Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh is the founder and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History. Below are his reflections after recently recovering from a case of COVID-19.Thanks for the hundreds who have written expressing good wishes and prayers (sorry if I could not respond to all of you individually). We are also thankful to hundreds more who did not write but thought about or prayed for all afflicted whether mildly like me or otherwise. We are also grateful to all those who care about suffering people in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, etc (I cannot take out of my mind the photos and videos of destitute refugees in this cold weather). It is overwhelming sometimes to think of all the good things and bad things around us. Most of all we are grateful for all who care as they make this a better world.
Thinking positively and absorbing positive energies (physical and spiritual) is amazing. Love is especially potent. Last week one person who was hateful [toward] Palestinians because he was committed to Zionism finally shifted to recognize our common humanity. I have been exchanging emails with him for years. If such a person, raised from childhood on notions of exceptionalism, can become friends, there is hope. He joins a long list of people. I am proud to count among my friends so many who had shed Zionism, white supremacy, selfishness/greed, addictive or other self-destructive habits. I love them all as I love you all.
While working at home, I attended a four-day workshop on sustainable production and consumption, I gave three public (online) lectures [that were] well attended (>250 total attendees), attended our annual Mahatma Gandhi interfaith event (thank you Ela Gandhi for the invite) and attended three other seminars/workshops on issues ranging from environmental mainstreaming to the struggle to stop home demolitions. I also did three media interviews and one with a PhD candidate relating to environmental justice.
Keeping busy keeps me sane and healthy.
Instructions for Life in the new millennium from the Dalai Lama:
1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, respect for others,
responsibility for all your actions. [we add respect for nature] 4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back,
you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation.
Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each
other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Stay Human and Keep Palestine Alive.
Mazin Qumsiyeh is a Palestinian scientist and author, founder and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University where he teaches. After serving on the faculties of the University of Tennessee (1989-1993), Duke University (1993-1999), and Yale University (1999-2005), he has dedicated his time to researching and teaching at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities since 2008.