Voice of Christian Youth

By Dr. Maria C. Khoury
January 21, 2001

The children of Palestine have been living under horrible circumstances in the last few months and many are suffering from immense psychological terror as a result of the Israeli brutality and the Palestinian massacre of innocent people. In our Christian schools, we try as much as possible to live, work and learn under these atrocities. It’s so difficult at this point in time to discuss professional development, personal growth and enriching the English language with teachers, which is my official job with the schools, following these tragic events in our land. Our professional development program in cooperation with Bethlehem University has stopped to even exist! Teachers are facing daily struggles with closures, roadblocks, and checkpoints not to mention shootings and bombings happening near their homes. Teachers and students can barely concentrate beyond the basics. In light of the tragedy in Palestine, our students attempt to put their faith in God and have a positive attitude. Following are excerpts from 9th and 10th grade student essays among ten schools for the Latin Patriarchate Schools Writing Contest 2000. The British Council generously provided prizes.

I am a Palestinian child, and I want to live like other children in the world, and have the right to live in peace. I want peace, I want freedom to my country. I want to free Jerusalem, and keep it the Capital of Palestine. I want Palestine to be free.  Ra’d Munther Qumsieh (Beit Sahour)

I agree with the Peace Process, to stop killing the Palestinian people and to get our rights. Then, I become happy for this and I live safe and peaceful.   Amanie Khoury ( Taybeh)

These days in Palestine everybody is in danger and scared.  I’m scared too. When I heard the sound of helicopters I felt as if it’s the end of my life. Lina Tannous, Al-Ahliyyah College, Ramallah

Every martyr's mother will feel very sad and every mother will panic when the Israeli soldiers started shooting and her son was not at home. One day, it was Sunday and I was at the Mass. After the Mass when I was coming back home, the Israeli soldiers started shooting in Beit Jala. I saw a woman who was crying and panicking because her child escaped from her because he was afraid from the sound of rockets when they hit the house.  I think that all of the Palestinian children must have a childhood as good as possible, because if anyone in the world kills this childhood, God will punish him. But now no one will tell the Israeli army to stop killing children and demolishing houses because 90% of the world has projects with Israel so no one will stop Israel. Joseph George Nagib Hodali (Beit Jala)

When the Intifada reached Beit Jala, they started using tanks, rockets and bullets over our houses. The Israeli forces did not know that the people in Beit Jala are not guilty for shooting bullets over Gilo Mountain. The sound was horrifying, it was a loud sound. All this made me frightened and I was not sure that I will be rescued from this Intifada, and I had imagined all the people whose houses had been badly damaged, so I thanked God because we were fortunate. Hany Naji Abu Saad (Beit Jala)

It is a painful feeling to see children, women, and men dying everyday as a result, of shooting from everywhere.  It is fearful when you hear the shooting sounds and bombing rockets.  It is the right for every human to live with dignity and freedom and it is the right for all children to live safely to have their childhood as all the children around the world. I believe that it is not fair to see our people especially children killed while they are going to their schools or near their houses…I would like to let everyone in the world know that a human being without freedom is like a fish outside water.  Susan Napoleon Massis (Taybeh)

Israelis kill our children in cold blood with bullets, they bomb our houses and everyone knows that houses can keep us safe and inside their walls we have memories and very beautiful times. Yet they bomb them. The martyrs sacrificed their lives and watered Palestine by their blood. See how mean Israelis are? Jalal Issa Salame (Beit Sahour

In these days I hate watching news and see how they kill innocent people and children. I was really confused when Mohammed Al Dura died, I asked myself, Why did they kill him?  Why did they kill an innocent child that didn’t even have the chance to defend himself?   Waseem Massis (Taybeh)

Israelis put thousands of people in jail behind bars, away from their parents, friend wives, sisters, brothers and children. Prisoners suffer from many diseases because of the unhealthy cells they stay in. The rooms are crowded and they are away from sunlight. Israelis want to hurt their feelings, kill their spirits and end their love to Palestine. Jenny Al Bahu (Beit Sahour)

One of our demands is the right of return for all Palestinian refugees because it is our country. Therefore it is their right to come back and settle in Palestine. Rawan George Awwad (Beit Sahour)
Hopefully, someday, the people and everyone around the world will see what’s going on over here and not just watch the news… Nataly Rabah , Al-Ahliyyah College, Ramallah

Until this moment Israelis are still hitting us with helicopters, and bombing many houses in many cities in Palestine.  I wish to go to Jerusalem without sieges.  As a Palestinian student, I pray for peace, freedom, and independence in Palestine. Joseph Farah Ayyad (Beit Sahour)

Due to the present situation my heart bleeds with pain, my eyes are stunned with haziness to see my brothers just shot, tortured and massacred by the cruelty of the Israelis. Our cities, towns and villages are besieged and our economic situation is getting worse. Hana Emel Turjaman, Al Ahliyyah College, Ramallah