Up against the Wall

29 May

imagesPope Francis visited the Apartheid Wall recently

Letter to Editor, published in the Christchurch Press, 27 May 2014:

Sir, What a lovely photo of the Pope in Bethlehem (Press 27 May)! But the caption is incorrect. The Wall does not ‘divide Israel from the West Bank’. The Wall is constructed almost entirely within the West Bank, separating Palestinians from Palestinians, i.e. students from schools, patients from hospitals, farmers from their land and water. What a shame that the Pope did not have time to visit Bethlehem University, a Catholic University, student body 70% Muslim, Vice Chancellor a Kiwi. Christians and Muslims take all classes together, even religious studies. Religion has never been a problem with Palestinians but the Occupation certainly is! All three Abrahamic religions have a strong sense of justice and shared humanity. All three also have a problem with violent fundamentalists. There are Christians who call for Armageddon so Christ will come again and the chosen ones, themselves, will be ‘raptured’ to Heaven. The Israelis have refused to allow the Pope to mingle freely in Jerusalem because they fear violence from fundamentalists, in this case Jewish fundamentalists. People need to be careful of unfairly vilifying the ‘Other.’ And let’s join the Pope in striving for a world without walls.

Lois Griffiths.

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