Reflections on Easter- Happy Easter

Posted on Apr 26, 2019

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh writes in his Palestinian Christian newsletter:

This is the tenth Easter I celebrate after returning to Palestine in 2008. It is still special. The touch, taste, sights, sounds, and smells dazzle all senses and are meaningful, despite the difficult Israeli occupation. This weekend [April 21st] is Easter according to Western calendar and next week [April 28th] is the Eastern. My family being mixed, I get to witness both traditions. Though everyone complains that I am spending every day of the holiday at the museum working (but there are deadlines of proposals and much more work to do). Even Easter Sunday (tomorrow) my students in biodiversity are coming to learn techniques of museology and curation of collections.

When we native Christian Palestinians have a few moments to meditate and reflect in this season, we reflect that some 2.5 billion human beings believe in a message that originated with a Palestinian baby born in a manger here and was crucified for being the first revolutionary Palestinian to push for caring for the sick and the poor.

We reflect on the real message of Jesus, a message of love and coexistence. The harsh reality on the ground reminds us of our responsibility to shape a better future.

We are hopeful because we take a long view of history. Some 150,000 years ago, humans migrated from Africa using Palestine as the passage way to Western Asia and then the rest of the world. 12,000 years ago, this area became the center of development for agriculture (the Fertile Crescent). This was where we humans first domesticated animals like goats and donkeys and plants like wheat, barley, chickpeas, and lentils. This transformation allowed our ancestors time to evolve what we now call “civilization”. Hence, the first writings, the first music, and art, and the first thoughts of deities. From our Aramaic alphabet came the Latin, Arabic, Syriac, and Hebrew alphabets. Aramaic was the language of Jesus and much of our current Palestinian Arabic is still Aramaic words.

If we dwell on the negative, we can be pessimistic. The US denied entry to an international criminal prosecutor. The US blocks entry to Omar Barghouti to the US to speak about BDS. Under pressure from the US the International Criminal Court decides not to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan (committed by US military & CIA). Do you think the ICC would permit investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel/Zionists (who occupy both Palestine and Washington DC)? The UN and other international agencies are increasingly showing inability to contain conflicts let alone protect basic human rights. This is reminiscent of the world structure created after WWI with the League of Nations etc. Biased institutions created by biased structures only lead to conflict, not prevent it. But the next war will end our existence as organized society. Bad signs of corruption in politics are everywhere: from the US feverish work to get Netanyahu elected to the arrest of Julian Assange who uncovered war crimes and crimes against humanity (a job that journalists should be doing instead of promoting Zionism and colonialism). Yet, we can envision a better future and work for it. For the 12,000 years of civilization, there were thankfully very few attempts to transform Palestine from a mixed society of various religions and backgrounds to make it monolithic. Thankfully, these attempts lasted a tiny percentage of our long history and all failed. The latest attempt to make Palestine a Jewish state is failing though with significant bloodshed and copy-cat knockoffs like ISIS.

We aspire to a certain future when refugees are allowed to return and all people of all religions live in equality and justice. Jerusalem/Bethlehem will then become a true light unto the world. We are grateful that there has been tremendous growth of actions by civil society around the world to push for human rights and justice in this “Holy Land”. This has included some really significant actions for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) from Israel in the same way we did with Apartheid South Africa. Palestine will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. We believe indeed in a
resurrection!

So this Easter we remember what Jesus said: “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Luke 6).

Happy Easter to those who believe in this message.