Statement by young Palestinian Christians
This statement was written with urgency by Palestinian Christian young adults from all across the land, expressing repentance and hope regarding the ongoing injustices. If you identify with this statement, it is yours to hold as well. We urge all to read and reflect seriously on its call.
“Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5 : 23-24)
Statement of Repentance and Hope
We Palestinian Christian young adults from the 48 territories, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza; cannot remain silent with what is happening in our community. Based on our understanding of our spiritual, ethical and national responsibilities, we declare the following:
First, we acknowledge our guilt and repent our own passivity, inaction and lack of solidarity with those that have suffered the worst from the colonial repression in recent events and throughout the years. We have failed in being salt and light in the land, and therefore repent our transgressions through commitment to action. Those who hold positions of power within our community have demonstrated significant shortcomings in their statements and actions regarding the continued injustices committed against Palestinians: in Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank, against refugees and 48 Palestinians.
Second, while we are non-violent and detest the suffering of all innocents; we refuse to fall into the trap of equating the violence and dominance perpetrated by the system, and the violence of the oppressed reacting to the system. Not taking a firm, honest stance against unjust systems and trying to adopt neutrality by simply condemning all violence, is either a statement of ignorance or wilful support of the powerful.
Third, we have prayed for peace, calmness, and patience; however, we must recognise that peace cannot exist without true justice. Therefore, while we recognize the importance of prayer, it mustn’t call for peace which returns to a status quo of inequality, but for a transformative peace which recognises the intrinsic connection between peace and justice and leads to true reconciliation.
Fourth, the anger of the Palestinian people is a holy rage- a righteous anger (Ephesians 4:26-27), that shakes off (intifada) the yoke of oppression in the form of Apartheid, settler-colonialism and oppression of all Palestinian people. Our political leadership and those in power are complicit in this oppression and have served the powerful directly and indirectly. Jesus is present today with Palestinians who are suffering all over the land and resisting their oppression (Matthew 25:31-46).
Fifth, we must stand up for our own dignity and the dignity of those we share our lives and pain with, whose blood cries out from the ground. This is a time of nonviolent resistance through action which will bear witness to the God of the oppressed built on the Palestinian tradition of steadfastness (Sumud).
Sixth, we must be a praxis-oriented community which foregrounds a commitment to those who are voiceless and oppressed; Our statements, theological books, and sermons must be rooted in the reality of our context and they are only validated by further action, otherwise they are empty.Seventh, we must stop with our tribal mentality, which attempts to isolate ourselves from our neighbours and the reality around us. We obsess over in-fighting for power, status, and money which we must be prepared to lose, as disciples of Jesus and for the Kingdom of God. Our tribal mentality is used by our oppressors and we must unite in solidarity with one another (John 17:21).
Lastly, we are embarking on a new chapter where hope through resistance (muqawama) is present and violence perpetrated by our oppressors is becoming more brutal. Palestinians across the land are standing up for their own humanity despite being lynched, bombed and displaced. The fragmentation of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, Jerusalem, 48 territories, and the diaspora is dissolving, and a renewed sense of unity is emerging.
Therefore, we call urgently:
1. To repent for our shortcomings and inaction in the face of injustice. We commit to continued self-evaluation, and actions in order to truly voice the truth.
2. To immediately and honestly self-reflect on the general failures of our leaders, churches and community.
3. To raise and empower the voice of the younger generation on these issues, especially women. Failure to incorporate these voices and attempts to censor them will ultimately lead to empty churches and frail organizations. We will not stay silent.
4. To confront anti-Muslim attitudes and any other approach which excludes the other.
5. To decolonize our churches from Western money and influence that serve to pacify our community; especially Christian Zionism.
6. To firmly speak truth to power, including our own leadership.
7. To develop actions that battle the injustices committed against the most vulnerable in our society and a commitment to solidarity with the oppressed.8. To unite together and with all those that seek a transformative peace that promotes justice.
Source: Christ at the Checkpoint Young Adults
As a former member of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference planning committee, I am delighted that the CAC young adults have published this statement.