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Naksa in SwedenDr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com
Standing at the anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War...
(STOCKHOLM) - I get up too early for my talk about popular resistance in Palestine. I could not sleep well. I kept thinking about the upcoming demonstrations Today (Sunday) with family and friends participating in Naksa day events (anniversary of the illegal Israeli occupation in 1967). How many will be killed and how many will be injured. Only later in the day will I find that out (18 murdered, many injured, several friends arrested).
But for this Sunday, I am sadly not with them. I am here at 7 AM walking around a lake, thinking and anticipating and then lecturing to 100+ Swedish activists. Intricate pattern of the ripples on the surface of the water in the early morning light contrast with the Tsunami of thoughts running through my mind. The green carpeted forest is punctuated occasionally by hues of purple and yellow flowers.
But my mind has images of walls, barbed wires, uniforms of border police, young faces gathering before the demonstration in anticipation of tear gas, rubber coated bullets, and dum-dum bullets. Some 20 ducklings in two groups are faithfully following their parents in an orderly march on the surface of the lake. But it is the march of young students 6-20 year-olds haphazard and zigzagged down the hill in Al-Walaja that I am thinking of.
I close my eyes to take in the sounds. Gentle sounds of water bobbing on a stone near me. Silence outside but my mind recalls the deafening thuds of stun grenades, the volleys of tear gas canisters, loud piercing noise of the Israeli jeeps. A bird chirps on a pine tree calling for love then falls silent. My brain replays conversations with Israeli apartheid soldiers and with Palestinians anxious for their abducted loved ones.
A bumble bee lands and takes off near me; the buzz of its wings seem more majestic than the lake's feeble whispers. Then it is gone. I recall large angry flies in holding cells and on the bridge to Jordan. I feel and smell the fresh clean air occasionally scented with a whiff of Pine oils, dash with a tiny pungent leaf of aromatic plant. I even catch a whiff of burned wood.
A nice smell actually as a young Homo sapience starts a wood fire to cook a meal. But again our memories interfere with our senses. My mind gives me the smell of tear gas, human urine, sweat, and pepper spray.
I reach down and pick a handful of decomposing leaves and soil. Sadness, death and rebirth, pain, beauty, and struggle form a complex of art that I do not understand. Maybe it is my lot in life.. or maybe it is life...
After breakfast, we talk about history and direction of popular resistance but my mind is still back home. In the coffee break I check the email and the news. Yes, many killed, many injured in the global uprising that is beginning to pick up steam. 18 Palestinians trying to return home through the illegally occupied Golan Heights were murdered today.
Also see an email (copy below) from an aunt of Munib Al-Masri (Munib was severely injured in the May 15 peaceful demonstrations). I did not know Munib personally but I know many of his relatives. But now we have little time to think. Back to the conference and recruiting Swedes to join the July 8-16 actions (see PalestineJN.org). Lots of interest and really good decent concerned people. My spirits are lifted.
Life goes on.
Someday I hope to return to this beautiful country just to enjoy nature without the intrusion of symptoms of apartheid. Maybe even to celebrate and show off two pieces of torn walls, the one I acquired in Berlin and one from the larger wall that will tumble in Palestine InshaAllah very soon. Stay tuned. Stay human.
Letter from Munib's aunt
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: qumsiyeh.org.
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