Clean water is a right from Gaza to Michigan

As most of you know, water issues have been a special concern of mine and the Middle East Children’s Alliance for a number of years.  Through our Maia Project we have built and installed water purification systems at schools throughout Gaza so thousands of children—and their families—can have clean water to drink.

Drinking clean water; I can’t imagine anything more basic.

As most of you know, water issues have been a special concern of mine and the Middle East Children’s Alliance for a number of years.  Through our Maia Project we have built and installed water purification systems at schools throughout Gaza so thousands of children—and their families—can have clean water to drink.

Drinking clean water; I can’t imagine anything more basic.

Which is why I was so profoundly shocked and angry when I heard about what had happened to the drinking water in Flint, Michigan. In case you missed this story: In 2014, the unelected “Emergency Manager” appointed by the Michigan Governor decided to save money by switching the city’s water from the Detroit system (which comes from Lake Michigan) to a system supplied by the Flint River.  To save even more money, the river water wasn’t treated to prevent the aging lead pipes from corroding and leaching lead into the water. 

The levels of lead—one of the most deadly neurotoxins on the planet—soon starting showing up in children’s blood at three times the usual level. The damage to the children’s health and development is severe. And permanent.  The eyes of the mothers in Flint who learned they were giving their children poisoned water are the same eyes of the Palestinian mothers in Gaza I’ve looked into so many times.

Making matters worse, the Michigan state government denied there was a problem for years. State officials personally attacked anyone who tried to raise the alarm.  Which meant the poisoning went on for more than a year after the government was alerted. This is the United States. In 2016.  And it makes me hope that somebody will be putting water purification systems in Flint’s schools.

It also reminds me of something Martin Luther King, Jr. once said. That the bombs we were dropping in Viet Nam were exploding in our own cities.  If we can’t even trust our own government to make sure our water isn’t poisoned, how can we expect them to pressure Israel to stop stealing water from the Palestinians and leaving them water that is putrid and toxic?

Throughout our website, and in the emails we send out, you can see how busy we’ve been this past year and how the need is greater than ever.  Of course, we could not have done any of it without your generous support and I am so grateful for everything you have enabled us to do. I wish I could promise that 2016 would be the year that we finally brought peace with justice for Palestine and Palestinians and that we would be able to safely bring home all the refugees—victims of the violence, not the perpetrators—from Lebanon and Syria. Since that seems unlikely we’re going to continue doing as much as we can to relieve the suffering of as many children as we can.  I hope you’ll continue to be there with us.