It's a Mad, Mad World … and Getting Madder

It’s a Mad, Mad World … and Getting Madder

We have a choice of trains: greed and self-interest train
taking us over the cliff OR the train of collective work towards a
sustainable future.

               TRAINS AND MADNESS
               By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

When we watch the way the world currently works, we can get extremely
depressed. Just the last few days we saw Israelis in their thousands
celebrate the release of a murdering occupation soldier who was videotaped
executing a wounded Palestinian. While 12-year old Dima Al-Wawi was
just released from 3 months of Israeli gulags, hundreds of Palestinian
children are still imprisoned unjustly by an occupation that has gone on
far too long. We noted the vote rigging and rigged “election process” that
will ensure Americans have a choice between apartheid-supporting,
war-mongering and corporate-backed liar (Hillary Clinton) and an
apartheid-supporting, war-mongering, women-bashing, racist cheater (Donald
Trump). Both of those very wealthy individuals would tighten the noose on
Americans and Palestinians as they lick the boots of the Israel lobby. Both
would continue the wrecking process of the US economy that ensures the
elimination of the Middle Class and making the rich richer and the poor

As I am in Italy now, I noted many people speaking out about the murder of
Giolio Regeni and the hypocritical western backing of genocidal governments
of Egypt, “Saudi Arabia”, and “Israel”. But the train of oppression
continues thanks in part to “mental occupation” of many people’s minds who
refuse to see the reality. Thousands are still drowning as they try to flee
the conflicts that are generated by Western Governments (it turn in
compliance with their Zionist lobbies). The American-Israeli- Wahhabi/Saudi
alliance is still hoping to “win” against local resistance in places like
Yemen and Syria. A whole generation of young people are lost and even if
peace would come soon (unlikely considering the array of greedy
billionaires getting enriched and the pervasive apathy of millions), it
will take many decades to recover from the devastation. Seven million of us
Palestinians are still refugees or displaced people and the number rises
weekly as Israel commits more ethnic cleansing. Our history of the past
seven decades is a history of accumulating atrocities by a racist genocidal
entity relentlessly focusing on transforming Palestine from a
multi-religious and multicultural society to a “Jewish state of Israel”.

As those elites divert energy of people towards fear of the other, endless
“manageable conflicts”, and basically begging for jobs that are essentially
slavery, the rich get richer while the earth is being pillaged at an
accelerated pace. I am reminded of the latter on earth day (April 22). On
April 22, 1970 over 20 million demonstrated in the US for a healthy,
sustainable environment. For 46 years, the people held events marking
“earth day”. However, greenhouse gas emissions have increased
uncontrollably and the Paris summit on Climate Change recently acted as a
feel good for governments that wanted to relieve the pressure via PR
efforts.  Occasionally lazy politicians utter words. Mahmoud Abbas for
example said that settlements damage the Palestinian environment. He was
challenged on it and his office seems reluctant to find environmentalists
and ask their opinions. His is actually an understatement of colonial
settlement impact on our environment.

Madness could come to any who contemplate this Orwellian world we came to
live in. Madness did come to many people we know and others decided to take
action. Some decided to take their own lives in striking back at the system
(in the 1960s it used to be “sticking it to the man”). Others took more
modest symbolic actions. Nearly five years ago, we were arrested as we
engaged in riding the bus: Palestine freedom riders. Push back is
coming in many shapes and forms against the neo-liberal, no-colonial world
order. Literary stars learned what is going on and are now writing more on
the occupation. Truth is coming out as more and more books are written
that expose Israeli crimes against humanity (even by Israeli authors)[8].
The BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) movement is picking up steam even
as Israeli apologists and lobbyists try to stifle it in Western Countries 
British Doctors Demand Israel’s Expulsion From World Medical
Association.  Truth is coming out even in unexpected corners like
Israel’s use of LGBT communities to pink-wash the occupation/colonization.

I guess one can summarize many things by saying that there is some pushback
from humans against the unfeeling and powerful machine that is grinding
humans and bringing humanity to the brink of collapse. Yes this struggle
(between greed and humanity, war and peace etc) has existed since the dawn
of human civilization. But never in our history were the stakes so high:
our own continued existence on this planet. That is why the pressure is
building and it stretches our resources and our abilities. Yet, humanity
must rise to this existential challenge. Indeed “you can’t be neutral on a
moving train” (Zinn). Many people are joining the struggle, millions more
are needed. The sane action we can do is to join the larger struggle. The
insane thing to do would be to be so focused on our own immediate needs
that we become like “consumerist robot slaves” while the elites lead us
like lemmings to the edge of the cliff.

BTW, my trip to Siena was very productive developing new partnerships for
peace and justice. As I prepare to go back to Palestine (last talk I give
is Tuesday), I am more determined than ever to pursue the course of
speaking truth to power and thinking globally while acting locally. While
we occasionally have pressures, occasionally see the betrayal of
individuals who decide to go over to that dark side (greed, selfish
interest etc), we are sustained by those who stay the course and the many
who join it. I see this even in the small scale projects that we do like
the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Botanical garden. Rare
people come and go thinking they need to watch their own interests
(actually damaging their long term interests) but more and more people
commit to join a bigger cause that actually helps all have a sustainable
future. Thus we have a choice of trains: greed and self-interest train
taking us over the cliff OR the train of collective work towards a
sustainable future. The choice has never been clearer and never been more
consequential. Please email us if you would like to switch trains. All

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