By Anne Guinan, MHSH, Director, Mission Helper Productions
Sister Caritas Kennedy, RSM, our Associate Director, and I have travelled extensively in the Holy Land producing a video Scripture course and leading tours. Each time we return home we realize that many American Christians have no idea there are thousands of Christians in the Holy Land. Many Arab Christians trace their heritage back to the first Pentecost!
As experienced videographers, we felt compelled to produce this documentary where residents of the Holy Land could speak for themselves and where viewers could see what life is really like there. The U.S. media seldom reports the ongoing abuses. We met with residents (young and old), educators, peace activists and key Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.
We became increasingly distressed by the deteriorating conditions we found in the West Bank and Gaza. Now a 30-foot concrete wall is built on Palestinian land isolating the Palestinians. Bethlehem, for instance, is completely surrounded by the wall. Children who live only five miles from Jerusalem have never seen the Holy Sepulcher because of travel restrictions.
Palestinian homes are demolished and centuries-old olive groves are destroyed. Such collective punishment also includes rejection of Palestinian permits to build new homes and sudden curfews that cripple business and close schools.
We hope that those who see this DVD will join us in asking key questions: How are the billions of dollars the U.S. gives to Israel being used? Why are thousands of Palestinians still living in refugee camps in their own country or abroad, and why is Israel still occupying the West Bank and Gaza?
There is an old saying, “You have to go there to know there.” We offer this video to “show there” so the viewer can feel more personally acquainted with the people and the situation. Our hope and prayer is that the experience will motivate our fellow citizens to join in peacemaking in whatever way is possible for them.