As I was thinking about running away to middle class America something a child wrote in the Beit Jala Latin Patriarchate School made me feel I should seek the wisdom and faith of this twelve year old. By Dr. Maria C. Khoury By Dr. Maria C. Khoury As I was thinking about running away to middle class America something a child wrote in the Beit Jala Latin Patriarchate School made me feel I should seek the wisdom and faith of this twelve year old. “I pray to God to give us the force to stay and wait until peace happens,” wrote six-grader Sandra Khader for the second semester Latin Patriarchate Writing Contest. “The force” reminded me of the strength of the Holy Spirit as referred to in Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Our country is so destroyed, this is the only type of power that can ever help us since the American government has shut their eyes to the atrocities carried out by Israelis. We are trying to survive a school year full of obstacles and uncertainties. Students will receive awards in each grade for the best essay about their families and the current situation in Palestine. Sandra’s entry was not the winning essay so I plunged into reading more from ten schools until the winning words sparkled across the pages. The following are excerpts that express the feelings, attitudes and faith of sixth grade students in our schools. Can you share their voices with others concerned about the Christian presence in the Holy Land? The life in Palestine is not always easy, because of the occupation…sometimes I am afraid, but I hope that the situation will change and we are able to live a normal life without danger. (Jeries Zarafili, Nablus). Since l948, our people gave thousands and thousands of martyrs … (Joseph F. Kaspari, Ramallah) Palestinian people defend their country and their capital Jerusalem… (Olivia Odeh, Birzeit) In the past, our life was very good. Christmas was very special in Bethlehem; tourists came from everywhere to celebrate this occasion with joy and happiness…but since 29th Sept 2000, everything has changed. (Sami Bannoura, Beit Sahour) The joy and happiness we used to have at Christmas were not there. My parents did not buy us any presents because they said food was more important than toys. (Sana Hijajin, Beit Sahour) When the Intifada started we began to feel afraid in our own house… (Christine Hodali, Beit Jala) I was afraid of the Israeli soldiers that they would kill us and destroy our house… (Nabeel Issa Jaser, Birzeit) We can’t sleep because we are afraid…we dream at night of this war… (Fadi Ballout, Beit Jala) I’m very scared and I can’t do my homework because my father turns off the lights during the shooting. (Rula Farhoud, Beit Sahour) It was difficult for me and my sisters to do our homework because we were afraid…most nights I hear the sound of bullets…(Fady Jack Theodory, Ramallah) When the Jews shoot I become afraid a little and our family leaves the home in the night and went to another place to escape from the bombs. (Rani Kattan, Beit Jala) Every Palestinian family panics in every minute, because the Israeli soldiers shoot their innocent children in cold blood. (Jihad Remon, Ain Arik) The Israeli soldiers began to kill people without any mercy, they used many of their mean weapons in killing them, and they bombed their houses and their lands…they killed children in a very savage way. I feel very sorry about this and I hope that this war will stop and we will live in peace forever. (George Jasser, Birzeit) Aren’t the Israeli soldiers feeling shame because they are using heavy weapons against us… (Diana Al Zeeh, Beit Jala) Every day we see the soldiers kill children and every night they bomb houses…(Nardeen Jawareesh, Beit Sahour) All the work has stopped and it is hard for the Palestinian people to make a living. (Maher Bader, Beit Jala). My family and I can’t go anywhere to buy food or clothes and sometimes my parents can’t go to work because the soldiers close the roads …we pray to God that everything will be better. (Shatha Yousef Kaileh, Birzeit) Many people stop working and some families haven’t enough money to buy a loaf of bread (Freda Nakleh, Jifna). My father couldn’t work so he couldn’t bring money and my family had to mange with what we had…(Maged Abu Saa’da, Beit Sahour). Workers couldn’t arrive to their work and as a result the number of the poor families has increased. (Khael Sayaj, Birzeit) I’m not very happy these days…too many people died and too many people don’t work. (Hiba Abed Rabbo, Beit Jala) I think that what the Jews did was really unfair… (Sandra Sayej, Birzeit) Several people die every day by Israeli soldiers. The news always is sad, so I with my family feel sad (Tamara Khouriyeh, Taybeh) They destroyed many houses and many people… (George Awad, Beit Jala) Our house was not longer safe…we left everything…we took only some clothes. Mom and Dad go every day to our house to check the damage…we are still afraid of the coming days…(Rawan Imad Qumsieh, Beit Sahour) …but the children of Israel are playing and happy. This is not fair. Each night I can’t sleep because I’m afraid. (Hurriyah Ziada, Ramallah) You may not believe that I long to see my two married sisters as I have not seen them since the closure. My sister lost her baby (miscarriage) when she tried to come and see us, as she lives in Jerusalem (Rula Wehbeh, Nablus) We are afraid of shootings, we do not go on picnics every weekend. When we come back from school, we stay in the house until the next morning…we can’t play with our friends. We are sad and unhappy… (Ghaida Musleh, Beit Sahour) And we don’t know when this horrible situation will end. And till that time we hope for peace (Judeh Walid Shahwan, Beit Jala) Thousands of Olive trees and orange trees were over thrown and a lot of land was devastated by bulldozers. (Helweh Majaj, Birzeit) The wedding of my cousin was different, we did not dance or invite lots of people. It was calm. (Ayman Bannourah, Beit Sahour) I’m so sad because Israelis killed hundreds of people. (Ammar Khair, Beit Sahour) The world is looking at us without doing anything… (Tarez Daibes, Zababdeh) I ask God to help us and bring peace to our land. I think one day Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace. (Nadeen Musleh, Beit Sahour) I’m looking now for a hand that draws happiness on our faces…I looked up the sky and prayed to God to help us live a better life…(Suha Kamal Ghannam, Birzeit) I wish to have peace in our country because we have lots of problems and we are looking for freedom and a good life with my family and my friends. (Jeda Jad Jaser, Birzeit My dream is to play, to sing, to dance, go to school. (Sman Musallam, Jifna) I wish I can live like the other children in the world…for me, I hope I can go to the park or to the sea one day and live normally. (Samah Bannoura, Beit Sahour) Finally, we hope that all of the world hear our voice and stand near us… (Dalia Awad, Jifna)