FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Conditions of Apartheid

“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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
December 11, 2019
Vijay Prashad
Why the Afghanistan Papers Are an Eerie Reminder of Vietnam
Kenneth Surin
Australia’s Big Smoke
Sameer Dossani
Ideology or Popularity: How Will Britain Vote?
John W. Whitehead
Who Will Protect Us From an Unpatriotic Patriot Act?
Binoy Kampmark
Interference Paranoia: Russia, Reddit and the British Election
Scott Tucker
Sure, Impeach Trump, But Let’s be Honest
Nyla Ali Khan
Homogenizing India: the Citizenship Debate
Thomas Knapp
Congress: The Snail’s Pace Race
Shawn Fremstad
Modern Family Progressivism
Joseph Essertier
Julian Assange, Thanks for Warning Japanese About Washington
William Minter
How Africa Could Power a Green Revolution
December 10, 2019
Tony McKenna
The Demonization of Jeremy Corbyn
John Grant
American Culture Loves a Good Killer
Jacob Hornberger
Afghanistan: a Pentagon Paradise Built on Lies
Nick Licata
Was Trump Looking for Corruption or a Personal Favor?
Thomas M. Magstadt
What’s the Matter With America?
Brian Tokar
Climate Talks in Madrid: What Will It Take to Prevent Climate Collapse?
Ron Jacobs
Where Justice is a Game: Impeachment Hearings Redux
Jack Rasmus
Trump vs. Democracy
Walden Bello
Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics
Binoy Kampmark
A Troubled Family: NATO Turns 70
Brian Horejsi
Citizens Are Never Trusted
Michael Barker
Self-Defense in the Civil Rights Movement: the Lessons of Birmingham, 1963
John Feffer
Soldiers Who Fight War
Howie Wolke
Willingness to Compromise Puts Wilderness at Risk
December 09, 2019
Jefferson Morley
Trump’s Hand-Picked Prosecutor John Durham Cleared the CIA Once, Will He Again?
Kirkpatrick Sale
Political Collapse: The Center Cannot Hold
Ishmael Reed
Bloomberg Condoned Sexual Assault by NYPD 
W. T. Whitney
Hitting at Cuban Doctors and at Human Solidarity
Louisa Willcox
The Grizzly Cost of Coexistence
Thomas Knapp
Meet Virgil Griffith: America’s Newest Political Prisoner
John Feffer
How the New Right Went Global — and How to Stop It
Ralph Nader
Why Not Also Go With “The Kitchen Table” Impeachable Offenses for Removal?
Robert Fisk
Meet the Controversial Actor and Businessman Standing Up Against Egypt’s el-Sisi
M. K. Bhadrakumar
Sri Lanka Continues Its Delicate Dance With India
Dahr Jamail
Savoring What Remains: Dealing With Climate PTSD
George Wuerthner
Bison Slaughter in Yellowstone…Again
Scott Tucker
Premature Democratic Socialists: Reasons for Hope and Change
Julian Rose
Polish Minister of Health Proposes Carcinogenic 5G Emission Levels as National Norm
Dean Baker
Coal and the Regions Left Behind
Robert Koehler
Envisioning a United World
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail