Monday, December 5

Actions in Building Part 2

The Christmas season is here in Bethlehem and the “Holy Land”. Already the Christmas tree in Bethlehem Nativity square is lit. It is
beautiful to see people of all faiths here in occupied Palestine share
joys and share sadness (ie. share life). We already attended two
concerts/choirs (one led by Germans, the other by Swedes). It is most inspiring to see Muslims and Jews in the Christmas spirit here. Like all holidays it becomes part of our native Palestinian culture as different faith communities join hands and sing together and celebrate together. Friends of ours lost their son and hundreds of all faiths came to pay respect on the day of burial Friday (it was
heart-wrenching to watch this beautiful family mourn this special
child). Sunday we attended services for six who died earlier (40 day or 6 month rituals) which included my Aunt Amal and my uncle Sami. We miss them all.

We are in the midst of an environmental conference (networking with really good people) and thinking out loud how we make a difference. We finally had rains here in good quantity and even though we are cold, we are happy. We try to live our life despite the horrors of the occupation and the incitement against us. We even had rainbows and great food. We are still lucky to be alive and in good health.

Life carries on and forces us to think of what legacy we leave in it.
Will we be destructive or productive? How much time do we spend to challenge destructive forces and how much to build (I try to balance but it is very hard). For me the most rewarding is seeing positive change in eyes of children coming to our museum and botanical garden.
To see it in the increased critical thinking and questioning by my
students at the three colleges/universities I teach at (Bethlehem,
Birzeit, Dar Al-Kalima). As the semester closes soon, I can’t help but marvel at where they were at the beginning of the semester and where they are now (well at least the majority of them ;-). I could not help but think of the lyrics of Loius Armstrong’s song:
"What A Wonderful World" I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom, for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue, And clouds of white.
The bright blessed day, The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow, So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces, Of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands. Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying, "I love you".

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow,
They'll learn much more, Than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.
Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

The Best Magazine in Palestine: This Week in Palestine will now be available by subscription. Please visit this link to see the
latest/December issue (still free for now and a wonderful issue on
celebrations/holidays) and ALSO to subscribe:

Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert

And if you have not seen our holiday message of hope and call to
action, please visit

Stay human and come visit us in occupied Palestine

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine

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