Optimism & new year resolutions from Bethlehem

Mazin Qumsiyeh


This is the last weekly message of 2018, a year with good and bad points
but we here in the birthplace of Jesus remain optimistic about the future.
I will not bore you by recapping the big geopolitical good points like the
beginning of the demise of the US/Zionist “Saudi” puppet regime or the
withdrawal of the ISIS main enabler and funder in Syria (the USA government
and its tails) or the growing realization that those who serve US and
Israeli colonial interests will be eventually abandoned. Neither will I
saddle you with the details of the negative things that happened
geopolitically such as the political gains of right-wing anti-human and
anti-environment politicians in places like Latin America and Europe or the
unilateral moves by Mahmoud Abbas (whose term has expired nine years ago)
to become a dictator in the West Bank thus facilitating the boldness of
colonial Jewish settlers demolishing homes and murdering civilians now
almost daily. So what can we say about 2018?

We can relay to you from my village (Beit Sahor, The Shepherds’ Field) a
march “for peace on earth and justice for the people” that had over 2000
participants more than half of them children. It was awe inspiring. We can
relay to you he fact that 3 million tourists came to Bethlehem (about 3000
came by our Palestine Museum of Natural History, www.palestinenature.org )
to glorify a prince of peace even as colonial settlers were spitting on
Christians, taking over church properties, and ethnically cleansing
Christians and Muslims from Jerusalem (which I am denied entry to like most
fellow Palestinians). We can tell you Santas get arrested here! We can
tell you that hundreds gathered on the 9th anniversary of the Kairos
document renewed a call increasingly being heard around the world for
boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Apartheid “Israel”. See

I can tell you that my second country (the USA) is run by war-mongering
“democrats” and “republicans” but both occupied by Zionism like we are here
in Palestine. But even there (the biggest purveyor of violence in the world
according to Martin Luther King Jr) there are also good signs. A
Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, people organizing, and
young Jews increasingly moving away from the cult of Zionism (see
https://mondoweiss.net/2018/11/nationalism-crabapple-intellectual/ ).

We can tell you that we got abundant rain so far and plants are growing
everywhere (including in our own botanical garden) and that our research
productivity has increased (26 publications in 2018!). We can tell you that
our team has grown to 18 employees at the museum (creating jobs while
serving the environment, people, and sustainability) plus many volunteers.
We can tell you that a Christmas spirit of giving is all around us. Even
nature is giving up its secrets (today alone we collected over 15 species
of mushrooms as we enjoyed nature!).

We can also say that a people movement for justice, for human rights, and
for the environment is growing around the world. We may not have political
power yet but there are some good signs this is coming. We should not wait
for it though: we need to work for it and we need in the meantime to also
reduce or carbon foot print, grow more vegetables, give more opportunities
to children to grow loving and nurturing other living beings. As the
Buddhists say: we have “joyful participation in the sorrows of this world”.
You can help grow this movement for sustainable future! Organize and give
of your time and money! To help those of us here in Palestine, please visit

“You give but little when you give of your possessions; it is when you give
of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things
you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow? And what is fear of
need but need itself.” Khalil Gibran – The Prophet 1923

My 2019 Resolutions
1-Stay positive and create positive focus amidst the difficulties and never
give-up and thus have “joyful participation in the sorrows of this word”.
2-Do things methodically (also scientifically) and work smart encouraging
others to do the same (efficiency) in a transition period to ensure
institutionalizing museum operations by June (aim for administrative
aspects decreasing by half in the second half of year). (& be careful not
to be taken advantage of).
3- Research and Writing: Minimum one research manuscript (MS) per month (my
responsibility) and another where I am coauthor/helper (thus 24 MS). Also
publish two books. (aim to increase time allocated to those tasks by 40%)
4- Fundraising: Increase substancially (40%) next four months and aim for a
minimum one project proposal submitted AND one solicitation from wealth
individuals or companies every month.
5-Take care of family and friends and work more with educating youth
(increase time allocation to those by 40%)
7- Finish infrastructure and public opening of our botanical garden (also
community garden, medicinal and herbal plants, children garden and
agricultural experimental station).
8- Fundraising for the green building for the museum and institute (costing
about $1.5 million of which we have received kind donation of $400,000)
9- Have Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of this world and give more of

To help please visit www.palestinenature.org

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


facebook pages
Personal: https://www.facebook.com/mazin.qumsiyeh.9
Museum: https://www.facebook.com/Palestine-Museum-of-Natural-History-1454309858180882/