Maria Khoury: Tragedy, fasts, and festivals

Posted on Aug 10, 2018

Maria Khoury writes from Taybeh.

Dear Friends of Taybeh,

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer!

I hope friends following the 14-day fast for the Holy Mother of God [August 15: Dormition of the Theotokos (Orthodox Christian); Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic Christian)] are having a blessed fast.

As I was taking my break on the roof top of the Taybeh Golden Hotel last night and staring at the most amazing beautiful lights of Amman, Jordan, and the spectacular lights on the other side of the Dead Sea, just enjoying the peace that exists in our ancient village that received Jesus on His last stop, I was so sad to hear the news that three Palestinians, including a pregnant 23-year-old mother and her toddler daughter, had been killed by the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

What surprised me the whole night, after listening to BBC, on the hour, every hour, was that there was no mention of this tragic news that also left 18 Palestinians wounded. I truly felt that it’s more of a tragedy that mass media do not cover the brutality of the Israeli military occupation. Just unbelievable is that if it had been an Israeli Jewish mother killed, the news would  have been on all channels across the board.

The world just closes a blind eye on the two-million residents of Gaza living in almost unlivable conditions. In fact, if you are a nine-year-old-child in Gaza today, you have actually survived three major Israeli attacks and have seen kindergartens bombed , classrooms and homes destroyed, white phosphorous shelling, and the killing of neighbors and loved ones. If you are a senior-high-school student who had been accepted into Harvard, you could not get out of Gaza to study abroad. Soccer players cannot travel to make a game. Cancer patients cannot access the treatment they need. Twenty-hour blackouts are normal, and people simply cannot shower when they want. Naval forces shoot and kill Palestinian fishermen at sea as a routine, but apparently no one ever hears about that.

Israel has completely wrecked Gaza’s economy. But, here in the West Bank, well, we are still struggling to do good things under harsh conditions. Just imagine that unless it’s a full fledged war on Gaza, life goes on as usual.

We will have our annual Taybeh Oktoberfest, September 8 & 9, 2018. Miracles happen! We have a band sponsored from Hungary this year and a Brazilian guitar player along with wonderful local Palestinian bands and traditional dance groups. Still hoping the Oktoberfest will promote our culture and heritage; it will be the Taybeh Beer that will get thousands to come to this tiny spot one more time.

Please recommend Taybeh to any of your local church communities that come as close as Jerusalem and let them know about the Taybeh Golden Hotel. We are working hard to be on the pilgrimage trail and we truly believe in the “word of mouth” advertising.

Thank you for your support and solidarity. We appreciate your prayers. We totally survive in the Holy Land by the Grace of God!

God bless you,

Maria