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Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Sunday in Bayt Sahur

The photo and story: Azar, George Baramki. Palestine: A Photographic Journey. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991, 66-67.

Holding the outlawed Palestinian flag above her head, Jamila Comsia emerges from Sunday church service.

Sunday in Bayt Sahur

Bayt Sahur is a town near Bethlehem. Our townspeople are well educated; our men and women are very strong, as are our young.

Since the occupation began in 1967, everyone in Bayt Sahur has become unhappy with the military presence here. The truth is, we would all like our independence, to have our own government, to be able to hold our own opinions and maintain our traditions.

We want to be able to walk down the street with our children, in any way we please, without anyone's objections.

We were, of course, very happy when the intifada started in Gaza. Although we had not experienced the same hardships as the people of Gaza, we wanted to show the Israelis that we are a single nation. We wanted to show them that we have brains and feelings and that like them we are also the children of God.

Soon after the intifada began, the town of Bayt Sahur rose up and lent assistance to Gaza, sending contributions of food and milk by truck. After a month and a half we started our own demonstrations, each Sunday after Mass, to express what we felt inside.

From week to week we would look forward to Sunday's demonstration. And I can truthfully tell you that every woman, before putting her head on the pillow Saturday night, finished all her cooking, all her cleaning, all her washing--the pots, the pans, the utensils--and her ironing and made sure that she didn't have any work on Sunday so that she would be free to march, hand in hand with the young, holding our banners and flags.

We were on fire waiting for Sunday.

Jamila Comsia
Bayt Sahur, December 1988

i have that put sitting on my desk...
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