FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Conditions of Apartheid

by MARIA C. KHOURY

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

It is under unimaginable conditions of Apartheid that Christians in Bethlehem continue to share the Good News. Christ is Born! Glorify Him! The Orthodox Holy Nativity Liturgy is always celebrated on the Old Julian calendar but culturally and socially since after the Oslo Peace Agreement (1993) all Christians have united to celebrate Christmas day on December 25th. It is always expected that the president of Palestine shows up at the midnight service both times or at least that is what the late Yasser Arafat use to do to embrace the Christian community during the most sacred day of Christ’s birth. Specifically, in the Holy Land, Christmas is celebrated three times: Catholic, Orthodox, and Armenian (Dec 25th, Jan 7th, Jan 19th ).

All efforts are being made with the new mayor of Bethlehem being a woman, Ms. Vera Baboun to have diverse and distinctive activities for this holy city to attract pilgrims. This December 23rd, across the globe, Activists for Peace will light a candle, say a prayer, or send healing energy in solidarity with the Palestinians in Bethlehem and in the Holy Land. From Bethlehem Nativity Square, a prayer vigil will be held for Peace in the Holy Land and including all people suffering from conflict particularly in Syria.

This is the 46th year that Christians in Bethlehem will be celebrating Christmas under Israeli military occupation. It is important, more than ever, to understand the Good News and to pray for the peace that the “Prince of Peace” offers in a place that has turned into a big prison. As the local people are literally locked up behind a 26th foot concrete wall, the Christian community will continue to reflect the true Light of Christ no matter how small their numbers dwindle. Palestinian Christians will continue to announce the Good News from Bethlehem with their genuine witness, although more than twenty-two illegal Israeli settlements are closing in on the little town of Christ’s birth. Not to mention hundred of checkpoints everywhere.

I am completely overwhelmed with the ongoing tragic news from Syria and Egypt and the great suffering that violence brings to humanity. I don’t understand why churches are being burned down and Christians are burned alive. I cannot understand why the oldest monasteries in the world have to be attacked. I can only think that we have gone back to the time before Constantine the Great and martyrdom for Christ is no longer something that happened only in the first centuries. It is a harsh reality of being Christian in the Middle East today.

It is within this darkness of all times and with the evil that has surrounded us that we need to be guided by the true Light of Christ. Since there is absolutely no peace in my world, I can only pray for inner peace that the newborn Christ brings to all. Each one of us can be empowered to believe we can make a difference in the world because of the love God has for us. It is that great spiritual joy that the birth of Christ brings to our heart to help us overcome any struggle. It is how we face the struggle that will help us gain our salvation. May these holy days during the Birth of our Savior inspire us to cultivate more patience which leads to life with Christ.

In unison with the City of Peace, please keep the Holy Land in your prayers. Let us keep our hope that peace between all faiths and all people is still possible, although at a dead lock for twenty years. The most important message on Christmas Day is that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem so that we may “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

Maria C. Khoury is the author of  Christina Goes to the Holy Land.  She has organized eight successful village festivals, the Taybeh Oktoberfest initiated in 2005 boosting the local economy with her husband David Khoury, the former mayor of Taybeh reflecting non-violent action and peaceful resistance in Palestine while celebrating cultural heritage.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail