“Marathonic circus of stirring eye-rubbing, evoking optical transgression. . .” (Shukri Abu-Baker)

Dr. Polly Coote
Dr. Polly Coote

Professor Polly Coote, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, CA

Phrases from the Bible you’ve heard all your life can strike you in disconcerting new ways when you set eyes for the first time on the “Holy Land” as it is today. Take, for example, the Jericho Road: the way Isaiah urged the exiles to take from Babylon back to Jerusalem, the road Jesus took on Palm Sunday, the route of the Good Samaritan . . . After participating in a Keep Hope Alive olive harvest trip, Polly Coote imagines how a present-day crowd might riff on Jesus’ parable.

Dr. Coote is an Associate Professor of Greek and Associate Dean (retired) at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California. In the fall of 2014, she and six others joined an international team organized by the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YMCA and YWCA in East Jerusalem, to assist Palestinian farmers with the annual olive harvest in an on-going gesture of support and solidarity against Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. (More. . . )

For more on the JAI-PAL Olive Tree Campaign see. .  and see. . .

Annie Robbins
March 4, 2015
Have you heard of PalAd yet? Otherwise known as the Palestine Advocacy Project? While it may seem there’s a new kid on the block who just burst on the scene launching major ad campaigns in seven major U.S. cities protesting Netanyahu’s historic assault on Congress and the minds of Americans that would not be the case. Ads have appeared in public transit systems, billboards, and mobile billboard trucks in Washington, DC, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, and San Antonio synchronizing with AIPAC’s annual D.C. conference. Take a look: (More. . .)

—U.N. News Service, Jan. 27, 2015
The United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East has announced that a major fund- ing shortfall has forced the suspension of its cash assistance pro- gram that would have helped families in Gaza repair their homes and provide rental subsidies to people left homeless after last year’s conflict in the enclave.

Announcing the suspension, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said in a press release “virtually none” of the funds pledged by donors at an international conference in Cairo last year has reached Gaza, and that it will need some $100 million in the first quarter of 2015. (More. . .)

Stephanie Westbrook
2 March 2015
Ilan Pappe, the outspoken Israeli historian, has criticized an Italian university for succumbing to “Zionist intimidation” by canceling a debate in which he was scheduled to take part.

Just days before the 16 February debate was due to take place, the University of Rome III denied the event’s organizers use of its prestigious Center for Italian and French Studies for the debate. The event — dealing with the use and abuse of identity in Europe and the Middle East — did go ahead, but at a different venue.

The last-minute cancelation is another case of preemptive muzzling by an institution of higher learning. “It is very disturbing to see how freedom of speech is framed in Europe,” Pappe told The Electronic Intifada. “Ridiculing the prophet Muhammad in cartoon is the litmus test for a society that cherishes freedom of speech; however an open candid conversation about Israel and Palestine is disallowed as an incitement.” (More. . .)

This Week In Palestine, Issue 203, March 2015
By: Ahmad Damen
The Occupation of Palestine, Al-Nakba, and the expulsion of the Palestinian people did not only affect our material world but also our spiritual culture, a culture that is still under constant threat by imperialist ideology. Although this is not a problem solely affecting Palestine, this land still represents a unique and critical case. First, it is a land with religious significance for the three largest Abrahamic faiths, which all originated in this region. Second, the Palestinian people were faced with drastic external changes more than sixty-five years ago, which left them scattered in different locations and incapable of creating a collective spiritual identity. For example, there are some spiritual traditions that have been preserved in some Palestinian towns beyond the Green Line due to their solitude. These villages are disconnected from the Arab world on one end, and marginalized by the Western world on the other end. This is despite the fact that many Palestinians on the other side of the Green Line are still Christian like most of those in Western countries, but as the article discusses later, spiritual and religious identity are not the same. (More. . .)



Night was tightly tailored to embody the day of reckoning.
A few hours of deliberation over coffee, freshly brewed,
Black. More cream, less sugar. No cream, just sugar.
Marathonic circus of stirring, eye-rubbing, evoking optical transgression.
Give it more time. Not sixty-five years. Just a couple more weeks.
Amazingly, no one seems to have tired of addressing
A conundrum relentlessly pressing: A two-tone CRISIS.
Tweets in millions. Push more buttons. Circulate. Percolate discussions.
Tune in: CNN, Fox News, Sucks News, All News.
It’s all about the hotly brewed, freshly viewed CRISIS.
What configuration? O God! What colors?
What order? What shade? What hue?
Are we up against in the perplexed woman’s DRESS?
Lord! Was it white and gold, or was it black and blue?
Lord of all colors and the colored and the non-colored.
Have mercy on this color-divided nation; obsessed with the Truth,
The holes in the truth, the ‘ifs and the buts’ in the truth. A nation
Where, by virtue of color, unarmed men are shot front and back.
Freshly delivered bullets enamored with the skin that’s born black.
And on the grayish walls of their sun-famished cells,
Five men, not quite white, not quite black. Non-quiet Arabs,
In decomposed justice, brushless they paint their pain.
However, we must not digress, lest the truth is lost in vain.
For, on the imminent Day of Reckoning,
After all the living, from the grave, have risen,
Only one question shall be addressed:
What colors didn’t the blinded see in the woman’s DRESS?

Information on Shukri Abu-Baker here. . . and here. . .

One thought on ““Marathonic circus of stirring eye-rubbing, evoking optical transgression. . .” (Shukri Abu-Baker)

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