Monday, November 4, 2013

The stones cry out


The day ends with a showing in  another in our Palestine Film series: The Stones Cry Out                          ( directed by Yasmine Pirni, now of Italy.  It is the often ignored story of Palestinian Christians.

I remember my friend Naim Ateek, founder and director of Sabeel and former Canon of St. George’s in Jerusalem.  ( Naim would always say, I am an Israeli and not a Jew, I am an Arab and not a Muslim, I am a Palestinian and not a terrorist.  And to the question so often asked in the US, When did your family become Christian? Naim would respond, At Pentecost.

Ms. Pirni’s film tells the story of the world’s oldest Christian community.  And the devastating effects of the Israeli occupation that have come to threaten its very existence as more and more emigrate out of the country.
Bob, Valerie Pirni, Russ

We are honored to have the first US screening of this film. The saddest part of this story is that of  the support of conservative US Christians for Israel, the so-called Christian Embassy and Christian  Zionists who follow in the British colonial  tradition that sees the return of the Jews to Israel as a precursor to the second coming of Jesus. It is tragic that the early liberal Christian theology of penitent accompaniment and solidarity has been transcended by a conservative theology that sees the Jews as functional players in a triumphalist narrative, not as fellow human beings of intrinsic worth for that reason alone. They come to see the holy stones of history, not the living stones of the people who live there.  And the Palestinian Christians become problematic as their reality does not fit into the narrative. And this is the force, like the aging Cuban exile community in Miami, that drives US policy in the region and allows the occupation to continue. 

There is much work to do.

He answered, I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out. (Luke 19:40 NRSV)

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