Sunday, June 25, 2017

Again to New Orleans

New Orleans

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

June 25. 2017

I am in New Orleans where I gave two talks already at the 56th annual general assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The first time I came here was in the 1990s for a medical convention where I got to be a typical tourist enjoying sights but having little knowledge of life of common people.

The second trip was in early 2000s on the wheels of justice bus tour where we stayed and worked with common people (the 99%). In early 2005, I came again for an end the occupation conference and networked again with these wonderful people. In August 2005 we were shocked to see Hurricane Katrina devastate this coastal city displacing 160,000 including some of the friends we made.

We all were angered by the government’s poor (non) response, a government that has just been bombing Iraq and supporting the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

On this trip, I was honored to share the stage with a number of other natives addressing the issue of “Decolonization is climate justice”. We had an informative discussion about the global connectivity of things like Standing Rock (against the North Dakota Access Pipeline) and the militarized US “police” forces (many trained by Israeli apartheid forces) attacking those peaceful protestors and poor black people (Black Lives Matter!).

I was honored to start reading the book “ ‘All the Real Indians Died Off’ and 20 other myths about native Americans” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and my co-panelist Dina Gilio-Whitaker. We also talked about mental colonization, cultural appropriation (Hummus becoming “Israeli” and khubiz becoming ‘Pita bread’).

On a positive note, like in my last three stops on this tour (so far Denver, Albuquerque, Austin), I also networked with dozens of people here in New Orleans. The beauty of spirit, the energy of the young people, the kindness, and the truths being spoken give us energy to organize.

In June 2010 I wrote on dignity:

Palestine brings the best in people who have dignity and self-respect and brings the worst in others who have tribalism and greed coursing through their veins. There was more dignity in any minute of the short life by Rachel Corrie who stood in front of the Bulldozer in Rafah and lost her life than is represented in lifetimes of kings, by prime ministers, and presidents. …

If humanity survives the next 100 years it will have been because of those who act with dignity/self-respect instead of cowardice and self-interest. Lessons in dignity from those like Rachel, Basem and the freedom flotilla will be required study in the new people's history books, which I am sure will be very different than those we have in schools today.

If you are interested to meet in the next leg of the tour in the US, please go to:

If you would like to learn more about the museum and garden which I am now speaking much about (and getting more and more volunteers for), please see this short video:

To see photos and other news of our activities on a daily basis, visit us on facebook under Palestine Museum of Natural History.

Thank you to all who continue to support us (including those who advised on airport harassment that I am still being subjected to). You mean a lot to me and all the other volunteers.

Finally, our sincerest best wishes for Muslims around the world on Eid Al-Adha. In this holiday, we remember especially our people in Gaza: two million under a medieval siege that resulted in 1.5 million living in abject poverty. May apathy dissipate and freedom rain. May we all get the courage to care to work to save our planet and become better human beings.

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
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