice and extremely hospitable and Bali
is simply beautiful tropical paradise. I am back in Palestine tired but
having learned so much from fellow writers and readers and we immediately
engaged by hosting a meeting for some key activists in popular resistance
(still ongoing workshops through Saturday). But there are also students to
teach, museum work to do, olives to pick (once the rains stop), manuscripts
to write, visitors to host, colleagues to visit, proposals to finish…etc.

On various occasions in life, I am reminded of the Letter from Birmingham
Jail 16 April 1963 by Martin Luther King Jr [This is also where he quibbed:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere]: “I must make two
honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must
confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with
the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that
the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the
White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate,
who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative
peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the
presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you
seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who
paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s
freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises
the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding
from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding
from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than
outright rejection.”

Action: Around the world at 6 PM Palestine time Saturday 7 November, people
in Palestine and abroad will sing and play the Palestinian National anthem
to remind the world that a people still yearns for return, freedom, and
self-determination  after 7 decades of colonialism.

“Palestine is not a local issue, it is a global issue with global

ramifications” ProMosaik e.V. interviews Mazin Qumsiyeh


Five interesting videos that were heavily circulated on social mesdia that
Israel does not want the world to see. For those who do not read Arabic,
the first video is of soldiers lynching a shop worker and then arresting
him, soldier chases and “captures” a child, Israelis dressed as
Palestinians join a demonstration then attack and point blank shoot youth,
4. Kidnapping a child brutally from a shop and hitting owner, 5. Settlers
in Hebron attack Palestinian homes


Israeli soldiers tell Palestinians: ‘We will gas you until you die’


[Apartheid occupation soldiers and settlers also continued shooting unarmed
Palestinians for sport and in many cases caught on video or photos placing
knives next to the Palestinian bodies to justify the murders]

Mahmoud Abbas says he does not want “right of return for 6 million
Palestinian refugees but only a solution for them”. He says he is not going
to cancel the surrender agreement of Oslo and he says other things to
reassure racists. The most interesting in this Jerusalem Post article is
the racist comments below it which should (but never will) shock
Palestinians who try to please colonial racist Zionists with the simple
terrifying truth: you can never give up enough of your basic human rights
to please racists – only if we Palestinians completely disappear will
Zionists be satisfied with us


Israel’s attack on USA: Jerusalem Post confirms Israel knew USS Liberty was


Hundreds of Anthropologists boycott Israel and encourage more


A condemnation of the assassination of Sa’d Al Atrash, and an urgent call
for international protection: We, the Palestinian General Union of Persons
with Disabilities GUPWD) and Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation
(BASR), strongly condemn the assassination of Sa’d Al Atrash, who was shot
by the Israeli military forces and left to bleed to death in Hebron on
Monday the 26th of October 2015, according to local news reports. Sa’d – a
beneficiary of BASR’s Economic Empowerment Program – was a 19 year-old man
with Epilepsy / psychosocial disability. He has been a member of the Hebron
branch of GUPWD who is keen on defending the rights of his fellow
Palestinians with disabilities. He was actively involved in several
advocacy initiatives of the Hebron branch of GUPWD to promote the right of
persons with disabilities to work, to access information and public
transportation. In this struggle, Sa’d was completely committed, but his
efforts to advocate a better quality of life for marginalized persons with
disabilities were mercilessly cut short by a bullet fired by an Israeli
soldier for the false claim of attempting to stab him. According to
eyewitnesses, Sa’d was called by the Israeli soldiers while passing by; and
as he stopped, he was surrounded by 4 soldiers who shot him dead with
several bullets. Sa’d had great ambition to achieve. During the career
counseling phase, BASR economic empowerment team were immediately taken by
the passion and enthusiasm shown by Sa’d towards his own personal and
professional development and by his desire to take ownership of his future.
As a result, Sa’d was registered at a vocational training center in Hebron,
where he began to study for a diploma in electrical maintenance. He was so
delighted to start this new chapter in his life, and began the program in
September with complete commitment. A week before his martyrdom, Sa’d
discussed his future plans at length with BASR team. Sa’d was not the first
Palestinian with a disability to have been targeted by Israel. The ongoing
occupation of Palestine has resulted in numerous deaths among Palestinians
with disabilities, but also in countless injuries, arrests and traumas.
Since the beginning of October, 1003 Palestinians have been arrested, 50%
of whom are children, as reported by the Palestinian Commission of
Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs. Moreover, the Palestinian MoH reported
70 ruthlessly shot dead including 14 children, and more than 7200 injured.
The assassination of Sa’d, therefore, represents not just a grave personal
tragedy for his family and friends, but starkly demonstrates the constant
threat posed by Israel’s occupation forces and Palestinian General Union of
People with Disability Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation settlers
to Palestinian civilians, particularly those with disabilities. This threat
comes from Israel’s regular and unlawful use of lethal force against
Palestinian youth – which takes place against a backdrop of a range of
Israeli-perpetrated human rights violations inflicted upon Palestinians in
general – as well as the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation on
the ability of Palestinian medical authorities to provide emergency
services to those who need them. Accordingly, we wish not merely to express
our deep concern at Sa’d’s assassination, but to highlight that this
assassination constitutes a flagrant violation of an individual’s right to
life as enshrined under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which
Israel is a signatory. Israel, as highlighted in recent reports from a wide
range of human rights organizations, is demonstrably unable or unwilling to
uphold its protective duties as an occupying power towards the Palestinian
populace, as demanded under international law. We therefore call for an
urgent response from all relevant actors, including the provision of
international protection to the Palestinian people, particularly those with
disabilities. We sincerely hope that this wave of violence would be put to
an end soon and that peace would prevail in the Holy Land.

Come visit us in Palestine

In the meantime, Stay Human

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Professor and Director

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Bethlehem University

Occupied Palestine



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