July 22: Honolulu Protests Assault on Gaza. “Bethlehem – 2006” Revisited

Sharing here, with permission, a poem, “Bethlehem – 2006” written by Methodist minister, Rev. Barbara Grace Ripple after her visit to the Holy Land. She went back again in 2013 and found the situation worse. She spoke with Palestinians, Christians and Muslims as well as Jewish citizens, all of whom yearn for peace.  But the cry she heard on the street -“Dollar!” Dollar!” – also infects policy, and fuels the extreme violence being inflicted on Gaza today.


Rev. Barbara Ripple, seen here with her husband, Rev. Samuel Cox at the Honolulu demonstration for peace on July 15.

Two thousand years after

I walked the same land

that was home to Jesus.

And Jesus was there.

I walked the streets of Bethlehem

bustling with merchants

hawking their wares.

Children, running past, eager

to show me where to buy. . .

Posing for photo -“dollar please”


Public school teacher, Pete Doktor with his two year old daughter Reio at the second demonstration calling for an end to the assault on Gaza.

“Dollar!” “Dollar!” Insistent.

I saw Jesus pause, then shake his

head in sorrow.

These children, two and three

years ago

Students Ist protest

University of Hawaii students join others in demonstrating for an end to the violence.

Fled from tanks in their streets,

soldiers firing automatic weapons

over their heads.

These children, confined in their homes

for days and weeks at a time,

Not by their parents -they had done no wrong-

But by military order: obey, or be shot,

or maybe just be arrested and beaten.

One time the 24-hour curfew lasted

Bro Tom:Danny

Bro. Tom Spring S.M. (right) and Danny O’Regan at the Honolulu protest July 22: Standing as Catholics in solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza.

forty unholy days.

I saw Jesus weep.

A minister told of preaching a Sunday sermon

punctuated by bursts

from automatic weapons.

I heard Jesus say, “What are you doing to this,

the land of my birth?”

The State of Israel is building a solid gray wall


“Chalkupy” artist, Dandelion, covered the pavements on both sides of the street with “Free Palestine” “Stop the War” messages.

eight meters high

through the middle of Palestinian Bethlehem

in the West Bank.

An uncaring world says, “This must be necessary

to protect Israel from Palestinian terrorists.”

While the Palestinian Christian mayors of Bethlehem

and Beit Sahur and Beit Jala

are stopped at the checkpoint,

Israeli armed guards forbid their entry;

They must find another way.

I saw Jesus prostrate on the ground, sobbing,

“Abba, Abba, my God, my God…”

The Israelis shout,

Musa 2

Baby Musa in the arms of his mother, Samah Nasser, attends his second demonstration for peace.

“Bethlehem is part of Jerusalem!

This land is ours!”

The Palestinian Christians shout,

“This is the place where our Savior was born!

This land is ours!”

The Palestinian Muslims shout,

“Our ancestors lived here thousands of years-

This land is ours!”

A voice thunders,

“I have sent my prophets and even my children

to show you the way to peace

and you refuse to listen.

You are my beloved children,

Hanna Kevin

Kevin and his wife Hanna, recent arrivals to the islands from Santa Monica, CA at the July 22 protest.

yet you continue to destroy one another

as you turn your back on all I have given you.

Tear down your walls,

set aside your weapons,

learn to live with one another in peace.”

But we would not.

And the United States continues to funnel


Ephrosine, who has done humanitarian aid work in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Macedonia, was at the July 22 demonstration in Honolulu. Just as she was in 2008 when President Obama was in Hawaii.

billions of dollars to Israel for walls and weapons

to choke out the people who “do not exist.”

Holy God, forgive us as we continue to

 sin against you and against one another.

What? “Go and sin no more?’

You cannot mean that. . .

We are doing this in your name.

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Posted in Catholics and Culture, I BLOG, Israel, Justice, Palestine, Uncategorized
One comment on “July 22: Honolulu Protests Assault on Gaza. “Bethlehem – 2006” Revisited
  1. Reporter on the ground, Jon Snow, asks the same question: Can we learn to live in peace? http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jon-snow/gaza-conflict-jon-snow_b_5612454.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

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