Political Challenges to Diversity in Both Nature and Society in Palestine

Video & Transcript
with Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh
Transcript No. 480 (June 30, 2017)
 

Mohamed Mohamed:
It’s a pleasure on behalf of our Board of Directors and on our staff to welcome you here today and thank you also for our online audience, whoever’s watching online.
Of course it’s also an honor to introduce our distinguished speaker, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, who will be giving a lecture titled, “Political Challenges to Diversity in Both Nature and Society in Palestine: The Role of Colonialism and the Role of Civil Society.”

So just a little bit about Dr. Qumsiyeh, he teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. He is director of the main clinical cytogenetics laboratory and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Institute for Biodiversity Research. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke, and Yale Universities and has published over 130 scientific papers on topics ranging from biodiversity to cancer. He was chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People and currently serves as the board of Al-Rowwad Children’s Theater Center in Aida Refugee Camp, which is near Bethlehem. His many articles and books, published in a number of languages, include Mammals of the Holy Land, Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli Palestinian Struggle, and Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment. He also has an activism book published electronically on his website which is qumsiyeh.org and has published over 250 letters to the letter, 100 op-ed pieces, and interviewed on TV and radio extensively.

In today’s talk, Dr. Qumsiyeh argues that movements toward uniformity, such as Zionism, have threatened the crucial diversity found in the landscape. This applies both to social diversity and also to bio diversity. Restoring social and natural ecosystems to balance requires challenging ideas of dominance and hegemony, which Dr. Qumsiyeh is uniquely positioned to illuminate as a Palestinian Christian, a biologist, and a human rights activist. His talk will be framed by three points of focus: “The Plants and Animals of the Holy Land and The Status of Nature Conservation There,” “The Role Fulfilled by Establishing Museums and Botanical Gardens in Third World Areas,” and “The Perspective of a Palestinian Christian on Islam, Peace Studies, and Conflict Resolution.”

Dr. Qumsiyeh will speak for 30-40 minutes, after which we will have a Q&A Session, and for the Q&A Session we ask that you wait for the microphone to come to you when you ask a question. We can all hear you here but for our online audience. And for our online audience, you can tweet your questions to @palestinecenter.
Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh.

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh:
Thank you Mohamed. I wish you had asked me about the introduction. It seems too long because if you had asked me I would have told you, “Just say I’m a troublemaker and that will suffice to introduce me.” I seem to be causing trouble, I don’t know why; I’m a very nice man. I don’t know why Homeland Security is questioning me at every airport for hours and hours.

But anyways. I was honored to come here, at noon actually I arrived. And then we had a very nice lecture at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, perhaps the first time that the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian hosts a Palestinian speaking about environmental issues. So that talk for a couple of you that I see here who were there at that lecture maybe see a different side of me here. That’s not because I have dual personalities or schizophrenia. It’s because obviously the interests of the Museum of Natural History there is – but we did talk about environmental challenges to occupation that occupation causes and I will speak a little bit about that. So what I’ll do is I’ll show you some slides and hopefully 15-20 minutes and then 8 ½ minutes there’s a video about the museum and what we are doing, and then open it up for a discussion, which is interactive hopefully that we can discuss things as to what’s going on.

This is our museum. It’s a new facility. Actually we opened it in April this year, two months ago, and the Israeli Museum of Natural History opened on Tuesday, this week, so we were ahead of them. But, you know, ours is very small because they have millions of dollars. We have nothing, but we’ll talk about that more. The idea actually came from this guy originally, Sana Atallah, the first Palestinian zoologist in the 1960’s. He happens to be my uncle, and this is me by the way as a kid there. And this is my first collection when I was ten years old. I collected some insects and things like that. But anyway, he died in a car accident, actually in that vehicle you saw there, when he was 27 years old right after he finished his PhD, so he didn’t get to fulfill his dream.

Now Palestine, as you know, is a very important location in the world, geographically and geopolitically. It is part of the Fertile Crescent, the western part of the Fertile Crescent. This is where we humans developed agriculture. This is where we first went from hunter-gatherers to agricultural communities about 11– 12,000 years ago. Jericho for example, is the oldest continuously inhabited town on earth.

We are also geographically positioned in a very interesting location for biodiversity for many, many reasons. For example for birds, bird migration passes through Palestine on annual migration to Africa, so you have 500 million birds that go through Palestine annually going back and forth.

When people went from hunter-gatherers to agricultural communities, they also had time on their hands to develop what we call “civilization,” maybe in between quotations because I’m not sure we humans are civilized quite yet. But in Palestine, those ancient villages that coexisted in relative harmony with nature, these are the Canaanites. The proper pronunciation by the way is ‘ke?n?n. Canaan is someone who’s satisfied with their lot in life. And that’s because of the rich nature of that part of the world. And that’s, as I said, that’s where we domesticated first things like wheat, barley, lentil, chickpeas, hummus, if those of you eat hummus, and domesticated things like goats and sheep and donkeys in that fertile crescent.

These native people, the indigenous people of Palestine, were also relatively diverse. And those of you who are familiar with Palestinian society know that even every village may have its own customs and its own language. We from Bait Sahour for example, people from Hebron laugh at us for the way we talk and vice versa of course we laugh at them. But that’s another story.

We have a rich cultural heritage that includes of course food and music and artistry and embroidered cloths etcetera. We have a rich agricultural heritage. A rich natural heritage, what we call agricultural biodiversity. And also in terms of agricultural heritage, for example, like these stone terraces that you see here, which our ancestors, the Canaanites, built thousands of years ago and that still stand today.

As I said, these villages lived in relative harmony with nature for thousands of years. Of course we do have a political problem and we cannot avoid not talking about our current situation, our political situation, especially now that we are 137 years after the establishment of the first Zionist colony in Palestine, 1880. 100 years after the Balfour and Cambon Declarations. Some of you may have heard about Balfour, but Cambon was the French parallel declaration from the French government because these two governments supported Zionism a hundred years ago. And they supported it for political reasons because the Zionists promised to get the United States into the War, the First World War, and it was a quid pro quo basically.

This is the source of our problems by the way. This is a European issue that was imposed on us. We never had any problem locally. For example, Christians, Muslims, Jews lived together in relative harmony for hundreds of years, thousands of years.

Now what is this problem? I taught at medical schools, and I told my medical students, you take a patient’s history. You make a proper diagnosis. Once you make the proper diagnosis, you offer a therapy that’s congruent with that diagnosis. But also then you can tell the patient: what’s the prognosis. What’s the likelihood of things getting better. Based on what? Based on other patients who had the same diagnosis with the same kind of therapy, right? This is logical. And in Palestine, unfortunately, this kind of analysis is rarely done. And even among Palestinians it’s hard to find consensus as to what is the real diagnosis of our problems. And some Palestinians, especially since the Oslo Accords, started confusing the symptoms with the underlying diagnosis which leads us to a wrong therapy.

I’ll give you an example in medicine. If I have cancer, I’m a medical geneticist also. So if I have cancer and I treat myself for the symptom, skin rash let’s say, or anemia, or headache, that is not a cure. That only helps alleviate a symptom temporarily and doesn’t fix the problem. So what is the underlying diagnosis here? The underlying diagnosis is very obvious and it’s not very difficult to dig it up if you do the proper patient history as I said. And that is, again, not the subject of my talk tonight because I don’t want to talk about the problems more than I want to talk about solutions.

The underlying ideology is colonialism: the idea that Jews from Europe can come to Palestine, clear it out of its population, and create a Jewish state in Palestine. It’s a simple idea, by the way. It’s common. Perhaps, even, I was joking the other day with a group of my students, perhaps there is a gene in humans for colonization because just about every country in the world was either colonized or colonizer, right?

There’s 193 members of the United Nations, most of them were either colonizers or colonized. So it’s a common thing. It’s not unusual in our human history. That’s why I put civilization in quotations.

But basically, it’s also [that] one can understand it in the context of European history and why Europe was most commonly a colonizer rather than a colonized country or areas colonized. One can understand that at some level. And in regards to the specific colonization process that we had, the Jewish colonization of Palestine, AKA known as Zionism, is also understandable at some level. Not necessarily that I sympathize with it, I just understand it. Think here in the United States when blacks were discriminated against. Most of them resisted discrimination, people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Edwin Douglass, etc. But there were a smaller group, minority blacks, who said “Ah, you can’t live with white people. Let’s go do our own thing.” That’s natural, OK? In danger, even animals, you have fight or flight. You either fight it or you run away from it and do something else. So those black Americans who decided to create a new movement, they called it “Back to Africa,” and they went and created the state. You know it right? Liberia. It’s for liberty, freedom, freedom from the oppression in America. The problem for them was the same problem for Jews in Europe is that Liberia is not a land without a people for a people without a land, right?

Actually Hertzel sent ­Turabies to Palestine in 1897 to look it over and see how suitable it is for a Jewish state, a Turaba is before they sent their full report, they sent a telegram to Vienna. [The] Telegram simply said, “The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man.” It’s a wonderful country for a Jewish state, but there are people here. What are we going to do with those people? They had to go. It’s as simple as that. So 500 villages were destroyed. Israel proceeded to plant European pine trees in the places where European pine trees grow fast. And they shed leaves that are acidic and they kill about everything underneath them. They are also susceptible to fires so that’s why we have a lot of forest fires there because we have this monoculture of pine trees that are hiding the old Palestinian villages.

But anyways. And we have a problem now, which you are very well familiar with: seven million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people, literally pushed into the sea, as you see in Jaffa harbor there.

Historically then there was also a shrinkage of the land of Palestine to create this Jewish state. This is, by the way, the map on the top, which you may have seen shrinking maps of Palestine but this is the first shrinking map of Palestine 1998 and it was created by my son when he was fourteen years old. I’m glad people picked it up. Don’t worry, no copyright on it. But where did the idea for the shrinking map of Palestine come from? My son saw this map, down below, of the United States, of the shrinking of the land that’s left for the Native Americans as we ruined their lives. This is called colonization, colonization needs to be analyzed in context of people, the environment, and everything else. This is the perception of colonizers of themselves, this is painted by a colonizer. And so this is their perception: their perception is we’re bringing light, technology, knowledge, beauty “nice sexy woman”, and you know agriculture and everything else and what do we face in this wilderness of darkness? It is those natives: and they’re animals, they’re beasts running away and for some reason they don’t understand us, and for some reason they sometimes attack us and we defend ourselves, we don’t understand quite why? Maybe it’s the language or the religion or some other reason that they do it but that’s how they do it.

So this is the perception, of course the perception of the natives is different understandably so. In Palestine we have an issue that continues: it’s not colonization that happened 300 years ago or 200 years ago and ended; it’s continuing and the problem is in this diagram of two friends of mine, this picture, of Ghada Karmi and Ellen Siegel in 1973 and the same two ladies in 2011, is that there is a notion of superiority and chosenness, if you want, that makes for continuing racial discrimination. Right? This is the essence of the problem that we have. Now, if you agree with me, that this is, a patient history going over 100 years in 3 minutes, if you agree with me in the patient history, if you agree with me on the diagnosis which is colonization, then, you have to think “What is next? What is the solution? What is the therapy? What’s the prognosis for this patient?” Right?

Here, actually, I become optimistic because, if we agree that it’s a colonial anti-colonial struggle, the outcome for these struggles is relatively fine, relatively benign. What do I mean by that? If you look at colonial anti-colonial struggles in world history, they fall under one of three scenarios or categories. One category, very rare by the way, is that the natives win. For example: Algeria, one million French packed their bags and went back to Europe. I don’t even say back to Europe because many of them are like 5th, 6th generations in Algeria, some of them have never seen France before and they went. At a very high cost: one million Algerian life, and nearly 100 000 French-Algerian lives. That is rare, because the technology of the colonizers is always more advanced, weaponry, the willingness of colonizers to use violence is vastly superior to the willingness of the natives to use violence.

The second scenario is a little more common but still rare: and it is the opposite, the colonizers win and the colonized lose, that happens usually by genocide. For example: New Zealand, the Papua New Guinea, you know, Australia. Australia, now, even has a national apology day where they actually genuinely apologize to aboriginals who remain from the ancestor of the white who have killed the ancestor of the aboriginals. The United States could also fall under that category with the genocide of the natives, etc., usually by many mechanisms.

The third, but that scenario also it can count maybe on one hand or at best two hands, the countries that suffer this outcome. The majority of the patients, if you want, colonial and anti-colonial struggle, like 150 countries plus, actually had a different outcome not outcome one or outcome two. That outcome is very obvious. Places like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, South East Asia, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Africa. What is that outcome? That outcome is either win-lose or lose-win, you can call it win-win if you’re optimistic or you can call it lose-lose if you’re pessimistic. I don’t mind either way but is neither, you know, it’s living in one country right? This is the most likely outcome in Palestine. So that’s what I call the prognosis for this patient which is relatively okay. Right? It’s not 100 percent just this, it’s not anything like that, it’s just [inaudible] because you live together.

There is no fourth outcome, there is no fourth scenario. There was never a colonial or anti-colonial struggle that ended in two states scenario. That did not happen and cannot happen. For many reasons which I discussed in my first book about the Palestine question in 2004, the one called “Sharing the Land Canaan” and I argue that this is not a mirage in the desert. It’s a virtual mirage in the desert, it doesn’t and cannot exist. It cannot logically exist. So that’s the outcome and it is happening by the way as we speak.  Now, the question really is how do we accelerate it? That’s the therapy part of my talk. And the therapy is very important, you know, how do we get the situation to achieve that end result very quickly, and of course, the main therapy, always, is the local resistance. And, I don’t want to spend too much time talking about the resistance but I wrote another book about popular resistance in Palestine. You heard about that, you can look for that book and read about it. Palestinian women, for example, in the 1920s, who led the first demonstration, in human history, to use automobiles in October 1929 when 120 cars marched in the streets of Jerusalem. Remember, women in October 1929, what a scene that made. The fact that there isn’t that many cars in Palestine so they had to bring them all the way from Nazareth, and Haifa, and Jaffa.

For existing and resisting, I will skip through these things. Now, to go back to the issue of the environment, I’m skipping here a lot of things because I do want to have time for discussion. Colonial emergence is not just people that are targeted but nature is targeted. So, for example, Israel, one of the first major projects that they did was drying up the Hula wetlands, which are the sites where lots of migrating birds choose to settle on their annual migration to Africa: 119 species disappeared. The second major project that Israel did is diversion of the water from the head rivers of the Jordan Valley to the western coastal areas. This had a huge devastating impact. Again, I don’t have much time to discuss all the ramifications on biodiversity, the ramification of the Jordan Valley but you can see by satellite image and the shrinking of the Dead Sea is, of course, involved in this. Now, to fix the “problem” that they created, Israel has been pushing for this canal which [inaudible] approved and finally convinced the Jordanian government under pressure from the United States to implement this canal that will connect the red sea to the dead sea and not bring water from the red sea by the way. It will bring sludge from these plants along the way and dump that sludge into the sea. Very catastrophic environmentally situation. It will build in Jordan. You can see they built a canal on the Jordanian side. Why? So that Jordan will be left holding the bag of 15 billion dollars in that the World Bank for this canal. And unfortunately they signed it and they are proceeding with it.

We have many other challenges environmentally; climate change is one of them. I mentioned today at the museum that we expect temperatures to rise to 224 degrees centigrade and rainfall to drop by 20-25 percent. This will have huge devastating impacts on us considering also that we have unequal distribution of water. Imagine this is the current situation, imagine how much worse it will be in 10-20 years when rainfall drops by 25 percent so each one of those bars will have to drop by 25 percent. If they drop the bars equally, by the way, but they are not going to drop the bars equally as we saw in Gaza. Gaza is already, by the way, slow genocide. Two million people. Two million people are under siege. Malnutrition, the water is undrinkable. Electricity has been cut from four hours a day to two hours a day on the schedule, by the way, but it is really never a schedule. So many days pass without electricity. And I have many friends in Gaza that call me desperate. I send them a little bit of money but what can we do?

Alright now. We can spend hours and hours talking about the symptoms. We need to talk about solutions. And let me start by saying that to do solutions in any situation we have to base it on knowledge. If we do not know what we are talking about we can tend to apply, again like my students had told you, make the wrong diagnosis or you start applying wrong therapies, wrong doses of therapy, and you’re in trouble. So we need to base things on scientific knowledge and information. One of the pieces of information we need to deal with is if I’m going to teach people about environment and what to do about environment, I have to realize there is data like this that shows [that] the richer people are, the more they care about the environment. You know, how am I going to teach a child in Gaza about the environment if he is hungry and has a slingshot? Are the birds going to be protected? You know it’s a problem. So we had to really start to think, start to research. And research by the way is critical, and our research in Palestine is miserable. We have very few researchers. (Points to a table)This is from a research paper I did about the status of research and development in Palestine. And you can see from this simple table how miserable we are in terms of research. For example we spend 0.04 perecent of our GDP on research. Do you know how much we spend on security? Forty-three percent of the Palestinian authority is spent on security. And it is to protect the Israelis, not to protect the Palestinians of course because it is part of the Oslo [Agreements], which is that the PA acts as a niche government. Here I am blabbering my mouth again, I’m going back in jail again. But anyways, so here is a hill that is near my town, Beit Sahour, where I actually have some family land that was lost to the settlement called “Har Homa” that is built on Jabal Abu Ghunaim. And we did some research and that is why I say, research is very important on the decline in vertebrates’ biodiversity in Bethlehem, Palestine. We did a study for example on the diet of the owl. The owl regenerates the bones you know so you can look at all their bones, their newer bones and compare.

And this owl, 60 percent of its diet is actually commensal rats, you know rats around human dwellings. Whereas 30-40 years ago it was a diverse fauna that the owl used to eat. We did some studies on the genotoxic effect of Israeli industrial settlements, for example, in Brukeen village they dumped their toxic wastes and this causes DNA damage and chromosome breaks. These studies, now why is this study important? Because they could be used if we really had people who could pursue the matter at international courts and even local Israeli courts if we had people to pursue them. I tried to convince the Minister of Health and I am still working on it. We have other similar studies on recycling Israeli electronic waste. They bring all their dump, all their computers. I tell people they should find some good computer hackers and get all the information out of the Israeli computers. They would not like us to know all their secrets but we studied various groups of creatures from reptiles to amphibians but unfortunately one species that we record in this paper has since in the last five years disapparead, extinct basically in the Westbank, in Jordan, the last one there with the square herochonticus.

We studied scorpions, we studied butterflies. Now, the museum that we set up and I have brochures to pass at the end, has a moto which is respect. Respect for ourselves. First as Palestinians we shouldn’t just rely on the West or anybody else to save us. We’ve got to do things for ourselves. And that is self-respect. That is empowerment. Second is respect for others. And third is respect for the environment. These three levels of respect come in this order. Now why did I mention this in the middle of this slide? This guy Mohammed Abu Sarhan who is the first author on this paper was actually in high school when he started researching these butterflies and ended up publishing his first paper when he was a biology freshman at Bethlehem University. This is empowerment, when people get the feeling that they can do things and they can publish and they can achieve knowledge, and now I am getting even Israeli scientists [who] send me requests for reprints or send them pdf files of this paper. So I think this is what it is and it is putting [into] the world, the issues. Mohammed Abu Sarhan, as a first author, in his second year of biology.

Now imagine, I have professors at the universities who complain that they do not have money for research, they cannot publish, and how are we going to publish. Tell them you have people, students who can publish so why can’t you publish. It is not difficult if one puts their mind to it to do things. We published on snails, these are also important environmentally. For example, snail under letter H is found in water that is polluted by sewage. So, whenever there is pollution sewage mixing with fresh water that snail is found. We did some work on land snails and today at the [Smithsonian] Museum of Natural History there was a guy who knows about snails and was impressed as we were doing two papers on snails that are on press now.

We also publish on the role of museums and how to use museums to achieve basically in developing countries things that are very difficult to achieve even in developed countries. On this trip I visited the museums in all the cities I visited which are Denver, Albuquerque, Austin, Houston, New Orleans and Raleigh and now Washington, DC. The museums here are struggling to get their message out to the common people. They wait for them to come to them. We are different in the sense that we are a small community and we want to get the people not have them come to us. This takes some effort and our experiences have been remarkably successful, trial and error much of it, some of it experimenting sometimes, sometimes re-experimental kids but don’t tell them that. So, we split them into two groups, work with one group one way and another group the other way, and see which one works better. But those experiences, we share, through the retroverse. We publish them, like these three papers. The top one is about environmental education and awareness. The level of the country (?) and the occupation. That one is out this month, by the way. The other two that were published earlier this year, we are using it for ecosystem services and for environmental conservation. And this acts as models for other countries to emulate, we actually have interest from Jordan, from Kenya, from Nepal. And the middle paper which was an earlier one published in April. There’s a lot of interest in what we are doing and people to try and learn from our experiences. The bird on the left, by the way, is a palestinian sunbird, that’s a national bird from Palestine. It’s the smallest bird we have. And I think, that’s actually very appropriate. Some countries like to have their national bird [inaudible] especially eating the [inaudible] eagles most of them eat dead animals. But we like our things small.

So we do a lot of work. Maybe the video will show you some of it. I will skip through some of this. This is all about the museum. The museum garden by the way has become like an oasis. We have a fox family living in our garden. And it’s very nice. We have a pool now and a river, and started hunting our fish which is fun also. We had the official opening in April, this is from the official opening. We have solar panels installed so we don’t depend on electricity from the Israelis. All of this was done by volunteer efforts, well most of it. I have three employees. Last year, I had three employees. I am not one of them by the way. Me and my wife, are both full time volunteers at the museum seven days a week, fifteen hours a day. But we are not the Smithsonian, if you can and visit, don’t expect too much. We do have some exhibits and some of them are very interesting. For example, we have a good collection of geology and paleontology specimens but most of all we interact with kids in a way that makes them think and use their mind. For example, this kid is thinking how a scorpion feels with this heavy legs and objects hanging on it. Or by touching things, discovering how life cycle of an insect is. Or by recycling. You know, I don’t have a gift shop like the Smithsonian gift shop, because most kids can’t afford to buy anything else and we can’t afford to import all of these gifts from China, by the way, most of the things here in the museum. But anyway, so we have them make their gifts and their own stuff by recycling trash, plastics. They make very nice things, impressive things. And, also paper. So education, it’s hands on, the kids enjoy it.

This mural, by the way, in the background was painted by an American volunteer who came with us and it’s the largest mural she painted. It actually continues on the building, on the other side. By touching, feeling, experimenting. Here, a kindergarten kid is wearing a butterfly costume to think about what a butterfly thinks etc. We take kids to the field, we educate them in the field etc. Now, our vision is illustrated here. Stage One is completed we had our opening in April. Stage Two, we will open a botanical garden and integrated ecosystem on about three and a half acres that we have in April 2018. Stage Three, maybe this is ambitious, we will have a green building by then. And overlapping the stages, we have building institute of sustainability [from] which we start to offer diplomas, master’s programs, etc. In terms of the green building, we had a competition of our architecture students, at a Palestinian university, to give us designs and ideas and this is the winning design. This is from the presentation of the winning design. The land shown in the left is what we have now and this is their vision of what it would look like. And this the inside, and this is what we hope to do. Only two million dollars, we can do this.

Now, this is to remind me to say this. I came back to Palestine in 2008, I left the six figure income in the US. I was a professor at the medical school at Yale University, for a while before that Duke University, and I went back to Palestine, exercising my own right to return, if you want. My income at best – the best year I had – was $7000. I just teach a couple of courses here and there. I don’t want to teach full time. If I teach full time, it will $15000. But you can see, this is sacrifice. No, I’m sorry. It was the best decision of my life. I have not been happier in my life in what I have been doing in the past few years. There are people who sacrifice, and since I came back in 2008, I actually lost 19 friends of mine, 19 friends of mine. Imagine if you count 19 friends of yours that are lost to Israeli violence. This is the last one I lost. He’s Basim Al-Araj, he’s a very good friend of mine. He was 21 years old when I first met him and I gave him a copy of my book on popular resistance in Arabic. He read it and came back to me two weeks later and he had a bunch of questions to ask me. He’s the most brilliant guy you can imagine. Here, he is with me and a group of other people, when we were about to board the bus. We called it the Palestine Freedom Riders: the idea was to show Israeli racism, Israeli discrimination. My family is Christian. Showing why can’t we go to our holy sites, whereas any Jew in the world can come to Palestine, settle in Bethlehem or Ramallah or anywhere else they choose to settle, and freely move about the country. It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make logic. It’s racism. By the way, even with my American passport, I am not allowed in East Jerusalem, even the Arab part. This is the racism that’s inherent in that system. Anyway, we were arrested, drugged out of the bus, and later Bassim was killed. I was arrested a few times, but usually I look at those as good opportunities to educate the soldiers. That’s part of the reason why they release me very quickly, so I never got to entertain myself in prison. There was one time where they kept me a couple of nights, and during those times, we started planning that I would teach them English and they would teach me Hebrew. We made the schedule and everything else, and then they came and said “Yalla”, I said: “Shit, I have to leave. I just made plans.” Anyways, I will stop here. I will show you a short video and then we can take some questions. I hope I didn’t take too long.