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Jun-08-2012 13:29printcomments

Palestine and Optimism

We remain optimistic because our children and grandchildren are optimistic and we should not try to dissuade them from optimism or from acting to improve their lives. As we free our minds of dark thoughts, we can see the light.

Palestine - Courtesy: 'Prospect Journal' -UCSD

(BETHLEHEM) - Overall life is good and people are good. Some people do foolish things once in a while: oppress, kill, steal land, destroy trees etc. But life continues and people survive, adapt, and struggle to get to a better place. Here in Palestine, the apricots (Mishmish) are in season and they are as sweet as can be.

Our village is known for Faqous (of the cucumber family) which is now also in season. While Israeli colonizers took most of the agricultural land around the area, we still have some Sahouri Faqous and we still struggle to reclaim our rights. And we are now beginning to get the first ripe figs (called Teen Dafour).

The young olives and grapes are still green and growing. Like those grape vines that shed their leaves always come back with young leaves and then bear fruits.

So I am thrilled that thousands of our students are graduating this month. The wedding season is on and my sister, a nurse at a maternity hospital in Bethlehem, relays how they are busier than ever. Community gatherings always have more children than adults (60% of us Palestinians are children). Nothing pleases my sight more than young children walking down ancient streets holding hands like their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

5 and 6 year old friends with their arms on each other's shoulders whispering in each other's ears through the narrow alleys of the refugee camp of Aida. Kids are sharing fruits and balloons in the nativity square. Young girls giggling as they go home from the "Shepherds' field school". They all look like little angels on earth even in the cantons/ghettos of Israeli apartheid.

Those of us who are adults may sometime lose the optimism and energy of childhood. We need to be reminded and retain our optimism. Adults sometimes try to remind us with a bit of philosophical reflections. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated: "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience.

And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice." Or our departed friend Howard Zinn who once wrote: "To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." (You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A personal history of our times, p. 208.)

But we remain optimistic because we are human beings who believe in coexistence, equality, peace, and freedom. Pessimists are those who believe in tribalism, racism, conflict, and the need for military might. In the long run, we are more numerous than they are and we need to help them see the truth and join us.

We remain optimistic because our children and grandchildren are optimistic and we should not try to dissuade them from optimism or from acting to improve their lives. As we free our minds of dark thoughts, we can see the light.

Where commemoration meets celebration (on optimism and pessimism)

Images of a tour in Palestine 100 years ago

Video in English and French: Arabs of Jerusalem Les arabes de Jérusalem, d'Israël et de Cisjordanie

US Embassy to American in trouble in Israel: ‘You’re not Jewish? Then we can’t do anything to help you’

Male Israeli soldiers who speak out

How Zionized is the US?

    US Secretary of "Homeland Security" Defends Controversial Grant Program...

    "A Forward report found that the program for DHS security grants for not-for-profit organizations was tailored to the Jewish community and that almost three-quarters of its funds went to Jewish institutions.

…On another topic, Napolitano said that the DHS has decided to allow Israeli citizens to enter the United States via a special fast-track program despite Israel’s decision not to grant Americans reciprocal consideration, as the United States usually requires. …Napolitano also pointedly declined to criticize New York City’s controversial program of surveillance of Muslim organizations and individuals with no known or suspected ties to terrorism."

And on May 9, 2012 House passed H.R. 4133 Unites States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012,

Genocide and/or genocidal acts clearly characterize Israel's attempts to
obliterate in part or in whole a whole group of people (the Palestinians).

Palestinians should bring Israel and Israeli leaders to justice. Read More from International Law Expert Francis Boyle and this interesting debate between a Zionist tribalist and Prof. Martin Shaw for more on genocide, visit

A new direction for the Palestinian People (still a concise and good article)

The Zionist Story
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home


Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD (formerly of Yale and Duke universities) teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine and chairs the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. Professor Qumsiyeh has authored over 110 scientific papers in areas of mammalogy, biology, and medicine including mammalian biology and evolution, clinical genetics, and cancer research. He has published over 100 letters to the editor and 30 op-ed pieces in International, national, regional and local papers on issues ranging from politics to environmental issues. His appearances in national media include the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He is the founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-President of the Middle East Genetics Association, and Prof. Qumsiyeh won the Jallow activism award from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. Those are just a small list, visit Mazin Qumsiyeh's amazing and informative Website to learn more:, and also

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