Monday, October 6

Mazin Qumsiyeh Writes On Humility

Note: I will be traveling to Annemasse (France), Geneva (Switzerland), and Oslo (Norway) from October 24 to November 4 to give talks and hold meetings about our peace, justice, and environmental work. Let me know if you are near those areas to arrange meetings etc.

In trying a new venture like building a natural history museum in Palestine (, one learns lessons in life. It is a true privilege to learn from mistakes, to rethink priorities, to measure impact of actions and reevaluate etc. It is truly humbling. Come to think of it, humility is an asset way undervalued. I was reflecting that part of our lack of peace in Western Asia is that there are many people who think they know “the truth” and they have a chip on their shoulders. Some are even willing to kill for this egotistical perception of reality. Peace can come faster if there is more humility.  Humility IMHO (in my humble opinion ;-) means respect. Our museum philosophy includes the goal of developing and increasing respect: a) for ourselves (self-empowerment), b) for our fellow human beings (regardless of background), and c) for all living creatures and our shared earth. Below are a few quotes about humility for discussion (again humility means not taking anything as absolute including these quotes):

“A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.” Albert Einstein

“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” Carl Sagan

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” Criss Jami

“These are the few ways we can practice humility: To speak as little as possible of one's self.
To mind one's own business. Not to want to manage other people's affairs. To avoid [negative?] curiosity. To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully. To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries. To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked. To be kind and gentle even under provocation. Never to stand on one's dignity. To choose always the hardest.”  Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living

“If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, "He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.” Epictetus

Mazin Qumsiyeh

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