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A blog about Life the Universe and everything Palestinian and Irish

October 2010 Posts


Occupational Hazard
Blog Entry

Rest in Peace?

Saturday, October 23rd 2010 @ 9:56 AM (not yet rated)    post viewed 2173 times

It is one month since a family bereavement occurred and as with our custom on this day we return to the Church for “The Month’s Mind”, mass is again offered for the deceased and in a sense it ends the immediate mourning period.  Afterwards we visited the grave of the deceased and by the time we left the graveyard we had viewed as many as 10 different family plots.

The two oldest of the family plots are located beside Bronze Age monuments which date from 1,000 BC. I guess that no matter how long a burial ground is in use it remains a sacred space, this place certainly has.  It made me realise that burial grounds do not come with a sell by date; their significance is reaffirmed by each successive generation. Layers of family friendship and community rest quietly in the soil and likewise within the hearts of those who come to visit and remember.

Today Psalm 122 was read at the mass and it spoke of Jerusalem using the words “May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels” Standing in our graveyard and thinking of those words I was reminded of another resting place a cemetery in Jerusalem called “Mamilla”, this once noble and revered burial ground is now part car park and part building site. In the latter-day Jerusalem not even the dead can rest themselves within the walls or find security within the grave.

To read more about Mamilla Cemetery visit


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Blog Entry

The Palestinians enjoy shooting!

Saturday, October 9th 2010 @ 5:33 AM (not yet rated)    post viewed 1945 times

That got your attention; yes the Palestinians enjoy shooting a few hoops now and then.

Have you ever considered that behind the walls of occupation there exist a people who love sport? Soccer, horse racing, basketball, and thanks to a bunch of mad Irish guys who visited the OPT two years ago they have two Rugby teams in the West Bank and likewise in Gaza countless children sport Irish Gaelic football jerseys now that Gaza has its first GAA (Cumann Luthchleas Gael: Gaelic Athletic Association) club

The irony of all this is that a sport loving people have never being giving a sporting chance on the playing field of life!

Players fight for control of the ball during the first round in the Palestinian Women basketball championship between Terra Santa, Beit Hanina (blue) and Serie, Ramallah (grey) at the Abu Amar sport hall in Bethlehem, 2005.

Players fight for control of the ball during a basketball match between Terra Santa, Beit Hanina (black) and Orthodoxy Bethlehem (Yellow) at the Abu Amar sport hall in Bethlehem, 2005.


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Dave Smith
Group Administrator
fatherdave said on Sunday, October 10th 2010 @ 1:07 AM:

During my one-and-only visit to the 'Holy Land' in 2004 it was suggested that perhaps I might spend some time there teaching kickboxing to young people in the West Bank.

A TV commentator later said to me that it was the only time he had ever heard anyone suggest a way forward in Israel/Palestine that involved introducing more fighting! Wink

Blog Entry


Tuesday, October 5th 2010 @ 6:59 AM (not yet rated)    post viewed 1843 times

Christian and Muslim clerics demonstrate against defamation of the Prophets and faiths, Bethlehem, 2006

Blasphemy is defined as irreverence toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs.

Last Sunday for the fourth time this year a mosque was set alight in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. This arson attack is attributed to Israeli settlers who left their calling card in the form of hebrew graffiti, including a reference to the mosque as a “toilet”.  No one has been apprehended for this incident or the previous 3 attacks.

Muslims are not the only ones who are the victims of blasphemous acts by Israeli citizens. Last year there was a furor in the Holy Land over the broadcast of a satire on Israel’s channel 10 which blasphemed the person of Christ, his mother and John The Baptist. The satire was so nasty that even the Vatican issued a formal statement of complaint.

Its 30 years since the Vatican wrote to the UN Security Council requesting judicial safeguards to preserve the religious plurality of Jerusalem so that no one felt subordinate to the other. “In short, the history and contemporary reality of Jerusalem present a unique case of a city that is in itself deeply united by nature but is at the same time characterized by a closely intertwined religious plurality. Preservation of the treasures of the significance of Jerusalem requires that this plurality be recognized and safeguarded in a stable concrete manner and therefore publicly and juridically, so as to ensure for all three religions a level of parity, without any of them feeling subordinate with regard to the others.”

All these years later we can see that this request has gone unheeded both with regard to Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Territories.  

“The oil of religion should never be used to inflame the fires of hatred but should be used to soothe and heal the wounds of others.” 

H.B. Archbishop Anastasios, primate of the Church of Albania



 For a fresh perspective on Palestine and Christianity visit the Church Pages at Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance.



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Dave Smith
Group Administrator
fatherdave said on Thursday, October 7th 2010 @ 10:18 AM:

You raise a significant issue here Alan. At what point does free speech and satire become blasphemy?

The whole concept of 'blasphemy' seems so last generation in the Christian community today.  Perhaps Monty Python's Life of Brian was a turning point for many of us - helping us not to take ourselves too seriously.  And yet I appreciate that not everybody can bring themselves to find humor in such satire.

Certainly Christians and Muslims are expected nowadays to tolerate people verbally and visually trampling on things they consider sacred. The fact that the Jewish community can simultaneously maintain a ban on discussion of the Holocaust is of course a glaring irony.

AlanLonergan said on Saturday, October 9th 2010 @ 4:53 AM:

Thanks for the comment Fr Dave, I watched the Life of Brian and laughed but frankly I think that even Monty Python would have blushed at the Channel 10 satire. You touch on an important point when you say “The whole concept of 'blasphemy' seems so last generation in the Christian community today” Here in Ireland the government was forced by a ruling of the court to introduce a “Blasphemy law” last year, in typical Irish fashion someone set out to breach the law just so they could be dragged into court - they failed - they just could not blaspheme anything sufficiently bad to warrant prosecution! However were they to go hell for leather as we say and blaspheme the Jewish faith it is certain that they would find themselves before a judge in the blink of an eye. It’s all about parity of esteem, equality and mutual respect, something that is lacking when it comes to the native Christian and Muslim community in the Holy Land.

Blog Entry

She came knocking but they would not let her in

Friday, October 1st 2010 @ 11:22 AM (not yet rated)    post viewed 1780 times

For the third time in two years Israel has detained / imprisoned Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire.  Why does this woman frighten them so? What is their problem with this kind and gentle grandmother?  She brings a message that Israel does not want to hear, In a word, PEACE!

Mairead Corrigan Maguire pictured on a visit to the Holy Family Parish School Gaza, Nov. 2008.  The Holy Family School is one of the coeducational facilities educating Muslim and Christian children in Gaza.

Nobel Peace Laureate Refused Entry To Israel

Palestine Monitor

29 September 2010

Israeli authorities refused on Tuesday to allow Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire into Israel: she was detained at the country’s Ben Gurion International Airport. The Irish Peace activist – who won her Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work bringing peace to Northern Ireland – arrived at the Tel Aviv airport yesterday morning from Frankfurt Airport. Airport authorities allowed Maguire’s travel companion and colleague, Ann Patterson, into the country. Both women were coming to Israel and occupied Palestinian territories as part of a women’s peace delegation organised by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, a global organisation co-founded by Maguire and five sister Nobel Peace Laureates.

MP Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative condemned Israeli decision to prevent Ms Maguire to enter Israeli and consequently the Palestinian territories. “The decision to refuse entry to Mr Maguire is based on illegitimate and arbitrary political considerations”.She has always been active in a peaceful and non-violent way”, said Barghouthi emphasizing Maguire’s efforts in showing her solidarity to the Palestinians and their peaceful resistance against Israeli occupation. “She has dedicated all her life to peace and of course she does not represent a threat to Israel’s security. Maguire’s denied entry is another step carried out by Israel to suppress any critical voice of israeli policy towards the Palestinians”.

Ms Maguire was supposed to take part into the conference “We Can Change”, a conference on empowering Palestinian women capacity building, which will be held tomorrow in Ramallah.

Last June, Maguire was detained after Israeli naval commandos intercepted and illegally boarded the Irish cargo ship MV Rachel Corrie, in international waters. The ship’s passengers included Maguire, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday and other Irish and Malaysian activists. The MV Rachel Corrie – named for a young American peace activist who was bulldozed to death by the Israeli military – was the last remaining vessel of the Gaza Freedom flotilla, a 40-nation effort to break through Israel’s illegal blockade. Nine people were killed the previous week when Israeli military navy boarded the Mavi Marmara, one of the vessels taking part in the flotilla. On that occasion, Israeli officials sent Maguire back to Ireland after holding her several days in a detention center outside of Tel Aviv.


Irish woman and Nobel Peace Laureate, Maireaid Corrigan Maguire (left), greeted by Dr. Mona El-Farra M.D. of the Gaza Advisory Council at Gaza Port. Oct. 2008



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Palestine, Palestinian, Jerusalem, Death, Graveyard, Mamilla,