USA Tragedy

Palestinians Grieve Over USA Tragedy

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
over to:

  • 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

  • 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