Bethlehem January 25, 2015
Peace and all good.
Wednesday happened something beautiful. I have to deal some time with a sister and a brother, both still teenagers, who were unwanted children with all its consequences.
I once tried to get them aligned to stand strong together. That was not successful so far.
Last Wednesday the sister came to me to talk to me. I was able to put into words and to express what this background for both of them meant: to be free and not trust anyone. She recognized this. She has to learn to trust me, because I stand at her side was just like her brother. This was in spite of the vast majority of their family.
In the afternoon, she talked for a few hours with her brother and she finally came together and got in line, were one hand. Then they came to me to celebrate this: first by drinking coffee together – an important ritual in Arab culture – and then eat together.
Apparently it was important to understand well about what it meant for sister and brother, they were not wanted, though I have not said that last without using this expressing.
On the same day, however, I got a sad message. A fellow friar, who had become 70 at the beginning of the month, was suddenly deceased. May he now rest in peace. Then sister dead come suddenly close to me, because I hope to be 70 next year in February.
Last Monday was a day off for the community to Jericho, where last year we went. I had to stay home, because at the end of the afternoon, former Prime Minister van Agt came to visit and I would guide him in the church. I met him once before in Brussels. This week he becomes 84.
His visit was enjoyable and we ate together with two companions and Toine van Teeffelen, the other Dutchman in Bethlehem.
Tuesday I got an email in which a link was provided, I was shocked. It is the link:
In 2009, Charlie Hebdo fired a cartoonist because of ant-Semitic cartoons. One of the cartoons was about to a son of the then President Sarkozy, who married with a wealthy Jewish woman.
The link is also about double standards in the West: negative cartoons of Muhammad because of freedom of speech, but not similar cartoons of Jews, because it is anti-Semitism.
This imbalance has put me thinking. I came from the word ‘goyim’ as Jews pronounce it nations, peoples of non-Jews. It sounds in my ears negative, but that’s only partly true. In Psalm 2, this word has a negative connotation, in Isaiah 41, 2-4 is partly positive and partly negative and in Isaiah 2, 2-4 positive,
It is to explain the significance of Jews is goyim.
It gives a gap between Jews and non-Jews. It seems to me important to close that gap. That must come from both sides. Otherwise, we’re in a downward spiral. There needs to be worked on both sides.
I myself have good experiences with Jews by respectfully and carefully dealing with them. They feel than on the first place treated as human beings. So you close the gap. The otherness of Jews should be no problem. We are all different.
But I have noticed sensitivity for negativity. I was once talking to two colleagues in the youth help, both Jew. At one point I mentioned the name ‘black Jopie ‘. Then they looked at each other. I just continued talking, I knew immediately why they looked at each other. ‘Black Jopie’ was a well-known person in the underworld of Amsterdam and a Jew. But I was talking about, that he made during the great strike in November 1983 that the red light district remained clean. Here was nothing anti-Semitic in.
Thursday I received a visit from a friend of Al Doha, neighbor of the homeowner, from who I had rented space for a youth center. That was a short visit, because even though he’s retired, he’s busy.
Friday came Wisam Al Azzah to pick me to visit his family. That was a pleasant visit. I talked a while with Husam. He appreciates my articles on my website because of my way of thinking. We were gloomy about what we can expect this year could be a new war. Although Netanyahu has already tried to enforce a war for the benefit of him before the elections with the killing of Hezbollah members, but Hezbollah cannot be so easily provoked. Notice how the war began in 2006. A new war would have even more far-reaching consequences.
Finally, there was much attention to the death of the King of Saudi Arabia, who was ultimately responsible for the weekly ritual on Friday after Friday prayers public beheading of prisoners. He was named by Obama friend and venerable head of state. I know better friends.
I found this week two links about the events in Palestine in 1948:
I add some attachments to: the impromptu speech from the Pope to Filipino youth, about how the West was venturing to insult others, about a failed attempt by the US army to free prisoners, which took the lives of the two hostages, about the failure of Hollande to learn from Bush with starting a war without to know how to finish and Amira Hass, that most Palestinians are not to be provoked by Israel.
Greetings from Bethlehem, Louis
© 2015 Louis Bohte
attachments – (on Scribd):
About friar Louis Bohte OFM
president Commission JPIC of the Custody in the Holy Land
franciscans Palestinian Territory
August 2004 – Present (10 years 6 months)