It is Easter and Christians all around the world are celebrating the death and resurrection of the Prince of Peace, a man who suffered on the hands of those who occupied his land because he spread a message of peace, love and forgiveness to all human kind.
This year and like every year, we celebrated Easter in Bethlehem (where this great man was born), but more specifically; we celebrated this great event in the southern villages of Bethlehem, villages that are facing the brutal building of the Separation Wall that will eat up more than 70% of their farming land. I went there to celebreate Easter because I know if Jesus was here today this is where he would be and where he would ask us to be. He would not want us to be in fancy Churches or Cathedrals, in shopping malls buying the most expensive holiday clothes, or in big family picnics and feasts where more food is wasted than is eaten. He would ask us to go and serve, go and help, go and be with those who are in need.
It was an honor for me to be with Palestinians, internationals and Israelis, Christians, Muslims and Jews all remembering this day in their own way, but sending one strong message to the world: As Christ was crucified 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, real peace between Palestinians and Israelis is being crucified today with the building of the Separation / Apartheid Wall and the confiscation of Palestinian land. The new thorns on our head are truly the wall being build around our communities and the new nails in our arms and feet are the military checkpoints and crossings that harm and humiliate us on a daily bases.
The response of the Israeli soldiers to our nonviolent demonstration was as would have been expected, harsh and brutal violence; several were arrested and many were injured. It was only through our determination that those arrested were released. That force is truly the force of the weak and it is my hope that those Israeli soldiers who beat us with their guns and kicked us with their heavy boots will truly understand this one day.
But as there was a Resurrection after death, there is truly a chance for a real and just peace in the Holy Land. As people who believe in the hope for a better future, we commit ourselves to fighting for this goal no matter what the odds.
Christ is Risen…. Indeed he is Risen….. Peace is Alive…. Indeed it is…
For news coverage of the event visit the following: Good Friday protest in southern Bethlehem leaves many in the nonviolent resistance community injured and In symbolism of Good Friday, anti-wall protestors near Bethlehem reenact Jesus’ crucifixion