Here is the link of my interview with People United from July 28, 2015 and broadcast on July 31, 2015:

(FYI, the lecture I delivered last year on Gaza can be found at:

Posted by: r.m. | July 30, 2015

latest audio interview: Palestine and more

FYI,

here is the link of an interview Said Fattouh of Arab Voices conducted with me yesterday

The direct link to the audio is http://www.arabvoices.net/archives/kpft_150729_190000av.mp3.  (Interview begins at 16.07)

Previous appearances on the show:

July 17, 2013:  http://www.arabvoices.net/archives/kpft_130717_190000av.mp3

August 20, 2003:  http://www.arabvoices.net/archives/arab_voices-082003_220000.mp3

Yes, we have a trash problem in Lebanon. Yes, we now have a serious trash problem in Beirut. (http://al-akhbar.com/node/238416)

[for pictures: click here]
So what should we do about it?

Groan and complain about the smell and the sight and “the coming of the plague” and just want it all to go away? Go away where?

– To be incinerated where it will be then transformed into poison and carcinogen? (See: http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/238317 about the dangers of incineration)

– Go to another landfill so it fills other people’s neighborhoods and upsets *their* lives and not ours because so long as we, in Beirut, don’t see and don’t smell it, then all is okay? Keep in mind that landfills are not designed properly, and thus impact environmental health and public health. Look at any of the 7 main landfills in Lebanon today – and you can see the dangers of these landfills. Case in point: look at Saida, where the UNDP was involved and the “management” of the landfill has resulted in further environmental damage!

– Throw more of our trash into the sea and then “reclaim” more land from the sea and create more economic profit for our rich real-estate millionaires and destroy more of our fragile Mediterranean Sea?

No. Let’s see it for what it is.

– a production of excess waste by ourselves, so a need to examine our own ways of life (Beirut and its neighborhoods produce up to 3000 tons/a day) (see: http://blogbaladi.com/five-ways-to-reduce-waste-until-the-garbage-crisis-is-over/ for ways to reduce our own personal garbage)

– a failure of government, truly. There was no surprise in this case; the government – every minister and every MP – knew of this situation. See this excellent interview with Bassam Kantarhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsshJKQGGQU&feature=youtu.be – as Kantar explains, the critical responsibility is to the Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR). Seven governments have all failed

– an economic corruption where the alleged-management of our waste by Sukleen is arguably the most expensive (and still failed) waste management in the world. The collection and disposal of waste in Beirut and Mount Lebanon currently costs $130 per ton of garbage. This is almost three times the $38 per ton paid in Amman, Jordan and astronomically larger than the $20 per ton paid in Cairo. See this one example of their corruption, in collusion with CDR – http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/11479 and here is another very brief reporthttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2015/Jan-17/284408-landfill-crisis-thrusts-sukleen-in-limelight.ashx) while look at this problem that Sweden now has: (http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/11/26/sweden-runs-out-of-garbage-only-1-ends-up-in-landfills/)

– a failure to realize that these waste are not really waste. Approximately 60-70% of our waste is organic waste — in other words, beautifully rich for compost! Furthermore, as Ziad Abichaker has shown – every bit of our waste in Lebanon (no exception) can be re-used or recycled. (See:https://www.facebook.com/ziad.abichaker.7/media_set?set=a.1594781204108347.1073741834.100007294476672&type=3 – As Ziad Abi Chaker writes: “As #Beirutdrowns in #garbage we are using that same #recycledgarbage to mount a #vertical #Greenwall at #Mayrig#Gemmayze 36,660 #plastic bags were transformed into#Ecoboard and used to make this wall…#compost from#Slaughterhouse waste was added to the growing media for maximum fertility…600 evergreen plants will be used in just 10 sq.mt … As of tomorrow, part of the #garbage #Beirut is drowning under these days will be on display at #mayrig #Gemmayze transformed into a fertile #Greenwall … that garbage making the city awful today will make it #green one day very very soon…and that’s a promise… #Recycling#sustainability #vertical #garden #urban

We have solutions available, wonderful solutions that would transform our waste into gardens, and lead to ZERO landfills and ZERO incinerators. Let’s push for that route.

In the meantime, see this link for recycling centers:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152843422171582&set=pcb.10152843422436582&type=1&theater

Posted by: r.m. | February 23, 2015

Touring England talking about #BDS and #Palestine

FYI – I’m touring #England from the 1st to the 4th of March – giving talks in

– Birmingham (https://www.facebook.com/groups/wmpsc/ ) ,

– London  – https://www.facebook.com/events/449480855201962

– Sheffield (https://www.facebook.com/events/1659999887560637/) ,

– and Manchester https://www.facebook.com/events/423939357768549 

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 3.41.23 PM

See attachment. ‪

Rania Masri England Tour (word document)

Posted by: r.m. | February 10, 2015

New course at AUB: Political Ecology and Social Change

I’m excited about this course that I’ve designed and that will be offered at AUB in the Fall as a graduate course: Political Ecology and Social Change: Focus on the Arab region.

Check it out, if you like New Course – Political ecology and social change – Syllabus

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Any comments?

It is Friday, and my promise is to only share good, uplifting news on Friday. This is one of the weeks when there is a bounty of good news.

Naturally, my thoughts go first to Greece‬. Beautiful, inspirational, revolutionary victory of Syriza‬. Greece – the place to go to *now,* to breath in the air of hope and powerful organizing. As my friend Nicola Cosmi said, “inspiration is good, imagination is better, action is best!” Here’s to action!

Check these links on how #Syriza organized:

(1) ‘Hope begins today’: the inside story of Syriza’s rise to power (The Guardian)

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.54.09 PM

 and

(2) this three-part expose by video journalist Matthew Cassel on AJ+

Inside Syriza: Part 1 – Tortured By Austerity 

Inside Syriza: Part 2 – Organized Radicals

and

Inside Syriza: Part 3 – Victory In Greece

Then, I think of the retaliatory targeting of an occupying Israeli military convoy in the occupied Sheba’a Farms by Hezbollah on the 28th of January. A well-organized, well-executed, and empowering move. بيان رقم واحد (which I discussed here, on a debate on Press TV)Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.56.39 PM

Jamal Ghosn dissects further here .. He wrote:

“What happened today in the Shebaa Farms is that a resistance faction has accumulated the strength and experience to retaliate proportionally against an occupier’s aggression. An eye for an eye, of sorts.

But this is not the war.

The “Middle East Conflict” started with occupation and ethnic cleansing. It will only end with liberation and the return of refugees. That is the war.”

Then, there is this fighting-back spirit by the consistent and amazing Steven Salaita. Yesterday, he filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Chicago against University of Illinois officials and several university donors over the decision by administrators last August to revoke his appointment.

According to the Electronic Intifada:

The lawsuit alleges a wide range of illegal conduct before and after university officials named in the suit “suddenly and summarily dismissed” Salaita from “a tenured faculty position” for “voicing his views.”

Salaita is seeking reinstatement and unspecified monetary damages and other relief for violations of his constitutional rights, breach of contract, wrongful interference with contractual relations and “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

“My primary motivation in bringing this suit is to join my colleagues in the American Indian Studies program and begin teaching,” Salaita said in a media conference call with his lawyers shortly after the suit was filed.

“I do not want [the university’s] illegal actions to become the norm in US universities,” Salaita added.

The Intercept has a more direct headline: Professor Fired for Criticizing Israel Files Lawsuit Against University of Illinois,  and the staff at Common Dreams hit it even more directly in their coverage of this news story:  ‘Uncivil’: Professor Sues University For Free Speech Rights. ‘There is neither a ‘civility’ exception nor a ‘Palestine’ exception to the First Amendment,’ says attorney

And that’s only a quick look of the power of organization, persistence, and resilience! The fighting spirit lives on.

Your turn. What is your inspirational story from this week? 

Posted by: r.m. | December 17, 2014

Public Speaking Workshop for activists in Lebanon

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Asfari Institute Open Public Speaking Workshop

Posted by: r.m. | December 9, 2014

We are not disposable. We are alive. We resist.

We are not disposable.
Our lives our not disposable.

From those who work in the sweatshops around the world,
to those forced from the crippled public school system in US cities to the privatized, money-making, forced -labor prison system,
to the working class forced into a state of criminalized homelessness and poverty

From those who are deemed lesser by racism, empowered by capitalism,
from those of us in Palestine to Yemen to Afghanistan to Mexico,
from our communities of color in the United States, from black, brown, from African-Americans and First Nation communities

From the millions of refugees – forced from their homes due to military violence, economic violence, or climate change violence
from the Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi refugees
from all who risk their lives on rickety boats and across dangerous, artificial borders
to the millions of climate change refugees to come when their land drowns

We scream out, again and again,
We are not disposable.

Our lives our not disposable.
Our lives matter.
We are not collateral damage.

B4NpGFKCYAIqX3w.jpg-large

We are alive. We are rising.
We are the many.
We resist. We are resisting.

There will come a day when rationality will reign,
when this irrationality of violence and poverty and racism will be dust,

and the sunlight of freedom and justice and equality will be supreme.

We are alive.

We resist.

We rejoice

Posted by: r.m. | December 3, 2014

Literature, Resistance, Hope – and Palestine

In literature, there is humanity.

In Palestinian literature, there is resistance.  And more so, there is existence.

Golda Meir stated that if the Palestinians were a people, then they would have literature.  No one now can claim that we do not have literature. Palestinian literature has been vibrant for hundreds of years, before the Nakba, and ever since. Just as the fighters resist with stones and weapons, Palestinian writers resist with their writings.

And in such existence, there is hope.

Wasafiri literary magazine‘s new issue is devoted to Palestinian literature, entitled Beautiful Resistance.  You can access it either on  Wasafiri site, or on this site, or, if your institution does not subscribe to either service, then you can also access it here, on this dropbox folder that I’ve created which has all the articles in the journal. Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 9.16.09 AM

Enjoy the articles, the fiction, the poetry, and the artwork.

Want to understand the attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem today?

First, understand that Jerusalem is occupied. The land is not “disputed” or “contested.” It is occupied.

Second, recognize that human rights violations continue – on a daily – basis against Palestinians, both in occupied Jerusalem and in the larger occupied West Bank (as well as within “Israel” and, of course, in Gaza).
-Homes are demolished, again and again. From 1999 to May 2014, almost 1,000 homes in occupied Jerusalem were demolished, leaving more than 2,028 Palestinians house-less.
-Children – children! – are detained and shot by the Israeli military. Example: Two days ago, Israeli military officials defended the attack of a 10-year-old Palestinian boy at the Kissufim checkpoint, after troops shot him in the neck for “loitering.” Israeli military confirm that shooting the child in the neck for “loitering” was consistent with the military protocol.
– People are lynched, shot, tortured, injured – on a regular basis.
– Land is continually stolen. Israel plans to build 500 new colonies – leading to the expulsion of 1,000 Palestinians from their homes and their lands!
– Lives regularly dehumanized. Attacks against Palestinians are dismissed by the international media, although they are institutionalized, systemic, and stem from the dominant power structure. (What about you? Did you raise a flag as to the regular killings of Palestinians?)
– Decent living standards deliberately denied. 75% of the Palestinian Jerusalemites live below the poverty line. Plus, since early June of this year, Palestinian neighborhoods have been regularly flooded with tear gas, skunk water, and drones.
– Residency rights for Palestinian Jerusalemites are denied (while any Jew can live there). On average, since 1967, 200 Palestinians have been denied their residency rights in Jerusalem. More than 14,309 Palestinians have been denied their residency rights since 1967. This is ethnic cleansing.
Apartheid strengthened. Institutionalized!

Third, recognize that these human rights violations are supported by the institutions within Israel – from military, to settlers, to media, to universities. Example: Israeli settlers lynch a Palestinian driver, Hassan Yousef Rammouni, 32, and father of two children, in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli authorities respond by prohibiting Hassan’s family from taking his body until they sign a paper declaring that Hassan committed suicide. Example: Israeli forces fail to probe 83% of settler violence cases — rights group. Example: Israeli settlers regularly “hit-and-run” Palestinians and no charged are imposed on them; all are regarded as mere “accidents.”

Fourth, refuse to decontextualize this act from the ongoing occupation. It CANNOT be separated.

Fifth, it honestly doesn’t matter if you personally support or condemn the attack, if you stand with liberation and justice, then stand with the occupied people’s right to resist, stand with the struggle, stand against occupation and apartheid.

Sixth, what happened today in the synagogue has a name: it is called armed resistance against occupation.

Seventh, still having difficulty? Well – did you support the French resistance against the Nazi occupation?

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