While I was in Atlanta I went with my grandmother to hear the Archbishop from Jerusalem, Father Atallah Hanna speak. It was an experience I won't soon forget.
I am an American Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I most identify myself with the Baptist denomination. I learned about Christ as a young girl but did not really begin following him and desiring his direction in my life until I was almost an adult. I have heard from my grandmother things that she saw in Jordan. I read through her manuscript many times, and yet I thought it was somehow a thing of the past. Here in the west we do not see what's going on when we turn on the news. I knew things were bad, but like most Americans I was busy, I didn't have time to really find out what was happening. I read the statistics, and lets face it, numbers don't seem real. They aren't the faces, they aren't the stories.
As I sat in this church in Atlanta that I've never been to before, I was surrounded by people of differing faiths, all monotheistic. We, Christians, Jews and Muslims sat in this church meeting hall at round tables conversing, sharing a wonderful Mediterranean meal. People with different colored skin, different beliefs in God all came together, in peace. We were there to learn or share what is really happening in Palestine. Isn't it interesting that all three faiths trace themselves back to Adam and Eve. All three faiths claim father Abraham, and all three faiths record this land as the Promised Land given to them by God.
As I sat there I became very aware that Christians, Jews and Muslim Palestinians have banded together for decades peacefully protesting Israeli government as they are slaughtered. What I learned was not what I had previously been taught.
I've been taught that Israel is filled with the "chosen people". That they are at war with Muslims (which was made out to be synonymous with, extremist, terrorists). I was taught that Israel needs drones, and war equipment to fight off this big threat of "evil".
What I saw was men, woman, and children with no weapons being shot, bulldozed, beaten, killed because they live in Palestine. They are refugees, stuck, with no hope to leave. Walls are built around them keeping them away from food and water. Borders are closed so they cannot leave, they have no place to go and are like sitting ducks, while snipers shoot them down. Troops come in and bulldoze their homes, burn their olive crops, and keep them oppressed. These people are not extremist or terrorist. These are innocent civilians, Christian and Muslim. I learned about Rachel Corrie an American young woman who was bulldozed-killed by Israeli troops while peacefully protesting in one of the villages. Things I've never seen or heard or been told where shown to me. My eyes were opened and now I cannot be silent.
I am not saying that there are not extremist, or terrorists, we all know they exist. I'm not saying that Israel should not protect themselves or defend themselves. I am saying that innocent people are being killed, they are not militants. They do not have weapons. I am saying that we need to be informed and know there is a lot more happening than what we are fed through our media.
As a Christian, I know that the Lord Jesus did not say kill and destroy your neighbor, but He told us to love. I know that sin is in the world and that death and destruction and war have reigned since the beginning of time, yet I believe we can make a difference. We can be informed. We can pray for the masses involved. We can seek ways to help and to be the good neighbor that the LORD called us to be.
Please watch this tribute to Rachel Corrie and become informed on what has really been happening. You can also see an interview with her from just days prior to her death.
I will share more this week about what I've learned. I hope you'll join me and become informed.