25 outubro 2006

Debate online com organizações parceiras do Médio Oriente

12.00 – 14.00
Debate on-line através do MSN Messenger com organizações parceiras do Médio Oriente.
Debate sobre a realidade vivida na região, em inglês, aberto a todos os interessados.
Para tal basta adicionar paxchristi_pt@hotmail.com aos contactos do MSN Messenger.

Christians in the Holy Land: Our future as Christians in the Holy Land

Many studies done by westerners are pessimistic about our future. They see us disappearing in few generations. Appearances support this pessimistic view. It seems as though the Christian presence is in the last stage of its struggle for survival within the Muslim Arab world: it seems to be in the stage of its final disappearance.
Emigration began during the last century. Today, Arab Palestinian Christians in Latin America, who emigrated there in the 19th century, are far more numerous than they are in their original homeland. The same is true of Arab Palestinian Christians in North America, the United States and Canada. The same reasons that led to their emigration at that time are still present today, though in a different way: economic and social difficulties compound the current political instability.
Some American observers and congressmen insist on a “presumed” Muslim persecution of Christians as the main cause of the emigration. It is true that difficulties exist in our Palestinian society, but the main reason is that the Occupation prevents the creation of a strong public authority. By way of comparison, in Jordan where there is a strong government, the same incidents do not occur.
Moreover, the lack of even-handedness in relations between peoples on the international level, inequality in the distribution of wealth, and international wars and interventions in other peoples’ affairs, in which the Muslim world feels that it is oppressed by the Western (= Christian) world, have all given birth to various Muslim resistance movements, extremists and moderates alike, that have a direct effect on relations between Muslims and Christians.

+ Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Linz, September 29, 2006

Christians in the Holy Land: Who are we today?

We are 13 traditional Churches in the Holy Land: five Orthodox (Greek, Armenian, Copt, Syrian and Ethiopian), six Catholic (R.C. Latin, Greek Catholic, Maronite, Armenian, Syrian, and Chaldean), and two Protestant (Anglican and Lutheran). As Churches, we all have ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the same three countries: Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Moreover, the Latin Patriarchate has jurisdiction over Cyprus.
In the three countries, Israel, Palestine and Jordan, the total number of Christians is about 400,000, half of whom live in Jordan, the other half in Palestine-Israel. Catholics, including R.C. Latins, Greek Catholics, and members of the other Eastern Catholic Churches, number about 170,000.
All these Christians are Arabs, Palestinians or Jordanians. They belong to the Arab culture and history.
Palestinian and Jordanian Christians in Palestine, Jordan and in the diaspora number some 600,000, or 12 % of the total Palestinian and Jordanian population in Palestine, Jordan and in the world.
Besides this basic traditional Arab Christian presence in the Holy Land (Israel, Palestine, and Jordan), there is a Hebrew-speaking presence: Christian Hebrew-speaking communities, both Catholic and Protestant. To that must be added a large Russian presence which came with the successive waves of Jewish immigration to Israel.
According to the various estimates given by Israeli sources, non-Jewish Russians in Israel could be four or five hundred thousand. Non-Jewish means that they are either Christians or they have Christian roots. Varied, but limited, pastoral work is carried out among this population by monasteries in Israel (Trappists, Benedictines, Salesians, Little Brothers and Sisters of Bethlehem of St Bruno), or by a few priests exclusively dedicated to this pastoral service. At the same time, Jewish religious organizations are very active in “judaizing” all of these non-Jewish Russians. Additionally, there is a third presence, this one international, made up of workers and business people. It is approximately as large as the indigenous Christian presence, particularly in Israel and Jordan.

+ Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Linz, September 29, 2006

Violence is a death cycle that must be broken

Violence is a death cycle that must be broken, and only the strong can break it. [...]
Violence cannot and should not be a way of legitimate defense. Military power alone cannot protect. Military reprisals only increase the refusal that encircles Israel in the region. Indeed the result is the deepening of hatred and refusal.
The only action to use for legitimate defense, that can really protect and will have as result the required security, consists simply in putting an end to the initial injustice which is the heart of this long conflict, that is the Palestinian question. It consists in putting an end to the Israeli military occupation imposed for years upon the Palestinians, and giving them back their freedom and their independence. To wait for all manifestation of Palestinian violence to stop in order to take this step is unrealistic and illogical, because as long as the oppression lasts, the oppression will give birth to violence.

Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
and Pax Christi International President

A violência é um ciclo de morte que é preciso quebrar

A violência é um ciclo de morte que é preciso quebrar. E só aquele que é forte o poderá fazer. [...]
A violência não pode e não deve ser um meio de legítima defesa. O poder militar só por si não protege. As represálias militares não fazem senão aumentar a fosso que isola Israel na região e escavar o ódio nos corações aumentando a separação.
A única acção de legítima defesa que pode proteger realmente e que terá por consequência a segurança pretendida consiste simplesmente em pôr fim à injustiça inicial, que está no centro deste longo conflito; a saber, a questão palestiniana: pôr fim à ocupação militar israelita imposta desde há anos ao povo palestiniano e voltar a dar-lhe a sua liberdade e a sua independência. Esperar que, para isso, toda a manifestação de violência palestiniana pare é uma atitude irrealista e ilógica, pois enquanto dure a opressão, a própria opressão faz nascer a violência.

Michel Sabbah, Patriarca Latino de Jerusalém
e Presidente da Pax Christi Internacional