With deep sorrow and profound grief we write this message to offer our heartfelt condolences to the mothers, fathers, children, friends and families of the thousands of innocent people who have been the victims of the terrorist attacks yesterday morning on the USA.
With deep sorrow and profound grief we write this message to offer our heartfelt condolences to the mothers, fathers, children, friends and families of the thousands of innocent people who have been the victims of the terrorist attacks yesterday morning on the USA. We would like to reach out to all of our American friends to assure them that we stand by them at this difficult and tragic time. Constantly, for the past eleven months, we have received many massages from our friends from America expressing their solidarity and sharing with us our grief. Never in our worst nightmares did we imagine that we would be witnessing such a horrendous event and human tragedy inflicted on our American friends. We care for every life and we pray for all those who are mourning the loss of loved ones taken away by this indiscriminate act of organized terror. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
We are aware that the media has shown President Arafat’s shocked reaction to this act and his strong condemnation of it. Unfortunately, the media has also shown scenes of a few Palestinians celebrating this tragedy. We want you to know that these few do not speak for or represent the entire Palestinian people. What the media failed to acknowledge was the majority of Palestinians who were shocked, saddened and mournful. We believe that this media campaign is biased and aims at dehumanizing the Palestinian people. Such a campaign follows the same logic of the terrorists, since it deliberately attempts to punish innocent people indiscriminately. In our grief, we are asking ourselves why did the people immediately associate us Palestinians with the perpetrators rather than the victims.
As Palestinians, we can very well understand the pain of our American friends. We know what it means when political leaders are targeted and are not safe in their own offices. We understand what it means when planes attack security headquarters. We know how it feels when the backbone of the economy is assaulted. We do not want to compare suffering, since every suffering is unique and this particular tragedy has such hideous dimensions. Yet, never before have Americans and Palestinians shared so much.
We express our solidarity with the American people. We invite people all
Hold vigil prayers for the victims and their families.
Raise awareness and sensitivity to the brutality that the media perpetrates through the images projected.
Monitor the way that certain nations and peoples are stereotyped (The Americans, The Palestinians, etc.), thus inciting hatred and legitimizing aggression.
Develop alternative media that will set new ethical standards in reporting.
Actively participate in the WCC’s “Decade to Overcome Violence”so that future generations will have compassion, do justice and value life.
Commit to prophet Micah’s vision that “they shall sit every person under his vine and his fig tree and none shall make them afraid.”
So that no American, Palestinians, Iraqi, Israeli, Japanese, etc. will be afraid to be in his/her office, home, or airplane, no matter what nationality they hold.
May the peace of Christ be with us all.
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church- Bethlehem
Dr. Nuha Khoury, The International Center of Bethlehem