8pm Saturday 9th April 2005
St John’s Wood Church, Lords Roundabout, NW8 Nearest station: St John’s Wood
Please arrive early as seating is limited. Drinks and Arabic sweets will be served.
I am Im-Fares – mother of Fares – in Palestine it’s not respectful to call a married woman by her name, like a girl. I’m a mother now so I’m called after my eldest child. Im-Fares. I will always be known as ‘Mother of Fares’ even though my son is no longer with us. He will live in my name – for as long as I live. He should have lived long after me, but now his name will die with me.
(From “Five Soldiers and a Boy” – to be performed at DYD2005)
Once upon a time, the children of Abraham: Muslims, Christians and Jews, were blessed
“… and the Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham … and said, … ‘that in blessing I will bless thee, …and I will multiply they seed as the stars of the heaven … and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed’…”
How have we come from this place of blessing to the atrocity of Deir Yassin? Deir Yassin Day, 2005 traces the “children of Abraham” from the stories in the Bible and the Qur’an, through the golden ages of Islamic history until war and massacre came to the Holy Land of Palestine.
· Music composed and performed for Deir Yassin by world famous musician and writer, Gilad Atzmon. www.gilad.co.uk
· A short story from Ghassan Kanafani, the award winning Palestinian novelist assassinated by Mossad in 1972 http://www.al-awda.org/ghassankanafani/
· Songs from Palestine and the choir of St Johns Wood Church
· Dramatised true stories from Palestinian refugee camps and Israeli soldiers
· A short film and photographs, A Palestinian Dream, from Italian artist David Brunetti
Maxine Peake –Shameless/Channel 4, Andy de la Tour – Notting Hill and Oliver Twist, Roger Lloyd-Pack – Only Fools & Horses and The Vicar of Dibley, Susan Wooldridge – The Jewel in the Crown and The Last Place on Earth,Vincent Manna – AMP’s Swan Lake , Gregory Donaldson – The Bill/ Granada, Mark Wainwright – Wagner’s Ring Cycle/ ENO, Andrew McBean – RSC and Shooting with Parsley/DYD 2004 and many others….
“….as the stars of the heaven…” The Children of Abraham St John’s Wood Church – situated between the London Central Mosque and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue –invites the Palestinian and solidarity communities to join them for the Deir Yassin Day 2005 commemoration. The title is taken from the Book of Genesis: “… and the Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham … and said, … ‘that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply they seed as the stars of the heaven … and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed’…”
So how did we get from this place of blessing to the atrocity of Deir Yassin?
It is tempting to think that Christians persecuted Jews in Europe, and subsequently Jews persecute Muslims and Christians in Palestine: is this how we came to Deir Yassin?
What of Jewish disdain for Christians; and what about the crimes of Christians against Muslims in the past, and now in Iraq – Abraham’s own birthplace? And what of those Muslims today, who, in their anguish and despair, care so little for innocent life? Is this how we came to Deir Yassin?
But, there have been many times over the centuries when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in peace, tolerance and mutual respect, producing some of the greatest philosophy, science and art known to humanity. Knowing this, and having come to a Deir Yassin of massacre and atrocity, can we move to a Deir Yassin of hope and reconciliation?
The road to Deir Yassin is a hard one. Today, in this church, between a great synagogue and a great mosque, perhaps we may begin our journey.
Through commemoration, truth is placed firmly in the public view. Whatever the intentions of the powerful may be and whatever the political outcomes, it becomes ever more important that the truth of Palestinian life and history be established forever. Through commemoration of the pivotal and symbolic massacre at Deir Yassin, this truth is placed firmly in the public view.
Deir Yassin, is remembered yearly with commemorations throughout the world and at two flagship events in Jerusalem and London. We write, speak, and publish constantly and three permanent memorials have been dedicated to Deir Yassin: in the Dar al Tifl Children’s School in Jerusalem; in Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow and by Lake Seneca in upstate New York. With your help, we shall one day soon build such a memorial here in London.
Everybody knows there must eventually be peace and reconciliation in Israel/Palestine, but what kind of peace, what kind of reconciliation and at what cost? We believe that such reconciliation can only be based on truth, justice and the law.
We have heard calls for a “revolutionary forgiveness” – a forgiveness with truth and justice at its centre, and thus removed from injustice and piety – to take place in “the broken middle of Jerusalem”. Those of us committed to the memory and meaning of Deir Yassin agree, but ask that the reconciliation take place slightly off centre at the village of Deir Yassin.
A truthful and visible memorial at Deir Yassin, clearly viewed from the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem, may not only be one way out of the present horror, it may be the only way out. With this is in mind, we will one day consecrate a truth and reconciliation memorial and centre at Deir Yassin, the site of the great atrocity against Palestinians and close to the site commemorating the great atrocity against Jews.
May God bless the Palestinian people.
Contact Deir Yassin Remembered at PO Box 25852, London N5 1ZUTel 0207 7607 6035 email: firstname.lastname@example.org