Mazin Qumsiyeh – Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met

Mazin Qumsiyeh, 26 April 2017. Today all of Palestine is on strike in
solidarity with the fasting prisoners and tomorrow is a day of indignation,
demonstrations, and confrontations with the occupiers. Bethlehem is a ghost
town and all shops and public transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters
are in the skies. [Volunteers
came to museum and we are taking a group on tour of the wall and impact of
settlements n the environment because this is not work but resistance].
Tomorrow is a day of demonstrations and confrontations. In this message I just
want to reflect on why this is very important.

day we encounter greedy people focused on their own needs and unhealthy
desires. How many cheated us? How many come around us because they want some
material interest? How many corrupt politicians we know? How many people we
know turned out to be kinder and gentler and more self sacrificing than we
thought? How many turned out more mean, more selfish, more sadistic? Looking at
the world in this fashion (some would claim it is seeing reality) can be truly
dispiriting. It can remove any remaining humanity in many people. But then
comes a prisoner hunger strike! It sounds small but it touches a cord in human
beings bigger than any other and I will argue it is the way to reclaim our
Palestinians and their friends around the world show solidarity with over 1800
Palestinian political prisoners who are on their 11th day of hunger strike.
Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are
met (basic decent treatment in prison based on international law). It sounds
simple but this is a profound even in Palestinian and human history. The price
one pays for resistance is injury, death or imprisonment. It is the antithesis
of selfishness and greed.
Palestinians tasted life in prison and today almost 7000 are there in the
colonial apartheid Israeli prisons. While everyone knows this, the hunger
strike brought the prisoners’ message home to all – rich and poor, greedy and
self-sacrificing, honest and liar. This message is nothing short of that we
humans must reconnect to our humanity and that caring for others is the way to
save humanity. In this 21st century with weapons of mass destruction and
climate change, we cannot afford as a species to do otherwise. Prisoners show
us the way like many decent human beings showed us the way before (think of
Jesus and prophets and revolutionaries like Che Guevera). But the alarm bells
for us are now alarm bells for a dying species unless we act. It is more urgent
than ever in our short history on earth. We really have a choice to make and it
is both an individual and a collective choice. That choice is to either accept
war and greed as “natural” and follow the other human lemmings over
the cliff OR resist and give of ourselves as a way to save humanity.  Mahatma Gandhi used hunger strike to refocus
people away from greed and selfishness to caring for each other. Hunger is
painful and people will die sooner or later unless we all act. What is at stake
is very high: our own self-respect (dignity) as human beings. But as the world
changed, the danger is that we can also go extinct as a species unless we
manage to collectively transcend a huge baggage of greed, colonialism, and  capitalism that cannot be sustained in the
21st century. Palestinian prisoners by their silent deeds of self-sacrifice
have shown us the way. As did martyrs like Basil Al-Araj who simply noted that
in his extremely short last words on paper: there is no more eloquant speech
than the deed of the Martyr.
Gibran wrote in “The Prophet” 1923: “You give but little when you
give of your possessions; it is when you give of yourself that you truly
give.  For what are your possessions but
things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?  And what is fear of need but need itself.”
The prisoners and the martyrs gave silently of themselves. For the rest of us,
where we stand today and tomorrow will say a lot about who we are.
is a relevant article I wrote seven years ago “The Savior in Each of
ProMosaik video about the poem by Mazin Qumsiyeh: Facing Life.