I have lived in the US for 29 years and am currently visiting this large and still prosperous but perilously indebted country ($16 trillion in debt). I landed at New York’s JF Kennedy airport named after perhaps the only president who could have put a stop to the decline of the US into an Israeli occupied territory engaged in endless wars that bankrupted the economy. Since then I was, like the 320 million residents of this country, bombarded with media advertising and popular culture that promotes Zionism and tries to numb the people about what is really going on. Zionist Rupert Murdoch’s media empire still dominates the airwaves with “Fox News”. Talking heads stoke emotions of fear especially of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Zionist backed think tanks and lobby groups like “The Council for Foreign Relations” pedal a war on Iran just like they did a war on Iraq (compare CFR “Time to attack Iran” http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136917/matthew-kroenig/time-to-attack-iran with “Next Stop Baghdad” http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/57805/kenneth-m-pollack/next-stop-baghdad ). But America is also a great land of great people. Last night I attended a gathering of Jersey City Peace movement where they honored many good people including my friend Rich Siegel and his new album “The Way to Peace” (http://www.richsiegel.com/).
Since the letter to President Clinton in 1998 asking for Regime Change in Iraq signed by 15 neocons and Zionists (http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm), the national debt has nearly doubled. Since then over one million civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan were killed. Since then, tens of thousands of new Israeli settlers moved to live on Palestinian lands contrary to International law. Since then, natural disasters and man-made disasters claimed so many lives. But since then millions of points of light shone brightly: good deeds by good people working for the common good.
In looking back, I would say 2011 was one of the better years though much of the work remains to be completed in 2012. 2011 brought the revolutionary changes that swept across the Arab world and that portend for democratization (long overdue) that would be good not only for the people of those countries but also for the cause of peace and justice in Palestine and beyond. (This despite the US-government led counter-revolutionary push in Libya and now Syria while cajoling dictators in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia). 2011 saw the final realization that the two-state “solution” in Palestine is a mirage dissipated by continued colonial activity and by a series of racist laws introduced in the Israeli Knesset. The year saw mass movement of Palestinians and others to enter Palestine (e.g. on Nakba Day and in July). We also saw a Palestinian UN bid begin (though now suspended). We saw attempts are putting the Palestinian house in order (though yet incomplete). I could go on but each of us could continue.
On a personal level, I lost good friends and colleagues (Vittorio Arrigoni, Jawaher Aburahma, Mustapha Tamimi, Juliano Mer-Khamis and many more). I was arrested a few times, saw my last book out (on Popular resistance) and widely used, started two new books that are almost finished, graduated my first two masters students at Bethlehem University (with good publishable research), and we collectively accomplished much more for the cause of human rights and justice. We are grateful for hundreds of friends around the world who work to challenge apathy, promote human rights, and work for justice. My thoughts at the beginning of 2012 are similar to my thoughts at the beginning of 2011 but with even more optimism (see my notes January 2011 here http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/01/mazin-qumsiyeh-tunisia-and-reshaping-the-arab-world/ ). The work will only get more in 2012.
Upcoming Events of my tour (US, Italy, Belgium)
Popular Resistance in Palestine/Refusing to be Enemies
Mazin B. Qumsiyeh / Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta
Reviewed by Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco; author, with Jacob Mundy, of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010); nPluto Press, 2011. 290 pages. $30.00, paperback / Ithaca Press, 2011. 526 pages. $24.95, hardcover
Rebuilding a Wall, Stone by Stone
Palestinians told to dance to shake off Gaza stress
Happy New Year 2012 to all humanity on our shared little blue planet