Palestine, Arab, Christian, Holy Land, Ireland, Land League, Michae Davitt, Boycott, Resitance, Patriot, Non violence, Churchmen, Arhbishop, Gaza,
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December 2010 Posts


Occupational Hazard
Blog Entry

Holy Land Churchmen pay tribute to our farming community’s historic legacy of hope.

Wednesday, December 29th 2010 @ 12:15 PM (not yet rated)    post viewed 2497 times

click to download this audio file

Listen to the oration given by the retired Parish Priest of Gaza at the graveside of Irish patriot Michael Davitt.


The Palestinian Churchmen praying for the “liberation of Jerusalem” at Michael Davitt's graveside.

In a moving tribute acknowledging the historic achievements of the Irish farming community, three church leaders from the Holy Land came to Straid, Co. Mayo, on the first Sunday of Advent to honour the memory of Michael Davitt founder of the Land League.  As members of the world’s oldest Christian community the three Arab Palestinian Churchmen were in Ireland on a weeklong tour to highlight the distress of the Palestinian people. They were H.E. Archbishop Theodosius Hanna, Greek Orthodox Church Jerusalem, Monsignor Manuel Musallam Catholic Church Jerusalem and Mr. Constantine Dabbagh of the Middle East Council of Churches.

In the 1880’s Michael Davitt had travelled to visit the Holy Land and over one hundred years on the Holy Land in the person of three Churchmen had come to his resting place to acknowledge him and the farming community. During a moving ceremony at the graveside a wreath was laid, and prayers offered. An oration was given by Monsignor Manuel Musallam the retired parish priest of Holy Family Parish, Gaza, during which he gave thanks for the life of Michael Davitt and the “inspiration of his humanity born of love and charity; it was a humanity which served the Irish people and their liberation” he said. Michael Davitt was the son of Mayo family who were impoverished by the circumstances in which they were forced to live. The family were evicted from their home by a British landlord and were forced to emigrate to England, where Davitt lost an arm in an industrial accident. He returned to Ireland and founded the Land League in 1879, under the slogan “The land of Ireland for the people of Ireland”. Davitt led the Land League, a movement of Irish farmers in their struggle to win back control of their own land through agitation, peaceful resistance and peaceful politics. The League invented a tactic of “boycott”, so-called after it applied a process of ostracisation against the cruel land agent of Lord Erne a British landed peer. The land agent was Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott and thus the English language aquired a new word and powerful means of non-violent resistance.

During their visit to Straid they viewed the numerous displays at the Davitt museum which highlighted the historic struggle of Ireland’s farmers to win back control of their land. The visitors drew direct comparisons between the land confiscations, evictions and house demolitions they currently endure and that of Ireland’s farming past. They asked everyone especially at Christmas to remember Bethlehem which has suffered greatly under the occupation; the people of Bethlehem district and its farming community have lost assess to 87% of their land and are struggling to survive.

The Church leaders were in Ireland to promote the “Kairos Palestine” a document signed by representatives of all 13 native Christian communities in the Holy Land. The document calls for an end to the Israeli occupation and requests the international community and people worldwide to undertake a “boycott” of Israel until such time as it complies with international law. 

Michael Davitt's grave, Straid, Foxford, Co. Mayo, Ireland

During their time in the country the Church leaders were received by President Mary McAleess at Áras an Uachtaráin(the official state residence), they met with numerous religious and political leaders north and south including the four Irish Church Leaders, also included were visits to the Dáil (the Parliament of the Irish Republic) and Stormont (the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland) and civic receptions by both Mayo County Council and the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Their visit was hosted by Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance and was supported by both Trócaire and Christian Aid.  

See a photo journal of the Palestinian Churchmen's visit to Ireland here


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Dave Smith
Group Administrator
fatherdave said on Wednesday, December 29th 2010 @ 11:41 PM:

Congratulations Alan on hosting such a wonderful event. Smile


Palestine, Arab, Christian, Holy Land, Ireland, Land League, Michae Davitt, Boycott, Resitance, Patriot, Non violence, Churchmen, Arhbishop, Gaza,