Archive for November, 2001

The Grace of Time

November 23, 2001

By Samia Khoury
Friday, November 23, 2001

“Dear Lord, grant me the grace of time,” was all I could pray as I passed out working at my computer late on Thursday evening, and had to be rushed to the hospital. I was brought up to be ready for that day anytime. Anyway, there isn’t much I would miss if I was not around these days. In fact, I might be spared the pain of watching so much suffering, and my friends will be spared as well the terrible news with which I continue to burden them.

I told my husband Yousef that I need to stay around until the 50th anniversary, and he answered that there was a long way to go. He thought I was talking about our golden anniversary in 2010, whereas my sole concern was the 50th anniversary of Rawdat El-Zuhur [the primary school I direct] in April 2002. I could not really spoil the occasion by turning it into a memorial service. The children are too excited with the musical that they are preparing, and the special calendar is already out and being promoted for the scholarship fund. The preparations are endless, so I kept praying that the Lord may grant me the grace of time until that day when I could really ask him to “dismiss his servant in peace.”

The compassionate Lord did spare me and grant me some time, but I have been grounded for a few days to rest at home. The blood pressure and the blood tests were OK, and so was the EKG, and the x-rays. I might need further tests to rule out other possibilities, but at least here I am back at my computer writing and finishing the circular letter that should go to all our friends regarding the anniversary celebrations. And I promised Rev. Quillen, our God-sent web master, to respond to his latest entries. He has been working on the web site for the last year on a voluntary basis. What a blessing to have an understanding friend like him coping with our suggestions and changes from across the globe.

I was sorry I was unable to go to church today. Yousef and I were planning to go the Latin Patriarchate in the Old City for a special service for the charitable organization St. Vincent de Paul, and to express our solidarity with the Patriarch [who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church here in Jerusalem]. He has been harassed lately for speaking out the truth and pursuing the need for justice and peace for his people, the Palestinians.

Israel cannot cope with the truth. Ever since it was established, it has created a narrative based on false myths which nobody dared to challenge. The situation has changed these days, and people are not as ignorant, although many are still vulnerable to Israeli and Jewish intimidation. But communications have become sophisticated enough to bring news to people’s homes. So Israel has a problem when the truth gets exposed, and when it gets exposed by credible and honest people like the Patriarch.

The three Episcopalian bishops who demonstrated in front of the Israeli Embassy in Boston in October were another cause for the fury of Israel. Had the Church spoken up much earlier, maybe the situation would not have deteriorated to this stage, but better late than never. The church is now affirming what Jesus read from Isaiah at the synagogue in Nazareth, according to Luke 4:18, “The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Let us hope that the current efforts of the Europeans and the Americans will be a serious and genuine step beyond rhetoric and towards the establishment of a Palestinian State and an end to the Israeli Occupation.

As much as I abhor violence and try to promote nonviolent resistance, it needs to be very clear — even to our friends who are genuinely interested in a solution to this eternal problem — that there is a difference between the violence of a legitimate resistance and the violence of an illegal occupation. So we urge you to substitute the slogan of “Both parties should stop the violence,” because we are not equal parties, and use instead “END THE OCCUPATION.” We would like to be equal parties and equal partners in peacemaking, but that cannot possibly happen unless there is an end to the military occupation.