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[Disarmo] Today all of Palestine is on strike - Prisoners show the way - Fwd: [HumanRights] Prisoners show the way

Oggetto: [HumanRights] Prisoners show the way
Data: Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:06:16 +0300
Mazin Qumsiyeh

CC: Human Rights Newsletter <humanrights at lists.qumsiyeh.org>

Today all of Palestine is on strike in solidarity with the fasting prisoners
and tomorrow is a day of indignation, demonstrations, and confrontations
with the occupiers. Bethlehem is a ghost town and all shops and public
transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters are in the skies.
[Volunteers came to museum and we are taking a group on tour of the wall
and impact of settlements n the environment because this is not work but
resistance]. Tomorrow is a day of demonstrations and confrontations. In
this message I just want to reflect on why this is very important.

Every day we encounter greedy people focused on their own needs and
unhealthy desires. How many cheated us? How many come around us because
they want some material interest? How many corrupt politicians we know? How
many people we know turned out to be kinder and gentler and more self
sacrificing than we thought? How many turned out more mean, more selfish,
more sadistic? Looking at the world in this fashion (some would claim it is
seeing reality) can be truly dispiriting. It can remove any remaining
humanity in many people. But then comes a prisoner hunger strike! It sounds
small but it touches a cord in human beings bigger than any other and I
will argue it is the way to reclaim our humanity.

Today, Palestinians and their friends around the world show solidarity with
over 1800 Palestinian political prisoners who are on their 11th day of
hunger strike. Salt and water is all they will take until their just and
rightful demands are met (basic decent treatment in prison based on
international law). It sounds simple but this is a profound even in
Palestinian and human history. The price one pays for resistance is injury,
death or imprisonment. It is the antithesis of selfishness and greed.
800,000 Palestinians tasted life in prison and today almost 7000 are there
in the colonial apartheid Israeli prisons. While everyone knows this, the
hunger strike brought the prisoners' message home to all - rich and poor,
greedy and self-sacrificing, honest and liar. This message is nothing short
of that we humans must reconnect to our humanity and that caring for others
is the way to save humanity. In this 21st century with weapons of mass
destruction and climate change, we cannot afford as a species to do
otherwise. Prisoners show us the way like many decent human beings showed
us the way before (think of Jesus and prophets and revolutionaries like Che
Guevera). But the alarm bells for us are now alarm bells for a dying
species unless we act. It is more urgent than ever in our short history on
earth. We really have a choice to make and it is both an individual and a
collective choice. That choice is to either accept war and greed as
"natural" and follow the other human lemmings over the cliff OR resist and
give of ourselves as a way to save humanity.  Mahatma Gandhi used hunger
strike to refocus people away from greed and selfishness to caring for each
other. Hunger is painful and people will die sooner or later unless we all
act. What is at stake is very high: our own self-respect (dignity) as human
beings. But as the world changed, the danger is that we can also go extinct
as a species unless we manage to collectively transcend a huge baggage of
greed, colonialism, and  capitalism that cannot be sustained in the 21st
century. Palestinian prisoners by their silent deeds of self-sacrifice have
shown us the way. As did martyrs like Basil Al-Araj who simply noted that
in his extremely short last words on paper: there is no more eloquant
speech than the deed of the Martyr.

Kkalil Gibran wrote in "The Prophet" 1923: “You give but little when you
give of your possessions; it is when you give of yourself that you truly
give.  For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear
you may need them tomorrow?  And what is fear of need but need itself.” The
prisoners and the martyrs gave silently of themselves. For the rest of us,
where we stand today and tomorrow will say a lot about who we are.

Here is a relevant article I wrote seven years ago "The Savior in Each of

Stay human

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
Join me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/mazin.qumsiyeh.9
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