I came to Gaza in September to teach environmental engineering students about climate change. In two weeks, I will be leaving Gaza and I’m feeling very sad.
I have made many new friends; experienced Israeli bombardment for 8 days in November; and witnessed the human suffering, physical destruction and the environmental damage in this conflict zone. This summer I plan to write about it all. InshAllah!
During my time in Gaza I have met with government officials who are interested in learning about the challenges they face in this new era of climate change. Some responded that “Allah will take care of it.” I guess those people are the climate deniers, like the ones we have in the USA.
Others said that “the Israeli occupation and siege force us to look at more immediate crises. How can we turn our attention to climate change?” And some have ideas about the next steps (adaptation to climate change) that they should take to prepare their citizens for what is surely coming.
Gaza is in the cross-hairs of three major crises, any one of which would be devastating, but combined, they are unimaginable.
(1) The dire consequences of occupation and a multi-year economic, political and cultural siege that has no end in sight.
(2) The enormous environmental threats — water and air pollution at the top of the list.
(3) Climate change!
It doesn’t seem fair that 1.7 million Palestinians caught in the world’s largest open air prison should have to even think about climate change.
But life isn’t fair.
And now on my return to the States, I wonder if I’ll be greeted at the airport by my family or by federal agents.
And what rights will I have if the federal agents detain me?
You think I’m crazy? Read this current interview with Noam Chomsky about the erosion of our civil rights.
[Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project] was a law group that was giving legal advice to groups on the terrorist list, which in itself has no moral or legal justification; it’s an abomination. But if you look at the way it’s been used, it becomes even more abhorrent (Nelson Mandela was on it until a couple of years ago.) And the wording of the colloquy is broad enough that it could very well mean that if, say, you meet with someone in a terrorist group and advise them to turn to nonviolent means, then that’s material assistance to terrorism. I’ve met with people who are on the list and will continue to do so, and Obama wants to criminalize that, which is a plain attack on freedom of speech. I just don’t understand why he’s doing it.
If an American meets with officials in Gaza, undoubtedly Hamas officials, to discuss climate change, is she providing “material assistance to terrorism“?
I’ll tell you who is materially assisting terrorism! American taxpayers who are funding the Israeli occupation to the tune of $3 billion each year.
In any case, I know I’m in good company. Noam Chomsky visited Gaza last November days before the bombardment and met with Hamas officials.
If my blog posts are interrupted for more than a week, call media and tell them to check Quantanamo. That’s probably where you’ll find me.