Buenos Aires – Argentine: October 2003 – Year II – Nº 6
PALESTINE, Ceremonial of the humanity (view)
By: Suhail Hani Daher Akel *
Palestine in the center of the world
When we analyze the words of the Palestinian Jesus expressed in Jerusalem; they inspire the humanity to insert to Palestine as a universal legacy detected in the Center of the World. A world that rotates over it owns weight. A weight that returns with secular sequence to its origins. A pre-biblical origin as source of life. A life that the old cannanites-philisteos of the Arab Semite Palestinian genealogy give sense based on the ceremony. A Ceremony, that with the course of the years was becoming the life itself.
To situate us geographically, it enough to go to one of the main texts that that the humanity offers with the feather of God and it is the Holy Bible, where we found situated to Palestine and its capital Jerusalem with 5500 years and mentioned 1020 times and to its main cities: Bethlehem, with 4500 years and mentioned 54 times; Hebron, 4500 years and mentioned 74 times; Jericho, with 10 thousand years and mentioned 71 times or Nablus, mentioned 71 times too. All of them still rise over the punished Palestinian land as unquestionable stamps of the universal patrimony.
Of these Patrimony also took part the powers of that time that were arriving by land or sea, some of them, with sense of destruction and others with sense of construction.
So, we can mention the construction of the Hebrews in the 956 BC of the Salomon King Temple in Jerusalem later destroyed by the Romans, sustaining to this time the Western Wall, known as the Wall of the Laments. The Byzantine in the 335 AC, find the crucifixion cross of Jesus and over that place, its queen Elena (Saint Elena) ordered the construction of the current Basilica of the Sacred Sepulcher in Jerusalem and of lot of the churches standing in the Palestinian land.
The Arabs, in charge of the caliph Umar Ben El Jattab, recovered in the 638 and printed definitely the Arab character of Palestine and the era of the Islam, building the caliph Abedel Malik between the 688 and the 691, on the same rock of the elevation to heaven, of the prophet Mohammed in Jerusalem, the wonderful Omar’s Mosque or the Mosque of the Rock and his son Walid finished the current Sacred Property with the construction of the Mosque of Al Aksa, becoming the property in the first Quibla of the Islam and the third in importance inside de Muslim religion, its successors continued the construction of hundreds of mosques that today reward Palestine.
With the presence of the Ottoman Empire, its sultan Soleiman Al Azzem, between 1520 and 1566 reconstructed the deteriorated walls of Jerusalem and its 8 magnificent front doors to the Old City and gave the guard of the Holy Places to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchal of Jerusalem. His wife, sultana Jasseki, constructed in Palestine special places to the indigents.
Also in Europe at the beginning of the last century, had influences with the construction of the German School of young ladies, Schmidt College, administered by nuns; the Frances Alliance and the English School Saint George.
All this constructions beautified the Sacred Land and give potential to its culture, thanks to the respect and the Ceremony imposed by the king Melquisedec, the Palestinian People conserved them intact until today, including the Wall of the Laments, the Holy Sepulchre and the Sacred Property of the Mosques.
The English writer Lawrence Oliphant, in 1887, valued the wealth and the fertility of the Palestinian land, writing: ”Is an enormous green lake, of undulant wheat with its mounds crowned by villages that raise as islands with exuberant fertility”. This fertility allowed to the handmade Palestinian hands to elaborate with their wheat and vine, the bread and the wine. The bread and the wine that distributed Maleq Sadec (Melquisedec), Cannanite-Palestinian king of Jerusalem and Supreme Priest of God the Most High, with Abraham, when he arrived to Palestine and to Jerusalem sent by Allah (God).
The fraternally of the Palestinian king and the submission of Abraham, two faith men, converted the old Palestine in the mother that engendered to the three monotheistic religions; in the basal stone of the Ceremony that is still practiced in the missal of the synagogues, the churches and the mosques and the test tube of the Ceremonial in the base of the correct offer of a king and his visitor.
That is, that the Ceremonial was taking inseparable part of the customs, the roots and the culture of the population of that millennial Palestine and we can mention a hundred of examples that gratify to the life, however, I take as example the Ceremony that Jesus offered in the Last Dinner o the Secret Dinner with his disciples. Also Him distributed the bread and the wine to say goodbye and to surrender to the cowardly aspirations of the colonialists that occupied Palestine and took him to the crucifixion. But the Ceremony was also part in his dead. Already down of the cross, he washed himself and he prepared his sepulchre and then his resurrection, settle down in the men life, the ceremony to say goodbye to a loved person.
of the Gift in Palestine
The generous attitude of the gifts in Palestine, symbolized in the Ceremony offered by the homage of Jasper, Melchor and Baltasar when they arrived to the precarious cave to offer his presents for the birth of the Palestinian Jesus en Bethlehem.
Their example sealed from East to West a similar capacity to entertain the relatives and friends in the special days. From the more expensive gifts to the simple presents, represented in the Ceremonial of the life and love and the respect for the fellow being, main preachment of Jesus in the Holy Land.
In this time, the gifts, the presents and the attentions that take part of the daily life of the Peoples, are also, inseparable part of the Official Ceremonial of the States.
Ceremonial as part of the Palestinian Life
From the plebeians to the kings. From the impoverished families to the rich ones. From its condition of occupied and subjected in the past and in the present, the Palestinian People grow and developed itself in a mark of gratitude toward the other one. The inherited Ceremony of entertain, offer the house and to serve a table with many and different plates of highly elaborated dished, allowed to the visitor to feel comfortably happy and pleasant not only in a palace but also in a precarious house or in one of the current refugees’ carp.
From the Arab coffee with the classical sediment for its reading, to the orange tea or with leaves of fresh mint, it was part of the Ceremony and they became a tradition in a Palestinian home, with small porcelain vessels overflowed with the candies with bath of syrup, with nuts, almonds, pistachios, in continuos beat for the interesting gathering, where the acquired Ceremonial played a preponderant role in the distribution of the places, respecting the older and the different family hierarchies. Methodology that with the pass of the years was adopted in the Ceremonial of the kings, presidents, diplomats, ministers and ecclesiastical. It was also adopted in the daily life of the modern companies and institutions.
The tobacco could not be absent in a land where the plantations of Virginia tobacco perfumed in the past and in the present to the best English cigarettes. So that in the Palestinian habits the Ceremony of the tobacco is as special as the coffee or the tea. The <narguille> or water pipe in its different measures and heights, is the element that the Palestinian, with his grateful oriental root, prepares patient and carefully the Ceremony that cultivates and honors the friendship. The smoke of the <tombac> (common tobacco sweetened with flavor to fruits) that filters for the water and passes from mouth to mouth, is the delight of men and women in the family meetings or of the <mohtar> (old sage), sitting at the front door of his old house of Jerusalem with his typical <kiffa> covering his head, smoking and mentioning the historical facts that he lived, reviving his memories of the Ottomans, English, Israeli and Zionist dominance, standing out the Arab philosophy that overcomes to all them and it loads his experience and sense of life.
In the Ceremonial of the affections, the old Arab respect interpreted in their daily greeting, is stood out: Al Salam U Aleikum (the peace is with you); or in the letters following the name, it is written Hafazahu Allah (God conserves you).
Beside the great quantity of affectionate terms that allows a more fraternal human relationship, stand out the eternal gratefulness to God with the words Allah Akbar (God the Biggest).
Between the customs that take part in the daily Ceremony of the Arab-Palestinian, you find the “masbaha” (Arab Rosary), elaborated with olive wood, nacre, gold, silver, or precious stones and composed by 33 counts and 3 separations of each 11 that multiplied by three are ninety-nine compassionate nicknames, with those which is named to God. And it is, the little masbaha that slips among the fingers in a come and go, producing an emotional discharge, that facilitates the man to be understanding and tolerant with his brothers and with himself.
Ceremonial of the Artisans
From generation to generation the feeling of the Palestinian People, transmitted the patient Ceremony of its craft, keeping alive a noble culture expressed in the callous hands of the artisan in his carved and works in olive tree wood, nacre, mud, crystal, and brass, elaborating truly arts pieces with religious figures and decorations, arriving those to the hands of the highest religious dignitaries and prestigious presidents between others and they are the forced souvenir for the tourists that arrive to the famous “suk” (market) in the small streets of the Old City of Jerusalem.
While the women, as generators of life, transmitted from mother to daughter the valuable inheritance and the handmade Ceremony of the needles and threads of gold and of strong colors that were intertwined with their delicate hands to express through the embroidery of their gear the easy identification of their villages and regions and the deep culture of the millennial patrimony of Palestine.
As special homage of the Islam to the mothers, the prophet Mohammed said: “Make dust under your mother’s feet, because the Paradise will be where she steps”.
Ceremony of the Palestinian intellectuality
The complex range of feelings and emotions in the historical and cultural coordinates was imposed in the Arab Palestinian intellectuality. In spite of having been developed under the subjection of the colonialists that in turns, occupied their land, humiliate to their people and perforated their wounds, their defensive strategy on the base of the philosophic Ceremony of life, it was getting rich through the bitter irony of the reality and the spoken game of their tragedy, fruit of an historical vision, exempt of bitterness and hates.
From the resistant and the martyrdom, the main poets of the Palestinian Land where in their time, the prophets. Of the contemporaries, between the lyrical thing and the testimonial thing, the Palestinian feather wrought between the Arab intellectuality of its writers and poets became the main scream of freedom to impose to the occupation and clarify the essential key of the suffering and the pain of the Palestinian people, victim of the arrogance, the haughtiness and the intolerance of the current occupant power.
Nurtured of philosophy and thought, also the Arab proverb acquired by the life experience of its millennial peoples, was the favorable atmosphere for the Ceremonial of the experience and the transmission of bonds between East and West.
From the different occupations, including the Israeli current one, the foremen of the dreams tried to appropriate of the Palestinians hopes and to make their wishes of freedom succumb.
Chained and gagged, the Palestinian flavored the bitter presence of the shift colonialist during: 434 years, by the Israeli-Hebrews in three periods; 900 years, among the Babylonians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans and Crusaders; 397 years, the Ottomans; 31 years, the British; 55 years, the creation of Israel over the land of Palestine in 1948 and, for 36 years, the Israeli military occupation, since 1967 of the rest of its small territory that does not reach a 22 per cent of the millennial Palestine, including the sector of East Jerusalem.
Considering, as a base, the Palestinian presence that overcame the ten millennia over its territory, we observe that since the first Hebrew invasion to Palestine since the year 1020 before Christ to now, the Palestinian People lived and suffered a territorial occupation that averaged the 1817 years. This summarized history, becomes necessary to found that if the Palestinian people, from the king Malquisedec so far, would not have had a Ceremonial of life and attachment to their roots, it undoubtedly would have extinguished as many other tribes and peoples along man’s formation.
In 1994, the Palestinian people has the opportunity of counting with its first Government on the Native Land, headed by His Excellency Democratic President Engineer Yasser Arafat and on the base of the structure of State that was being organized by the religious political leaders in the beginnings of the last century. Since the decade of the sixty, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), started to consolidate – in spite of being still under the Israeli military occupation – the restitution of a sovereign and democratic State, forged in the excellent Ceremonial inherited with their official symbols and their magnificent protocol, that the World could know with the first views that arrived to Palestine starting from 1944, among them, the Presidents of the United Stated, South Africa, Spain and the Sacred Father John Paul II.
On the base of this strong historical experience, in my conclusion I rescue: To the Ceremony of the life above the death of the war, to the Ceremony of the coexistence above the intolerance of the hate.
* Ambassador of Palestine in Argentina