Thursday, April 3, 2014

Atlanta Trip: Part 3

I went to Atlanta to have a break.  My grandmother wanted me to come out to be able to step back and take a breath after all that had been going on at home with my dear friend and taking care of extra little ones.  She wanted me to get away so I could get refueled to come back and be on. 

I went to the city of Atlanta, full of diversity, full of history.  History of Martin Luther King Jr and the peaceful fight for equality. In this place with a rich history we went to an event where the Archbishop of Jerusalem Atallah Hanna spoke.  He spoke in classical Arabic, with a translator at his side.  He spoke about the thousands of Christian and non-violent Muslim Palestinians that are killed continually by Israeli troops.  He spoke about how he does not condone violence directed at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or toward the Dome of the Rock.  That violence directed at any holy site whether Christian or Muslim is still wrong. He said that there are many peaceful protests happening to bring attention to what is going on in Jerusalem.  He was there to inform us.  He thanked people like Rachel Corrie and her family for trying to make a difference in his homeland.

Through Archbishop Atallah Hanna's talk, I learned there are people throughout Palestine organizing peaceful walks and protests, in the style of Dr. King and Ghandi. The goal is to bring awareness to the fact that thousands are dying daily in the name of God.  He talked about Syria, stating that what is happening there is all of our problem.  Anyplace where people are killed and treated unjustly based on their faith, it is a problem for all of us who have a faith. 

We need to realize that these are not just numbers and statistics, but real people.  Mother's and father's like you and I.  Trying to live in peace, trying to provide for their families. They are being killed simply for existing.  We need to see that this is not a problem that's "over there" or "a thing of the past" it is a constant on-going problem. We need to be informed so that we can then act.  We must pray for guidance in making decisions both in political realms and also in what groups we support to bring aid to those in need.  If we are informed we can be empowered to help.

There are groups like Peace of Thread that provide refugee woman work, making handbags.  There are many non-profits that are trying to help.  Knowledge is Power.  When we know, we can do something and stand up for change.  We can be a good neighbor and bring relief to those in need.

After his talk he stayed and greeted each and every person in the room and took a picture with all who wanted one. Of course my grandmother Pat and I were excited to get a picture too.  It was an amazing experience of becoming informed.


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