GIVING THANKS FOR THE ORIGINAL SIN

“I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I take the western view of the Indian. I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

Teddy Roosevelt

thanksgiving-day-of-mourning-for-native-americans

Thanks Giving

 © By Tom Karlson

That original sin

Our original sin

Not a talking snake sin

No Adam or Eve sin

 

This original sin

This first holocaust sin

This First Nation

ten million

Double helixed

Chromosome

Long gone sin

200 languages silenced sin

This good, drunk, dead, jailed, Indian sin

as

310 million All-Americans

Sit at the table eating

Corn, sweet potatoes, turkey

Watching football

Giving thanks

BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME OF THE YEAR ~~ THE JUSLIMS

Nope, it’s not Clinton or Trump …. it’s the Juslims🙂

My daughter is Jewish. Her best pal is Muslim. For Halloween they created a superhero team: The Juslims. I've rarely been more proud. Truly.

My daughter is Jewish. Her best pal is Muslim. For Halloween they created a superhero team: The Juslims. I’ve rarely been more proud. Truly.

Related report ….

My kid, her friend and their Muslim-Jewish Halloween costume

This is my daughter on the right, and her pal on the left.

My daughter is being raised Jewish.

Her pal is being raised Muslim.

For Halloween, they recently decided to be the Juslims. This was not a political statement or a social statement or a stance on the presidential election. They weren’t doing it in the name of religious pride or America’s diversity or equality for all.

Nope, they decided to be the Juslims simply because it was funny.

And, as the above Tweet seems to gain more and more re-tweets and likes by the minute (23,000. 36,000), I hope the point isn’t lost. My daughter and her pal are, simply, friends. They talk about music and clothes and scary movies and boys and school. They are two people who moved to Southern California in the same month two years ago, and they share a bond. That’s it. That’s all. No deep religious debates. No conflicts over prayer or the meaning behind ancient texts.

Hell, the same goes for me and the wife and the parents of my daughter’s friend. We’ve formed a similar bond, also over geography and interests and having children of the same age. Not only is there no mistrust or conflict over religion—there’s not even the hint of mistrust or conflict. We’re all just people, trying to work our way through this world.

Despite what we’ve been hearing late in the national dialogue, there need not be this division based upon skin color, based upon place of birth, based upon … trivial bullshit.

We’re all just people.

We’re all Juslims.

 

FROM

AT WALMART ~~ NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T

The Israeli soldier costume Walmart pulled last year was back on sale this Halloween till we asked why. Then, like a ghost, it vanished…

cvy5bl1xyaq1y2y*

Gazan writer and editor Refaat Alareer commented to the Electronic Intifada in the following terms: “I am sure my orphan niece and nephew would be terrorized seeing the kid wearing the Israeli khaki uniform which is the reason for the death of their beloved dad.” Alareer’s family lost several members during the summer 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza. Potential online customers slammed Walmart in the review section for the costume. “Your little one can now go to his friend’s house, and take over their bedroom, and all of their toys and claim that God has given him/her the right to take it,” commented one.

Walmart retailed the costume, supplied by the New Jersey company Wholesale Halloween Costume, whose own product description says: “Defend your Jewish heritage proudly by wearing the Israeli Soldier Boy’s Costume! The Israeli Defense Forces have a mission to protect the land and the people of Israel from outside threats with low casualties, and to avoid waging war if at all possible.”

IN PHOTOS ~~ DECOLONIZING COLUMBUS DAY

dctop

Columbus Day Oct 10, 2016 NYC

On this day the U.S. “celebrates” Columbus’s venture to the Western hemisphere in 1492. NYC celebrated with a parade down 5th Avenue, but there was another event taking place this day at the American Museum of Natural History. It was a peaceful “ANTI-COLUMBUS DAY TOUR” at the Museum.  It did not receive the publicity of the parade, but three hundred+ people came to the museum to protest the racist nature of Columbus’s venture and the ravaging of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in the centuries to come.

The participants demanded the Museum be “DECOLONIZED” and Columbus Day be renamed “INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY”. They also demanded the removal of the  equestrian statue of the racist President Theodore Roosevelt fronting the main entrance to the museum. They demanded that artifacts of the indigenous peoples be returned to them.

The museum’s administration had been alerted to this event and did not place obstacles. The tour visited various exhibits and speakers were critical of the museum remaining “frozen in time, bound by nineteenth-century racial classifications that designated human populations as ‘primitive’ or ‘civilized’…”.

At the end of the tour participants gathered in front of the Roosevelt statue as the statue was completely covered to emphasize their demand to remove the statue.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer ~~ Commentary by Chippy Dee

dc1

*

dc2

*

dc3

*

dc4

*

dc5

*

dc6

*

dc7

*

dc8

*

dc9

*

dc10

*

dc11

*

dc12

*

dc13

*

dc14

*

dc15

More of the leaflets …

l1

*

l2

*

l3

CAN WE FORGIVE THE UNFORGIVABLE?

caniforgive

The High Holy Days is the traditional Jewish period for making peace with one’s neighbor. It is a time for forgiveness and starting a new page in relationships with each other.

But, how are we to forgive what is unforgivable. How are we expected to forgive a group of Jewish extremists who maim and kill, even burn to death innocent Palestinian children?

How are we to forgive Palestinian extremists who open fire at innocent civilians waiting for a train in Jerusalem??

Extremism is unforgivable!

Murder is unforgivable!!

Piracy is unforgivable!!!

All stemming from apartheid which is the root cause of these sins.

On this, the eve of the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar, Jews throughout the world will begin the Holiday with the chanting of Kol Nidre

Both Jews and Muslims pound their chest when begging their God for forgiveness ….

In both cases it is meaningless if the sins are repeated as soon as the prayers are over.

It is time for a REAL forgiveness …. a time for a REAL Peace, based on understanding and love.

It is time to end the madness that is destroying the world!

HAPPY NEW YEAR ~~ SHANA TOVA

To my family and friends and all good Jews of conscience …

Shana Tova! Happy New Year!!

May we realise a world at Peace in the coming year for all of humanity!!!

shana_tova_by_yossikuszer-d4b201m

EID AL- ADHA MUBARAK

thanks-to-muslimvillage

 To all of my Muslim family and friends, EID MUBARAK! May your prayers for Peace and Justice become a reality in the coming year.

Eid-ul-adha-Mubarak-Islamic-Wallpaper

A sampling of the wonderful date filled Eid cookies prepared by my family … ENJOY THE TASTE OF PALESTINIAN FREEDOM!

A LABOUR DAY GIFT FOR YOU!

ENJOY!!

EID AL-FITRE MUBARAK

To all of my Muslim

readers, Family and

Friends..

Eid al-Fitre Mubarak!
*

*

The Glorious Holy Month of Ramadan will be coming to an end tonight at sundown … ushering in the wonderful feast days of Eid-al-Fitr. A time for joyous celebrations with families, a time to feel completely renewed and refreshed.

That’s how it’s spelled out in the books…

Unfortunately in Palestine the book is written differently… families are divided, family members are denied entry to join in the celebrations, families are mourning their loved ones killed by Israeli forces.
It’s time for all to celebrate! It’s time for all families to be together!

Damn those that won’t let this be!!

Let us hope that soon the situation will be different and we can all be together… secure in our own Homeland…. secure with a Right of Return… and THE RIGHT TO STAY!
In the meantime…. AL-EID-MUBARAK!!! Make the best of it and try to enjoy.

Never give up the dream and hope that all will be good one day… 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA ! – BONNE FÊTE DU CANADA

Rambling down Memory Lane…….

July 1st has always been a special day for me. Forty nine years ago today I left the United States and applied for Landed Immigrant Status in Canada. My wife and I picked this date as it was a National Holiday and we figured there would be less security at the Toronto Airport…. and less questions. It was a special day in Canada, it was the 100th anniversary of Confederation.
*
My suspicions proved correct…. there was only a handful of security personnel on duty and I was asked only two questions…
“How long do you plan on staying in Canada?”…. to which I responded “Forever!”
**
The second question was “Are you a subversive?”…. to which I responded quite naively “What does that mean?”
“Do you consider yourself a threat to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second or any one of her heirs?” (pronounced ‘hairs’ when I verbalise this story)…. to which I responded “Definitely not!”
“Welcome to Canada! Here is your Landed Immigrant Status Card!” (Let it be known that in no way did I consider the Royal Family ‘Divine’ in any way, but I did not feel I was a threat to their existence.)

Little did that Immigration Officer know, but in the United States I WAS considered a subversive…. in fact, I carried with me a ten page document of allegations against me from Army ‘Intelligence’ which ended with the words “Your entrance into any branch of the Armed Forces at any time would be detrimental to the security of our nation.” How much more of a ‘subversive’ can one hope to be?
*
It would be ‘safe’ to say that I owe my life to the FBI. The document I mentioned above was full of information provided by them. Their ‘planted’ informants knew the exact date and time that I joined the Communist Party of the United States. They knew every move I made during all my years of activity.
*
On my 18th birthday I registered with the Draft Board. We had to do that by law in those days. A few years later I received my order to report for my physical examination. I will never forget the short, burly man in charge that day…. Sgt. Randazzo. His face and voice haunts me to this day. The day I had to report was like a mini High School Reunion. Almost every male in my graduation class was present that day. We were lined up and were asked if we were interested in volunteering for the Marines. As this was a sure way to be sent to Viet Nam, there wasn’t a single volunteer. Randazzo then proceeded to pick every third person in line to serve in the Marines. But…… immediately before that an announcement was made…. “Anyone that was ever arrested, please go to Room 101.” Off I went….. which meant that poor Michael, who was standing next to me, was picked to be a Marine…. it should have been me, but I was being interrogated instead. Needless to say, Michael does not speak to me to this day.
*
If you move the ‘timer’ to 10:05 on the following video, you will get a pretty good idea what that interrogation was like….
*

A few months later I received my 4F. At first I was given ten days to deny the allegations in the document I received…. non compliance earned me my 4F. The rest is history…..
*
Moving on…. here we were in a new country, a country with totally different values and definitions than the one we had just left. But, I felt that we were still not ‘home free’…. our new government might discover our past and deport us, so we prepared for this by purchasing a framed photograph of Her Majesty and hanging it in the hallway of our new apartment. If the Royal Mounted Police ever came to ‘visit’ it would be the first thing they saw. We had two new statuses that we did not want to lose…. Landed Immigrant and NON Subversive!
*
My political activities continued throughout my years in Canada, including running in elections for both the Federal Parliament and the Province of Ontario…. on the ticket of the Communist Party of Canada. This Party was/is legal, so my status of Non Subversive did not change.
*
The Mounties never came and we were never deported. Canada was a totally different world than the one we had just came from… that was in 1967. Today Canada is once again a very hopeful nation. The Torries are history and hopefully Justin Trudeau will once again make it The True North Proud and Free.
*
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA ! – BONNE FÊTE DU CANADA

RAMADAN KAREEM

To all of our Muslim readers, family and friends …
May this year’s Ramadan usher in a new era of Peace and Hope ….
Ramadan Kareem!
*
Ramadan Kareem

 

MOTHER’S DAY IN TOONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

In Palestine ….

Ch85S8ZXAAEiE7A

*

Ch862rBWsAEnzSN

*

Ch86qxVWkAEOPzH

In Gaza ….

Ch84ZboWMAAWfDN

In Syria ….

Ch8561kXIAEOjdq

*

Ch85npcWMAA0WIe

In Turkey ….

Ch848y-XEAEgPJ1

In Brazil …. (and Palestine)

Ch84uwiWUAAMrtb

 

A MAY DAY OFFERING

thumbnailImage

Happy Holiday and enjoy!

The Billy Bragg version of the international socialist anthem.

And a poem by Tom Karlson …

The Forgotten

in Texas,

independent, slave loving Texas

was born Lucy Gonzalez

Mexican, African, Indian

mothered and fathered by the whip and chain

freed by the Great Emancipator at eleven

a slave of Gathings for one thousand  nights

liberated again by

former Confederate Captain Albert Parsons

they married

the KKK forced husband and wife to Chicago

where they worked and organized for the 8 hour day

May 4th, 1886 Lucy and Albert were at the Haymarket

protesting a police shooting the day before and

demanding eight hours of work ,eight hours of sleep, eight hours of play

police charged the crowd

a dynamite bomb was thrown

sending seven police and four workers

to the promised land

Albert and seven labor leaders were executed

Lucy fought and won    

full exoneration

the  eight hour work day arrives

carried in by an army of

wobblies, socialists, communists, and trade unionists

 

Lucy Parsons gave her long life to

labor rights civil rights and women’s rights

she died in1942, 89 years old

Lucy Parsons, Presente

May Day lives

lucyparsons

A POEM FOR THE SEASON ~~ A QUESTION YOUR CHILD WILL ASK FOR PASSOVER

First, let me wish all of my Jewish readers, family and friends a Happy and Kosher Passover.

Photo:Marko Djurica/Reuters

Photo:Marko Djurica/Reuters

“Your Child Will Ask”

By Rabbi Brant Rosen

Your child will ask
why do we observe this festival?

And you will answer
it is because of what God did for us
when we were set free from the land of Egypt.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
that we might hold tightly
to the pain of our enslavement
with a mighty hand?

And you will answer
we were set free from Egypt
that we might release our pain
by reaching with an outstretched arm
to all who struggle for freedom.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
because we are God’s chosen people?

And you will answer
we were set free from the land of Egypt
so that we will finally come to learn
all who are oppressed
are God’s chosen.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
that we might conquer and settle
a land inhabited by others?

And you will answer
we were set free from the land of Egypt
that we might open wide the doors
to proclaim:

Let all who are dispossessed return home.
Let all who wander find welcome at the table.
Let all who hunger for liberation
come and eat.

Rabbi Rosen blogs at Shalom Rav

*****

Now enjoy the following ….

How Passover would be reported in today’s media

ISRAEL NEEDS A GOOD CLEANSING

Not this kind ….
Image by Carlos Latuff
latuff-deportation
Jewish mothers used to go into a cleaning frenzy a week or so before the Festival of Passover. All traces of leaven (chametz) had to be removed from the home before the onset of the holiday.
*
Modern folk have determined that dust is not chametz, so there is less madness involved in the cleaning process, but Israel has added a new dimension to the situation; Arabs must be removed as well as the leaven.
*
CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different than the small town portrayed in Fiddler on The Roof.
 *
Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
*
I remember my grandmother going through the frenzie of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
 *
I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzie…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
 *
In Israel today, things are not much different than life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
 *
Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
 *
Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.
The above is a repost from the archives

WHEN EASTER MEETS ESTHER

It’s not every year that these two wonderful Holidays meet on the same calendar …

So,

To all of our Jewish readers, family and friends,

A VERY HAPPY PURIM!

purim1

And to our Christian readers, family and friends,

A VERY HAPPY EASTER!!

happy-easter-animated-cross

THE PLIGHT OF OUR BETTER HALF IN PALESTINE TODAY

On this day we celebrate International Women's Day. 
Below you can read of the situation and plight of women 
in Occupied Palestine.

*
460_0___30_0_0_0_0_0_iwd2

International Women's Day
Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The struggle of women here continues unabated. Many people like me believe
sincerely that had women been in charge here, we would have had a free
Palestine by now. My mother who is 84 years old showed us by example what
giving and self-sacrifice and love of people and land means. My wife and
three sisters are likewise examples of what we all should aspire to do:
kind, dedicated, and hard-working human beings. Like millions before them
and millions contemporary with them, these women make life livable while
many men (and a few women) engage in hurting others and pushing for
conflicts and war. Words are too mediocre and inadequate to express our
feelings but I simply want to say to all the women working for peace and
justice: thank you and to pledge that we will work with you for more
progressive change in our societies. As males, we must challenge the system
we inherited of giving privilege to men (Patriarchal societies we live in).
This must be in deed not in words.


For the local situation of Palestinian women today, I urge you to read this
remarkable new issue of the excellent magazine “This Week in Palestine”
dedicated to our better half.
 

THIS VALENTINE’S DAY TRY LOVING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

And in honour of Black History Month, formerly National Brotherhood Week and Negro History Week 

As Tom Leher sees it …

Finally, From Russia With Love

3316a0c4-4520-49f1-8189-5f69ecb33e7f

FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!

DesertPeace and Associates wishes all of our readers and friends the best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2016!

Happy-New-Year-2015-animated-GIF

latest-happy-new-year-2016-photos

Enjoy …

Wherever you are, whoever you are… here’s hoping that you and yours have the best in the New Year. Let us hope that 2016 will usher in a lasting peace and justice for all of humanity… a year of love and understanding for all of us.

AFRIKAANS gelukkige nuwejaar
ALBANIAN Gëzuar vitin e ri
ALSATIAN e glëckliches nëies / güets nëies johr
ARABIC aam saiid / sana saiida
ARMENIAN shnorhavor nor tari
AZERI yeni iliniz mubarek
BAMBARA bonne année
BASQUE urte berri on
BELARUSIAN З новым годам (Z novym hodam)
BENGALI subho nababarsho
BERBER asgwas amegas
BETI mbembe mbu
BOBO bonne année
BOSNIAN sretna nova godina
BRETON bloavezh mat / bloavez mad
BULGARIAN честита нова година (chestita nova godina)
BURMESE hnit thit ku mingalar pa
CANTONESE kung hé fat tsoi
CATALAN bon any nou
CHINESE xin nian kuai le / xin nian hao
CORSICAN pace e salute
CROATIAN sretna nova godina
CZECH šťastný nový rok
DANISH godt nytår
DUTCH gelukkig Nieuwjaar
ESPERANTO felicxan novan jaron
feliæan novan jaron (Times SudEuro font)
ESTONIAN head uut aastat
FAROESE gott nýggjár
FINNISH onnellista uutta vuotta
FLEMISH gelukkig Nieuwjaar
FRENCH bonne année
FRISIAN lokkich neijier
FRIULAN bon an
GALICIAN feliz aninovo
GEORGIAN გილოცავთ ახალ წელს (gilocavt akhal tsels)
GERMAN ein gutes neues Jahr / prost Neujahr
GREEK kali chronia / kali xronia
eutichismenos o kainourgios chronos (we wish you a happy new year)
GUJARATI sal mubarak
GUARANÍ rogüerohory año nuévo-re
HAITIAN CREOLE bònn ané
HAWAIIAN hauoli makahiki hou
HEBREW shana tova
HINDI nav varsh ki subhkamna
HMONG nyob zoo xyoo tshiab
HUNGARIAN boldog új évet
ICELANDIC farsælt komandi ár
INDONESIAN selamat tahun baru
IRISH GAELIC ath bhliain faoi mhaise
ITALIAN felice anno nuovo, buon anno
JAVANESE sugeng warsa enggal
JAPANESE akemashite omedetô
KABYLIAN asseguèsse-ameguèsse
KANNADA hosa varshada shubhaashayagalu
KAZAKH zhana zhiliniz kutti bolsin
KHMER sur sdei chhnam thmei
KIRUNDI umwaka mwiza
KOREAN seh heh bok mani bat uh seyo
KURDE sala we ya nû pîroz be
LAO sabai di pi mai
LATIN felix sit annus novus
LATVIAN laimīgu Jauno gadu
LIGURIAN feliçe annu nœvu / feliçe anno nêuvo
LINGALA bonana / mbula ya sika elamu na tonbeli yo
LITHUANIAN laimingų Naujųjų Metų
LOW SAXON gelükkig nyjaar
LUXEMBOURGEOIS e gudd neit Joër
MACEDONIAN srekna nova godina
MALAGASY arahaba tratry ny taona
MALAY selamat tahun baru
MALTESE is-sena t-tajba
MAORI kia hari te tau hou
MARATHI navin varshaachya hardik shubbheccha
MONGOLIAN shine jiliin bayariin mend hurgeye (Шинэ жилийн баярын мэнд хvргэе)
MORÉ wênd na kô-d yuum-songo
NORWEGIAN godt nyttår
OCCITAN bon annada
PERSIAN sâle no mobârak
POLISH szczęśliwego nowego roku
PORTUGUESE feliz ano novo
ROMANCHE bun di bun onn
ROMANI bangi vasilica baxt
ROMANIAN un an nou fericit / la mulţi ani
RUSSIAN С Новым Годом (S novim godom)
SAMOAN ia manuia le tausaga fou
SANGO nzoni fini ngou
SARDINIAN bonu annu nou
SCOTTISH GAELIC bliadhna mhath ur
SERBIAN srećna nova godina
SHIMAORE mwaha mwema
SHONA goredzwa rakanaka
SINDHI nain saal joon wadhayoon
SINHALA suba aluth avuruddak vewa
SLOVAK stastlivy novy rok
SLOVENIAN srečno novo leto
SOBOTA dobir leto
SPANISH feliz año nuevo
SRANAN wan bun nyun yari
SWAHILI mwaka mzuri / heri ya mwaka mpya
SWEDISH gott nytt år
SWISS-GERMAN es guets Nöis
TAGALOG manigong bagong taon
TAHITIAN ia orana i te matahiti api
TAMIL iniya puthandu nalVazhthukkal
TATAR yaña yıl belän
TELUGU nuthana samvathsara subhakankshalu
THAI สวัสดีปีใหม่ (sawatdii pimaï)
TIBETAN tashi délek
TURKISH yeni yiliniz kutlu olsun
UDMURT Vyľ Aren
UKRAINIAN Z novym rokom
URDU naya saal mubarik
UZBEK yangi yilingiz qutlug’ bo’lsin
VIETNAMESE Chúc Mừng Nǎm Mới / Cung Chúc Tân Niên / Cung Chúc Tân Xuân
WALOON (“betchfessîs” spelling) bone annéye / bone annéye èt bone santéye
WELSH blwyddyn newydd dda
WEST INDIAN CREOLE bon lanné
WOLOF dewenati

REFLECTIONS ON A PALESTINIAN CHRISTMAS

"Israel’s Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve 
towards consolidating the separation between Bethlehem and its twin city, 
Jerusalem; the city where
Jesus was born and the city where he 
was resurrected"


tumblr_mfkc9jQMgX1qb1quio1_540
Le Petit Prince
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
How can we learn from children dealing with adversity? There were many
images that shock us almost daily. The Palestinian child splayed on the
beach in Gaza with his tiny body ripped by Israeli bullets. In 2015 it was
of a Syrian child with the same pose, face down in the sand having drowned
in the Mediterranean. About the same time, Palestinian children where being
killed (two were burned alive) How much pain can people take? How can we
think of the dictatorial leaders of countries like the very rich Arab gulf
states and Egypt closing their eyes to this suffering which they help
perpetuate. We can reflect on these painful episodes of man's inhumanity to
fellow human beings. We can focus on the greed and the corruption and the
cruelty that we face daily (five Palestinians killed here during the two
days of Christmas). But I really do not want to do that any more.  As this
year comes to a close and a new year begins, I reflect on value of good
deeds and then reflect on other living children.

When Israel demolished a Palestinian home in Nablus recently in an act of
collective punishment as they do routinely, good people (most of them poor)
donated thousands within 24 hours for rebuilding). "Good Samaritans" are
everywhere and I meet them every day. I am so grateful to them for making
the lives of people around them better. Those who give of themselves and in
so doing enrich themselves. It is hard to describe how motivating it is to
see hundreds of good people giving to good causes that try to better the
lives of fellow creatures on earth. Some challenge oppression  to the point
of sacrificing their lives to push for the freedom of others. Others donate
to help suffering people. Some gave up their careers to work with refugees
desperately clinging to life.  Sometimes we can lose faith in humanity. But
as a biologist, I find new adaptations and new life especially hopeful.
Spring is coming earlier today in Palestine (perhaps because of the global
warming). A small bird manages to survive a broken wing. A lizard
regenerated its tail. A flower blossoms. A new seed sprouts. A new human
birth (a miracle). One surviving child in particular gave us so much hope.
Every once in a while we see a video chronicling the progress in recovery
of the surviving Dawabsha child (he was severely burned, his mother,
father, and younger sibling all perished in the Jewish settler arson
attack). We see his grandfather able to solicit the beautiful smile and
even laughter and we say: there is hope in humanity. I see a hungry child
share his bread with another hungry child with a smile. I remember how one
child from Aida refugee camp whose mother was killed by Israeli soldiers
once told me and another adult that "Do not worry, Palestine will be free".
I remember and reread the story of "The Little Prince" (Le Petit Prince by
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; I have a collection of it in many languages) and
I am reminded when tough times fall (and they do more and more often) that
we need to tap the little child inside us. Children still have the
idealism, kindness, social connection, and hope that adults seem to loose.

For me personally, many people harmed me or tried to do harm to me in 2015
ranging from Israeli soldiers and settlers to deluded Palestinians. To such
all I hope we all say: we do not hate you and we do forgive you. It does
not mean we will stop working for justice or challenging oppression and
corruption. It is actually our (positive) way of doing so. We call on you
to join the ever increasing circle of people who light a candle instead of
cursing the darkness.  They know that doing good without expecting any
return is the most enriching experience in life. Working for a bigger cause
than one self is the best and most healthy way to live. It is the essence
of true happiness.

In this same spirit, Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabbah wrote in the
Israeli paper Haaretz a meaningful message to Israeli leaders:  "Israel’s
Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve towards consolidating the
separation between Bethlehem and its twin city, Jerusalem; the city where
Jesus was born and the city where he was resurrected – the essence of the
Christian faith. Aside from the daily violations that the besieged
Bethlehem suffers as a result of the occupation, Israel issued a military
order last week announcing that it has confiscated 101 dunams of
Bethlehem’s northern lands. In the same week, the Israeli government
approved the expansion of the illegal settlement of Gilo - built on
privately owned lands of Bethlehem - by 891 new housing units....Despite
Israel’s claim that it is the only country in the Middle East where
Christians prosper, the unspoken message it sends on the ground is that it
has no respect whatsoever for their rights as Palestinians and for their
existence in their homeland....Bethlehem is now either a symbol for peace,
or war. I invite the Israeli leaders to make it a symbol for peace and for
a new just approach for Palestinians. Palestinians deserve the full
achievement of their inalienable rights..."

"But Jesus said, Allow little children, and forbid them not, to come unto
me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

« Older entries