My Christmas Message
Dec. 19, 2000 (Marianne Albina)

 For the Sake of Our Future

Living in a holy city has always made me feel that I am honored to be part of a special environment, though I have to admit, it is an environment that I sometimes take for granted. Today, for example, I am finding it difficult to convince myself that this environment is special, especially when I consider how a growing number of Palestinian children living here are being denied their most important right the right to life.

To be honest, I have found it difficult to maintain a positive attitude regarding the life I live since the day I was born, the reason being that I was born under Israeli occupation, an occupation that obliged me to mature before my time. Politics rapidly became my second name, while seeing my fellow Palestinians live happy and safe lives became my major goal. Unfortunately, that goal now appears harder to achieve than ever before. Nevertheless, I am determined to be happy, to make others happy, and to try and view life in a positive manner and am hoping that the arrival of Christmas will help me to do that.

Of course, it will not be easy to be cheerful around the Christmas tree this year and it will be hard to put up Christmas decorations for the youngsters knowing that their lives, as well as those of their peers, are constantly in danger. In spite of this, we have to show the children that there is still something worth living for and that together, working hand in hand, we will be able to build a brighter, more prosperous future.

We have to show them that surrendering at this point means giving up on our history, our rights, our struggle and most of all our future. In short, we need to be strong, and we need to raise our children in a way that ensures that they are strong too. This, I believe, we will be able to do if we remain intent on focusing on the positive things in our lives, rather than the negative.

Let us give ourselves a clean slate and grab the opportunity to start to build a better future, let us learn from the exhausting conditions of our life so that we become better and stronger people, and let us start to look at hardship from a different angle an angle that reflects persistence, determination, creativity and continuation. Remember we would never have become the people we are today had it not been for the suffering we endured in the past and continue to endure even until now.

We should be thankful because we appreciate the true meaning of existence and we know the costs of keeping an honest and dignified life.

Marianne Albina