Journey to the Holy Land – Day 23

November 15, 2010

Palestinian Independence Day and a work holiday for many people.  Are you as surprised to hear about this day as I was when I received the information on Friday?  I think I just sat there with my mouth open!  The first words that spilled out were “But you aren’t independent!”  My co-workers just shrugged their shoulders and walked away.

I immediately went to the internet in search of information about this Day and found that the Palestinians declared their independence on November 15, 1988 with a written document which I was able to read in its entirety.  You can find it at http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/pal/pal3.htm.  I am very impressed with the language, the history, the citing of various United Nations Resolutions in the 41 previous years, and the Palestinian commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I began to reflect about a comparison between the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Palestinian Declaration of Independence.  The U.S. Preamble begins When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

The Palestinian Declaration begins Palestine, the land of the three monotheistic faiths, is where the Palestinian Arab people was born, on which it grew, developed and excelled. The Palestinian people was never separated from or diminished in its integral bonds with Palestine. Thus the Palestinian Arab people ensured for itself an everlasting union between itself, its land and its history.”

The more I looked at the history surrounding these two declarations, the more I realized that the circumstances were very different.  The U.S. declared its independence from a suppressive government but the colonists were not indigenous to the land.  The Palestinians are declaring that they have been a part of this land for thousands of years, and it seems their situation is more akin to the suppression of the Native Americans by the immigrants to the New World.

The colonists fought the Revolutionary War and won their independence.  The Palestinians have risen up in two intifadas (Arabic word which literally means ‘shaking off,’ though it is usually translated into English as uprising, resistance or rebellion to oppression.  The first Palestinian Intifada was from 1987-1993 and the second from 2000-2005.)

And so 22 years later, the Palestinians continue to “celebrate” the day that the declaration was made even though it is probably not worth the paper that it is written on.  Still, this people sees it as a glimmer of hope that freedom, justice and peace will prevail.

This afternoon I went for a walk with no particular destination in mind.  My feet started strolling up Manger Street and I was just looking at the shops, coffee houses and restaurants and saw a few things worth photographing.  But then, something caught my attention on the opposite side of the street—a sculpture.  Quick as a shot, my camera was out of my purse and I captured it.  The design had the number 2 at the base with three links of chain connected to the 2 and to each other. I went across the street to get a closer look, taking care not to get flattened by one of the passing taxis or buses, and read the sign that describes the monument erected at the turn of the millennium. These are the words written there:

In the region where most fervent was

The encounter of the great monotheistic religions that manifested itself in a clash for the past

The three links that represent each one

And that at the same time connect

The third rising millennium to the second

Uplifted towards the sky

Rather than tumbling down inertly

Want to evoke a new spiritual course

Inspired to the light of humanity and culture

Untamed yearning for hope

of solidarity and peace among peoples

freedom of faith and of thought

creative convinction of a serene future

for the world

Ottaviano Giannangeli

I couldn’t help but think that on this day of independence remembrance, I was led to this powerful sculpture. (Please note that I typed the words exactly as they appeared on the sign.  The word ‘convinction’ is misspelled as I could not find this spelling anywhere in my internet search for it.)

The three pictures I took of the sculpture are posted next to today’s blog.  I hope you find the symbolism as powerful as I did after following my blog for these 23 days.

Wishing you a peaceful rest.

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Published in: on November 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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