August 25, 2014:
We lost three good and famous people this week: Holocaust survivor and
humanist Hajo Meyer, Environmentalist broadcaster David Attenborough, and
Palestinian Poet Samih AlQasim. I first met Hajo (born 1924 and died 23 August
2014) over 10 years ago and communicated
with him frequently via email. And he wrote me 7 years ago when I wrote about the transfer agreement signed between Nazi Germany and the
Zionist leaders "Are you aware that besides the Ha'avarah agreement the terrorist and murderer Avraham Stern had written to the Nazis on
January 11th 1941 to fight with his Irgun forces together with the Nazis against the British! That is, I think, still stronger stuff." Here is Hajo as I remember him speaking his mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSlFR541Uoo
David Attenborough deep and resonating voice narrating spectacular nature videos impacted many of us. These videos will have a special
place in our nascent Palestine Museum of Natural History. I especially liked his series "Wonderful World" on BBC:
We also lost a great Palestinian poet Samih Al-Qasem this week. He was born from a Druze family in 1939 but considered his own date of birth
as 1948 because that is when he said he awoke to what was happening to our people. He had a great career contributing words to many now
famous Palestinian national songs like this one in Arabic followed by the English translation
منتصب القامة أمشي
مرفوع الهامة أمشي
في كفي غصن زيتون
وعلى كتفي نعشي
Standing upright I walk Elevated forehead I walk In my palm a bunch of olives and on my shoulder my own coffin and I walk.
Here is another poignant poem
وعندما أٌقتَل في يومٍ من الأيام
سيَعثُر القاتل في جيبي
على تذاكِرِ السفر:
واحدة الى السلام
واحدة الى الحقول والمطر
الى ضمائر البشر
ارجوك الّا تُهمِل التذاكر
يا قاتلي العزيز
ارجوك ان تسافر
The day I'm killed, my killer, rifling through my pockets, will find travel tickets:
One to peace,
one to the fields and the rain,
to the conscience of humankind.
Dear killer of mine, I beg you:
Do not waste the tickets.
Take them, use them.
I beg you to travel.
We also lost many other good people including a mother (Tasnim Isam Judeh) and her four Children in the ongoing Israeli genocidal campaign
against Palestinians in Gaza. These simple people trying to live in the world's largest open air prison are equally important to remember,
to mourn, and to celebrate their lives. I most grieve for children lost who could have had so much future potential.
Yet, while we lost good people this week we also gained much and are enriched by life. As David Attenborough reminds us life goes on in all its glory and beauty and death and regrowth. For example Gaza displaced residents in temporary shelters delivered dozens of babies and even held weddings.
And some friends here and in Gaza are bringing art, music, culture, beauty to this otherwise mad world. Friends whose homes are demolished
promise to rebuild and those injured are heeling. Life goes on in all its pluses and minuses.
We have so far studied over 40 species of butterflies in Bethlehem
University! We adopted a stray dog at the museum and planted seeds (literal and
metaphysical). We note that all life is exquisitely beautiful as it blossoms.
Without change and growth and interacting with our environment, we have
stagnation. We must all be part of this in a positive way adding to building and
wonder and growth. Hence activism and growth are the epitome of living a
meaningful life exemplified by those who left us. When it is our time to go,
will we have lived this meaningful life?
Please support advertisements against apartheid www.adsagainstapartheid.com
Over 200 Israelis living in the US wrote this letter to Jewish
community leaders. Worth reading
Holocaust survivors speak out:
Miko Peled tells it like it is on Gaza https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HHQIzaZoCfI
Visit us in occupied Bethlehem, Palestine
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