Author Archives: Elza

"Ana Falistini" — I am Palestinian!

Dr. Don Beck addressing 700 Palestinian Leaders mostly from Fatah at the Nation-Building Convention Feb. 2, 2008. In his speech to the Fatah 21 Movement, Dr. Beck focused on the theme “Palestine 21, Palestine first!”

“For the political ‘Road Map’ involving Israel and Palestine to be successful,
the ‘Palestinian Development Map’ must first be implemented.”

A Palestinian Nation Building Movement for the 21st Century

A Palestinian nation-building movement for the 21st Century has been born.

(click on any photo to enlarge)

Close to 700 Palestinians came together earlier this month in Bethlehem, the West Bank “city of new beginnings” in Palestine, to plan their own future.

Sponsored by The Center for Human Emergence Middle East, the event inaugurated the “Palestine 21” project which aims to empower Palestinian citizens to design their own state.

The convention was organized by Palestinian leaders inspired by the geopolitical work of Dr. Don Beck, the American founder of the Global Center for Human Emergence (CHE).

“For the political ‘Road Map’ involving Israel and Palestine to be successful, the ‘Palestinian Development Map’ must first be implemented,” Dr. Beck said at the event.

Palestinian participants traveled by bus from Jericho, Qalqyliah, Tulkarm , Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Jerusalem, spending long hours at checkpoints throughout the West Bank.

Elza Maalouf , the Arab-American CEO of CHE Middle East, opened the event, saying “’Palestine 21’ fits within our overall plan to support human and societal emergence in our region, and Palestinians, together with other Arabs, will lead the way.

“It is an honor and a deep source of happiness for me to partner in the Middle East with Dr. Beck, a world-renowned expert on human and societal emergence, “ Ms. Maalouf added. “His work was field-tested during the South African transition from Apartheid and will greatly benefit the transition to nationhood in Palestine.”

Nafiz Rifaee, the Palestinian leader who designed and organized the event with the help of a team of dedicated men and women, urged the audience to focus on the future of their children and the future of Palestine. “This all started when Dr. Beck asked us how were we going to spend the seven billion dollars coming from donor countries. Do we have a sustainable plan for development? Or will the financial aid follow the usual channels?” Mr. Rifaee recalled.

The walls of the convention room at the Shepherd Hotel in Bethlehem were plastered with large sheets of paper filled with the people’s personal ideas and aspirations for their beloved Palestine. Recommendations included the design of a First World public school system, world-class universities, an eco-sensitive transportation plan, universal health care, and representative government.

The full list of suggestions is being compiled in a booklet which will be presented to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, President George W. Bush, Special Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair, and the United Nations.

News from our Middle East trip Jan/Feb 2008

Just a short note to let you know that Dr. Don Beck and I have just returned from the Middle East where we have some very exciting news, pictures, audio, and videos that we will start sharing with you here and elsewhere on this website.

This video taken by Dr. Beck shows Elza on February 2, 2008 addressing 700 Fatah members at the Palestine21 meeting in Bethlehem. They came from Janin, Tulkarm, Nablus, Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron/Al Khalil, Qalqilyah and Jerusalem.

Please check back regularly over the next days and weeks.

Thank you,
Elza

What Should Bush Do in Palestine?

(This article was sent as an Op-Ed to the New York Times and Dallas Morning News)

When Air Force One soars across the Mediterranean shoreline and touches down at Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel, President George W. Bush’s team had a great deal to “see” through the plane’s windows. Tel Aviv is only 20 km to the South. Palestinian Territories are less 10 km away. Most first-time visitors are shocked at how compact and interwoven everything is.

But, we are interested in what the White House party “sees” in terms of value systems, cultural dynamics, and below-the-surface priorities and mindsets of the people who live landing the various regions. Because what they will “see” will shape and determine what they “do,” and whether the trip will be a success, or yet another visit by an American President looking for a legacy. There is a long list of those.

So, how do we Americans leave a lasting impression on the hearts and minds in the Middle East long after an administration leaves the White House? If Bush and his advisors are trapped in ethnic or religious stereotypes, or limited by economic and political models that grew out of the American experience, they will be “blind” to the realities they are about to encounter. After Karen Hughes spent close to a billion dollars on “image” alone, in that region, there’s still no improvement on how the U.S. is perceived. Welcome to Tower of Babel II.

If you are interested in a fresh approach, one that shifts the conversation to a different level and generates authentic “breakthrough” solutions, you, too, will need to “see” through different eyes. The question then becomes, how do we do this?

WHY WE PLACE EMPHASIS ON CULTURE

The two of us have spent considerable time in the region. We have made presentations across the entire political spectrum, including groups in the West Bank. We present in English, Arabic and Hebrew. In February, we will be working on a reform plan for the Fatah Movement with leaders from the Third Generation and members of the Committee.

We are advocates of a new discipline we call “Natural Design” that builds solutions based on an assessment of the deeper “codes” that are embedded in each culture, and the unique anatomy of the conflict. This was the approach we developed during the transformation out of apartheid in South Africa, and reflects five decades of academic research and field-testing (in hot zones) all over the planet.

Cultures consist of a series of belief systems, a kaleidoscope of world views that emerge in societies over time. Human nature is not a fixed type. People and cultures do indeed change when life conditions warrant. These belief systems are “bottom-lines” which define what matters most to a group of people at any given time. They explain the differences between our “Red” and “Blue” states, and hold the key to recognizing the characteristics of cultures that are “development-prone” vs. those that are “development-adverse.” And, more than anything else, they define the major political and economic gaps between Israel and Palestine. It is not about religion after all.

First, it is critical to develop a “cross-sectional view” of the conflicting cultures, both within each of the two societies, and between them as well.

If you walk around Israel, certainly in Jerusalem and all over the West Bank, you can “see” these cultural codes. Many people are living in basic survival conditions just to stay alive. Others have bonded in tribes, families, and ethnic origins, full of relics and rituals to stay in contact with their ancestral histories. You can detect quickly the code of the Warrior, as expressed in gangs and power-driven empires scattered everywhere, ready to fight.

Then there are True Believers of many different stripes and hues, especially visible around religious and nationalistic cores, willing to die for their cause and sometimes demanding that you do so as well. They often attack and demonize each other in the name of their religious brand and respective deities. At the same time, Materialists, seeking the good life here and now, are abundant in Israel; and the number is growing, especially in young Palestinians. They carry cell phones, are constantly on the Internet, and have no interest in fighting historic battles.

And you will also find a growing number who embrace a humanistic perspective that transcends ethnic or religious categories, and who are the strongest advocates for peace and understanding.

These are the differences that express competitive political views in the elections, or cluster around specific leadership styles, or have totally contrasting perspectives on where boundary lines should be drawn, and who should control what.

Second, all of the resources and stakeholders need to be focused like laser beams on steps to be taken to build a new state.

There are 4,000 NGOs in Palestine alone. Efforts are ad hoc, piecemeal, fragmented, vulnerable to corruption, and inevitably competitive. We propose the creation of a Center for Integration that will mesh, align, and synergize all of the resources to focus them like laser beams on the steps and stages of emergence, utilizing the concepts of our Natural Design framework. With the promise of billions of dollars to flow into the Palestinian Territories, it is essential that those resources be managed and distributed in a systemic fashion. The social infrastructures that are being developed in the minds and cultures of the people need to be optimized to prepare Palestinians for the new job opportunities, and fresh access to resources, that are ready to emerge.

By using Natural Design principles and processes, we believe we can assist the New Palestine to be brought to life by offering Palestinians healthy ways to take charge of their own future.

Third, a future vision should lift everyone from the paralysis of the past, one that creates “The Hong Kong of the Middle East.”

The future must play a more important role than the past in shaping the present. The only way to persuade people to dissolve frozen positions, or stop hiding behind rigid beliefs, is to offer something that is so attractive and so promising that it raises hope releases a spirit of collaboration, rather than confrontation. We have raised these prospects with a number of Palestinians, and the responses have been most positive. Mustapha, a young promising Fatah leader, told us “I want us to build exceptional Palestinian Universities that will attract students from every Arab country.” Exposure to the principles and tools of Natural Design helped to create this response. They had to become Visionaries. Now they will launch a campaign with the slogan “No Politics, No Religion… Only Computers.”

We believe this future vision is now possible in both Israel and Palestine. It will take patience and good will, with the collective actions and technological knowledge of people from all sides to propel this vision into reality.

And, the rest of the world can wish for their children and grandchildren a better world as well as help and encourage their vision, because what happens in that cradle of the world’s religions impacts us all.

We have had the Dogs of War, and the Doves of Peace. Welcome now the Visionaries of the Future. President Bush needs to find these Visionaries and lift up their hands and hearts.

Don Edward Beck, Ph.D.
Founder, Global Center for Human Emergence.

Elza Maalouf
President of the Center for Human Emergence, Middle East.

A Close-Up of Syrian Culture: an Integral Perspective

I just came back from a trip to Syria where I had a closer view of the vMemetic (Value-systems) structure of Syrian society. Consulting on a project with the EU, in Bosra-Syria, I was privileged to have access to a cross-section of the Syrian society, and have a closer look at what is really emerging in a culture that remains perplexing to most Westerners…

Integral Perspective on Syria

As the Arab world becomes less and less relevant to the political decision making process on the international scene, Syria is constantly positioning itself as the Arab country that holds a “semblance of power” and a well crafted role in balancing influence in the region.

The major powers in the Middle East region are not Arabs at this point; Iran, Israel and Turkey are the countries that matter most to the Middle East Quartet. I am bewildered every time I read about the Quartet meeting to discuss the future of Arab related issues (Iraq, Palestine…) without Arab partners present as an integral part of the Quartet or the Quintet if need be…

In the midst of such Arab political irrelevance, what kind of power does Syria hold? That is questionable…Syria’s notorious influence in Lebanon and Iraq and its alliance with Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Sunni Baathist in Iraq, enables it to guarantee a seat at any negotiation table about the future of the region.

Of course Syria has its own share of internal and external political and economic problems: facing political alienations from its former Arab allies, the loss of a major source of income from highly lucrative deals done through Lebanese individuals and institutions, a growing influence to the opposition inside Syria and a well organized opposition in the West threatening to overthrow the current regime. All this is further exacerbated by the influx of refugees from Iraq. Their impact on the country’s social and economic fabric have stressed Syria’s resources with very little help coming from outside.

Integral Perspective.To look at Syria from a flatland/linear perspective, we can only repeat what the world media is voicing about this country, and most of it is true. However, the integral framework helps us use multi-coloured lenses to assess the deeper issues and successes of a country that co-led the Arab Nationalist movement, fought wars with Israel, and occupied Lebanon for more than 30 years. All that while improving its educational system, introducing technology and innovation, and opening its tourism doors to the rest of the world.

Strategic Alliances: it is said that Syria’s alliance with Iran is a marriage of convenience. I am not so sure about that. Iran subsidizes almost $1 Billion worth of oil to Syria. Iranian engineers helped Syrians start their first car manufacturing plant. Soon Syrians will be driving a Syrian made car, leading the Arab world in a new revolution, the kind of technological revolution needed in every Arab country. Iranian tourists flock to Syria to visit sacred Shiite sites as well as to enjoy its beaches and mountains. European Union NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) are financing various development projects in municipalities all over Syria, and contributing money and expertise to the success of cultural and educational projects. Bi-lateral relations between Syria and China expanded to having Syria as a tourist destination to Chinese. Kuwait and Dubai pledged to boost tourism and financial ties with Syria.

Internally, Bashar Al-Assad is hailed by young people as the modernizer of Syria. The Syrians see that their leader is taking half-steps –undeniably solid ones- towards a better future. He introduced information technology to all the ministries and schools in Syria, imposed mandatory education to eliminate illiteracy, and attracted foreign investments to the country. The Syrians in general are very patriotic, be it they admire Assad or despise him, they have a love and pride of their country that is to be admired.

I am not trying to draw a rosy picture of a dictatorial regime that oppresses political freedom, and controls the media. However, the Syrian cultural value-systems are threads of the cultural fabric in the region. Tribal and neighbourhood loyalties surpass national loyalties and duties. In many Arab cultures, when voting for a mayor or a member of parliament, family and tribal bonds take priority -in many cases- over the aptitude and eligibility of the candidate.

Spiral Dynamics integral framework advocates a stratified approach to ruling countries and the concept of democracy. Instead of a one size fits all style of governing, Dr. Don Beck writes:

Democracy or “rule by the people” can take many different forms and expressions. These are influenced by the natural habitat, the patterns of genetic and memetic migration, the unique set of life conditions, the impact of wild cards, the mesh of people and cultures, and the quality of leadership in all aspects of society itself.
These Systems and Structures emerge in response to the unique set of problems of existence in each society. Movement may occur in the direction of greater
complexity or less; there is no ideal or universal form; attempts to impose the model from one set of circumstances onto others are futile.”

In Syria’s case, applying a Western style democracy would have a disastrous effect. We see what happened in Iraq when the ‘coalition’ forces tried to bring such style of democracy. The next step for Syria can be stronger governmental institutions devoid of corruption, and the rule of law where every citizen is equal under the law. Tribal centred societies (Purple), tend to have “Power Gods” (Red) leaders whose leadership style is based on intimidation, force and coercion. To move the rule to the hands of institutions (Blue) will be an appropriate next step.

When an unchallenged super-power like the United States, represented by the current Bush-Cheney administration, decides what are the next steps in dealing with Syria, it behoves them to re-assess the Iraqi experience through a Stratified model for democracy and prevent another collapse of a major power in the region.

A closer look at the different models that could emerge in the Middle East region, will be discussed in greater detail in future articles.

If you would like to send in your comments or questions on Syria, we will be publishing a Q&A in an upcoming Blog.

You can read about the Integral work we did in Syria with the EU-project SHAMS in Bosra-Syria here http://www.humanemergencemiddleeast.org/meshworks-syria.php

A New Approach to "Giving" and Philanthropy

Dr. Don Beck wrote a timely piece about the different types of Philanthropic foundations with a specific focus on the newly emerging form called “MeshWORKS.”

Beck says: “Different foundations exist for different reasons, and serve multiple purposes for the people who create them, the folks who manage them, and the populations and causes they were designed to serve. Historically, foundations can be grouped into six overlapping categories. Each category has a different core motivation and priority for existence, with different reasons that “matter most.”

The Meshworks Foundation: A New Approach to Philanthropy

“Giving: How each of us can change the world,” is the highly acclaimed book written by Bill Clinton. The description of the book on Amazon.com says “Clinton shares his own experiences and those of other givers, representing a global flood tide of nongovernmental, nonprofit activity. These remarkable stories demonstrate that gifts of time, skills, things, and ideas are as important and effective as contributions of money. From Bill and Melinda Gates to a six-year-old California girl named McKenzie Steiner, who organized and supervised drives to clean up the beach in her community, Clinton introduces us to both well-known and unknown heroes of giving.”

The Fall 2007 issue of Stanford’s Social Innovation Review, names the 12 high-impact Nonprofits and the secret of their successes: enlisting and inspiring partners outside of their organizations, rather on focusing on strengthening their internal operations.

Everywhere you look these days, it seems that philanthropy and giving are becoming a theme in our cultural value-systems. The most talked about ‘giving’ in 2006, was Warren Buffet’s sizable donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And of course the generous giving that happened after the Tsunami in South Asia and Katrina.

For many entrepreneurs who made their fortune during the boom of the last decade, the new consumerism is evolving into social entrepreneurship. People who made a a fortune, large or small, and instead of buying more stocks, more yachts and more stuff, they now want to ‘buy’ and invest in a service that can help others in their neighborhood and all over the world. Many businessmen and women have started their own personal foundations that send money to Darfur, Peru and Nigeria or to programs in local schools and local non-profits. Large corporations have their charitable funds, and some are trying to be directly involved in the projects they are funding.

Dr. Don Beck wrote a timely piece about the different types of Philanthropic foundations with a specific focus on the newly emerging form called “MeshWORKS.”

Beck says: “Different foundations exist for different reasons, and serve multiple purposes for the people who create them, the folks who manage them, and the populations and causes they were designed to serve. Historically, foundations can be grouped into six overlapping categories. Each category has a different core motivation and priority for existence, with different reasons that “matter most.”

In the Seventh emerging category of Foundations, Dr. Beck talks about the “Third Win Purpose” … “a foundation that possesses an uncanny ability to morph itself to find rapport, identify with, and shape itself to connect with a number of different organizations, interest groups, political groupings,and professional societies…”

To read the full description of the emerging foundation please click here:

http://www.humanemergencemiddleeast.org/meshworks-foundation-philanthropy.html

From Syria To Singapore: Our Center’s Activities for July

Dr. Beck and I had a busy schedule in July. While Dr Beck’s presentations and meetings in many countries had a wider scope and focus on Global Change ” From Clash to Confluence of Civilizations,” with an emphasis on the most pressing issue of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the model we are co-designing with our Palestinian partners for Build Palestine Initiative. My presentations and meetings focused on the Emergence of Arab women and their vital role in solving Middle East problems, as well as the role of the affluent Arab community in London, and a starting project with the European Union in Syria.

Dr. Beck’s Presentations/Meetings:

July 9th in Aspen, Colorado: “Beliefs, Cultures and Values:How Spiral Dynamics Transforms Conflict and Finds Innovative Solutions in a Split World.” Dr Beck presented to a well informed crowd after attending the Festival of Ideas at the Aspen Institute. He was invited back to Aspen and to speak at the Aspen Institute’s Festival of Ideas next year. The integral group in Aspen set up brief meetings for Dr. Beck with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and many US leaders and world renowned philanthropists. They all showed great interest in the work we are doing in Palestine and in the fresh approach that the Spiral Dynamics’ framework can offer to solving the Middle East conundrum.

July 15th in Toronto, Canada: “Spiral Dynamics integral Application to Global Organizations.” Dr Beck met with business leaders in Toronto after the workshop and discussed with them Social Entrepreneurship. They expressed their genuine interest in supporting our Middle East initiatives.

July 17th in Singapore: Dr. Beck was invited by top leaders in the Government of Singapore to present his model and help with the design of an integral center to study the Singapore culture.

July 29-31 st in Minneapolis-Annual World Future Society Conference. “A Spiral Dynamics Perspective on Global Integration and Human Emergence.”

August 1st Ashland-Oregon, with Dr Jean Houston: Social Artistry Summer Leadership Institute

Elza Maalouf’s Presentations/Meetings:

July 14th, Dallas: Third International Women Peace Conference: Empowering Peacemakers.

Emergence of Arab Women in the Age of Fragmentation” In this international conference many Nobel Peace Laureates spoke about active peacemaking. Our presentation was attended by women from various backgrounds and cultures: Leaders from the Muslim communities in the US, from Africa, from different countries in the Middle East and peacemakers from all over the world. Dr. Hind Jarah, president of Texas Muslim Women Foundation, gave us the most touching feedback saying “Thank you. You spoke about us with dignity and a rare clarity that was missed in this conference. Most speakers tiptoed around the subject of Islam and the Arab world, but did not address it.” She added that that Spiral Dynamics integral gave a framework that respects the sensitivities in cultures while addressing the deeper issues beneath the surface beyond the “us and them” polarization. While many American women were well informed about Islam and the Arab world, and agreed that the issues the Middle East and the West are facing are not about religion, or ethnicity; some in the audience asked basic questions about why Muslim and Arab women wear the hijab. My answer to them was that ” we come in all shapes and dress in all kinds of garments. What matters is our value-systems and what we can offer to our culture and to the world.” And I had to repeat what a friend from the United Arab Emirates told me to convey to the West, saying “This is not a hijab over our Brain, it is just what we wear. We are educators, business women, doctors and mothers trying our best to provide a better world for our children.”

July 17-23rd London: Meetings with Leaders from the Arab Community in London where I presented the application of the SDi framework in Palestine and in Kuwait. They were all fascinated by this ‘fresh approach’ and wanted to know more about the theory and its application. More meetings and a fundraiser for our projects in the Middle East are scheduled for October as well as a presentation at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).

July 23-27th Bosra-Syria : a Partnership with the EU on a project in Bosra-Syria. The EU is sponsoring sustainability and development projects of many municipalities in Syria. The representative of the Municipalities of Rome and Belgium asked me to co-lead with them training and town meetings to further their projects with their Syrian partners in the city of Bosra. A more detailed account of the project and an assessment of the value-systems in Syria will be posted soon on the MeshWORKS in Syria page.

July 28th Kuwait: Integral Leadership and Application of Spiral Dynamics integral in Business.

July 29th London: Meeting with Young Arab Leaders to plan and fund a 10 day SDi and Natural Design training for young leaders from Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon.

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United Nations Presentation Met With Great Success…

Dr Beck Designs A United Nations Global Action Plan for Human Emergence & Elza Maalouf presents a Model for Palestine 21

On June 21st, 2007, Dr. Beck and I spoke at the Values-Caucus at the United Nations to a standing room only conference hall. Representatives of various Arab, African and Western missions, NGOs and UN agencies employees, nodded their heads in agreement with the emphasis that we put on the deeper reasons for conflict and poverty, and the deeper value-systems codes that produce such “us” vs. “them” polarities. Rather than the surface manifestation of clash between religions, ethnicity, races and nationalities, we showed how the integral framework examines the deeper cultural forces and tracks dynamic perceptual processes that detect deep underlying mindsets and motives.

Dr. Beck revealed–for the first time–his integral design strategy to support the UN’s Global work, offering a Five Fold Strategy that can systematically further the UN’s role in the emergence of cultures and nations in the world. With more than 30 years of scientific research and field testing his framework on all five continents to deflate conflicts and support development, Dr. Beck uncovered, what he calls, the master code that has the complexity to manage in a polylateral environment. The UN being one of the major bodies in the world, now, that needs to further its involvement in culturally complex environments to become a strong catalyst for change. Dr. Beck explained in his presentation that “the Master code has to accommodate bands, clans, tribes, empires, nations-cultures, enterprises, geo-tribes, and a host of other value-systems and memetic priorities. Likewise, it simply must mesh in the new knowledge on change and transformation that is seriously lacking in all other developmental models.”

A brief outline of The Five Fold Strategy for the United Nations Global Emergence Plan:

Strategy 1- Uncover the models and processes for Global emergence through steps, stages, waves and sequence of development
Strategy 2-Create the measuring monitoring research technology to detect the global vMemetic contours and early warning signs of danger
Strategy 3- Construct scaffolding of solutions that address the needs, wants and aspirations of people in different vMemetic zones
Strategy 4- Onto this vast amount of data, overlay an understanding of the dynamics of change in its many dimensions
Strategy 5- Design a macro-strategy for introducing superordinate goals into leadership structures and decision-making domains around the planet

After Dr. Beck presented his comprehensive, large-scale design, we proceeded to show how we are practically applying this design to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. For the last 2 years we have been working with Palestinians especially, to construct a scaffolding of solutions that are tailored to the various value-systems in Palestinian culture. We are working with leaders from different sectors of Palestinian society, especially young men and women who have demonstrated a great ability to lead change. We are designing the vision for Fatah 21, or 21st century Fatah, with leaders from the Third Generation of Fatah. A vision that will not only unite Fatah around shared values and goals, but also unite the Palestinian people around the most important superordinate goal- a successful Palestinian State. From Fatah 21 to Palestine 21 …

Frances Edwards, a board member of the Values-Caucus at the UN, who coordinated this presentation with United Nations personnel, is now following up with many ambassadors, missions and NGOs who showed interest in the approach, including the Syrian ambassador and the Netherlands, Kuwaiti and Peruvian missions. Frances’ unwavering support and active involvement with our work is a testimony to the UN’s openness to fresh approaches towards resolving world problems. The Values-Caucus at the UN, established in 1994 and under the leadership of Carl Murell, introduced to all bodies of the UN the distinctive need for stratified solutions based on value-systems in cultures, instead of the one-solution fits all models.

The next steps for our work with the United Nations will include major trainings on the Spiral Dynamics integral model and application as well as presentations to different boards, commissions, and councils on specific solution-design to enable confluence and emergence.

Guest Blog: By Maysa Gayyusi-Palestine Integral Committee-Ramallah

“I am burning inside and Gaza is burning outside”

Ula, my friend in Gaza, is now a terrified mother of three, hiding at her parent’s house and hovering over her children to protect them from harm. When I talked to her two days ago, her voice was trembling from shock and disbelief of what was happening in her hometown. With things going out of hand in Gaza, she found no one around to complain to, so she called me to share her despair and an almost primal fear for her kid’s life. For the first time since I have known Ula, she sounded hysterical and confused. “Maysa, I really don’t know what to do or where to go… When I cry I raise my eyes to the sky, it’s the only place where I can look and see no death or blood.” She said sobbingly on the phone. “ brothers are killing their brothers, Muslims are killing Muslims…in the name of what??”

As a Palestinian I am feeling angry and appalled by what is happening in Gaza. This fighting and so-called “coup d’etat” is a self-inflicted set back to our Palestinian cause. Regardless of any strategic trap or conspiracy staged by any superpower or regional power. We took the bait…

“My children are no longer the same” continued Ula, “My seven year old asked me, Mommy, are you Fatah or Hamas. I turned my face to hide the tears. I am raising my children to become good Palestinians, engineers, entrepreneurs, physicist…and the aggression is raising them to become fighters and hostile.” She continued saying “Maysa, I am confused, my husband is unemployed. And we have a family to support. they are going to cut the supplies of fuel and water. It is going to be the end of the world for me and my children”

A sense of helplessness came over me as I was listening to her words, and my heart was bleeding. Sitting in Jerusalem I really was not able to even comfort her terrified emotions. I just listened.
Yesterday, Ula and her family were forced out of their house and had to flee to her parents’ house in the midst of fighting. This was not an option for them due to the fact that her house is near the president’s compound. “we were forced by a gun to my husband’s head to leave the house; I never imagined that one day I will be kicked out of my house by another Palestinian.”.

Before she hang up the phone she whispered to me “Maysa, I am burning inside and Gaza is Burning outside”

Maysa Gayyusi
UNRWA Advisor and a Freelance writer for Palestine Times.

to contact Maysa: M.GAYYUSI@unrwa.org