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A letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury on his visit to Jerusalem

January 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

If this upcoming visit is intended to be similar to visits made by other international delegations; to learn about us and to speak about the values of peace, rights and justice, we would like to say that numerous others have also come for this purpose. They sympathised with us and their tears flowed abundantly during visits. If this is the case, then you are welcome.

We send you this message since you represent concepts and principles that all of us as Christians believe in, and we have been living here for centuries for the sake of them. However, our experience is that the policies of your country, which your church has considerable influence over, contradict these principles and concepts.

During the British Mandate era, our houses were robbed and our property was confiscated right before the eyes of your church. Our lands are still being confiscated and our families are still being expelled. Numerous pages of text would not suffice to recount our tragedy and suffering to you.

Our nation has lived under persistent humiliation; day after day and hour after hour, while your church, which is able to assume a firm stance in this regard, has never done anything that matches what our creed dictates.

If you are coming to look for your subjects in Jerusalem, we are only few in numbers; since the day of the first disaster [the Nakba], we have lived a calamitous life. The church has become a shrine just for visitors who come to pray for peace and justice. They expose their sufferings, but they are still very far from the suffering that we live.

If you are coming to find out the latest about the Christians in the East, you will find that they have faded from Palestine and been expelled from Iraq thanks to strange policies. The same is happening to them today in Syria and will happen to them in Egypt and Lebanon.

We hope throughout this visit that you will search for those who are oppressed and tired, and that you will tell them, and us, what you are doing for them. We want action, not just words or consolation. We hope that you will bring us all something useful.

This letter was written by Khalil Faiz Abd An Nur, a Palestinian Christian writer, appearing first on Al, 27/6/2013