This Christmas season, in the spirit of Advent, the staff, interns and friends at Wi’am greet you in the name of Jesus. Christ’s miraculous birth was that critical first step toward a new positive change for the whole world. Following Jesus’ footsteps, we at Wi’am embark on transformation on a personal and community level. Our lord Jesus challenged the system and was able to change it through agape, perseverance, and enticement of collective responsibility. Palestine has similarly challenged the system, and nonviolently has received a nonmember observer state status from the United Nations. This new status brought and continues to bring joyful hope of a future peace in Palestine.
This new upgrade in status is pushing back the peace process says Israel. Israel was part of nine nations which joined in voting against the Palestinian state. Nine nations that have yet to see what the other 138 nations that supported Palestine saw: Palestinians deserve rights. We at Wi’am believe this new status to be one of many steps needed and necessary to make a just and lasting peace tangible.
In the Spirit of Christ we are asking for our rights while we continue to invest in unity. Thus, we struggle for rights with unity, as Jesus did long ago.
We know that Christ, without raising a sword, aroused the lethal anger of both the occupier and its collaborators. He spoke the Truth fearlessly to the powers and we are proud to live where he was born and remember him as a native son of our land. We would be remiss to forget the commitment of Mary and Joseph, who were forced by Roman Occupation to come here for the census but, nevertheless, made not only that journey but fled with the child into Egypt to save his life. Many steps remained in his journey, as in ours. The work of mending our nation, and our world, is continuous. We pray that all nations, especially the 41 who abstained from the vote, will find the embracing arms of dialogue open and stand against the ongoing dialogue of arms. Those who would use weapons to bully as well as those who would make and sell them for profit are reversing our global peace process. We believe the diplomatic struggle is part of the nonviolent path, asserting our rights with words on the national and international stages .
Following in Christ’s footsteps, Wi’am strives to build a culture of peace and acceptance in Bethlehem , Palestine, and for the world. Our Hope sustains us every day but it is healthy to remember what we hope for. We Hope that every people can exercise their right to self-determination without stunting the growth of other nations. We Hope that families will be reunited and able to spread warmth and joy together during this season and for the new year. We Hope for an end to fear and hatred that oppresses both victim and perpetrator, an end to the cycles of violence and trauma but a beginning for healing. We Hope for the courage to be in solidarity, and face uncertainty with wisdom. We hope that our children will enjoy their childhood free from fear and trauma.We hope as well as for that precious fruit of determination and statehood: Freedom.
Finally, we know that all change works for the greater good of those who have faith, though dark times happen in all our lives. Your daily prayers for change will not go unnoticed by God, nor will your efforts go unnoticed by us as we walk together toward a culture of nonviolence in the pursuit of Justice. The people of Bethlehem may have hardly believed that their Savior was born, two thousand years ago, but the Magi arrived on the day of epiphany bearing gifts and praise. They had a wider perspective: they knew that change was inevitable and traveled a long distance to become part of Jesus’s story on Earth. We hope that our friends in distant places are blessed this Christmas and that they would bear our love to their homelands just as we receive the love they bring with them. There is a new star over Bethlehem: Palestine lives, a symbol of determination and Hope.
May the ray of God lead us to the road of justice, reconciliation, goodness and salvation!
Christ is born! Alleluia!!!
-Zoughbi Zoughbi and colleagues