Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Taste the Revolution:
Oktoberfest in Taybeh, Palestine
By Eileen Fleming
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 13, 2010
It has been written that 2,000 years ago, a Palestinian Jew
named Jesus began a public social justice ministry which challenged the
status quo of The Temple and Roman Occupying Forces, by turning water into
wine to keep a party going.
In 21st century Palestine the
beverage of choice is beer from Taybeh, the last remaining self-sufficient
Christian West Bank village.
In 1947, 20% of the total
population of the land we call Holy was Christian, but the Christian
Exodus has reduced their numbers to less that 1.3% of the total in 2010.
Researchers predict that unless things change very soon, Holy Land
Churches will be nothing more than museums for there will be no Christian
community in the Holy Land.
The reasons why the most well educated
and consistently nonviolent members of that society are fleeing in droves
include the 42 years of ongoing occupation and oppression that has
resulted in lack of economic opportunities, The Wall which divides
Palestinians from their land, resources, families and holy sites and the
increasing sense of hopelessness that fuels militancy and fundamentalism
within all three branches of Father Abraham's offspring's.
Palestinians have taught me that they laugh at the worst tragedies, or
else they would be crying all the time.
Maria Khoury, writes from Taybeh: where they produce Holy Land olive oil
and beer, but 50% of the people of Taybeh are unemployed. It is Maria
Khouryís faith that sustains her sense of humor and fuels her love for her
homeland and people.
Maria is organizing the 6th Annual Taybeh
Oktoberfest, as a means to demonstrate peaceful resistance and non-violent
actions. She emailed me the following invitation to the world.
Dr. Maria Khoury at St. George Church
Godís Humor in Promoting Taybeh
By Maria C. Khoury,
I am sitting in the middle of the wilderness and most of
the days I am sincerely happy that the whole world is willing to come to
me. I clearly have nothing to do with this fame since my
brother-in-law, Nadim Khoury, worked extraordinarily hard since the early
90ís to make one of the best products that exist in Palestine.
People from all of the world want to come and see how we make this great
micro brewed beer, the only micro brew beer in the whole Middle East,
Most times I am thinking we are absolutely
crazy to stay in the highest mountain region of Palestine especially when
we have all of the illegal Israeli settlements closing in on Taybeh and
preparing a greater Israel. Sometimes, no electricity and
other times, no running water and once in a while a few army invasions.
But, there is something amazing happening here in Biblical Judea where
Judea is ending and Samaria begins. With Godís help we are still
making the Finest Beer in the Middle East and feel this is our peaceful
On one level it is seriously God expressing his humor
in somehow making it possible for a minority Christian family to exist
among 98% Muslim population packaging a product that the majority are
forbidden to drink by the Koran.
And what is interesting
about God is that He has granted much strength and blessings to survive
harsh conditions of occupation, closure of roads and economic daily
obstacles along with all of the other usual checkpoint problems. Recently
the Israeli occupation policies are making us go three hours out of the
way to a designated commercial checkpoint with a scanner in
order to deliver Taybeh Beer to Jerusalem which is technically only
twenty-five minutes away from the brewery. Talk about a way to put you
out of business since gas on this side of the world is approximately four
times higher than you might know.
So day by day we are
beginning to feel we are a terrible threat to Israel. We focus and
concentrate on creating an excellent product in Palestine so people could
select Palestinian products and help keep Palestinians at work and this is
a whole different threat to Israel since they like to keep the Palestinian
market flooded with Israeli products whether they are beer, ice cream,
milk or chips.
Palestinian people suffer from lack of
patriotism and they are very divided in their opinions so supporting local
products is not high on their priorities. However, in the last fifteen
years of making premium quality beer we have made some accomplishments in
conquering the market share and we do our best to promote pride in
I am thinking that God has humor since He is
somehow allowing through the making of beer to bring awareness to the
small Christian community in Palestine. People come from all corners of
the world to get a Taybeh Beer tour and at the end they realize our
village has been Christian for two thousand years since Christís visit.
We are the only all-Christian village that is left in Palestine.
How sad? Where have the rest of the Christians gone? I guess
to better places like the USA, Australia, Europe, South America and
anywhere that they can give a better life to their children.
Thus, we have people come for the beer and they leave with a message of
love. The message is simple but so hard to implement. Love thy
neighbor and Love thy enemy is the bottom line.
Or at least
people understand that we simply want to have the freedom to be who we are
and to make beer for beer lovers since freedom, justice and peace allow
for all religions, all people, all colors and ethnic groups to co-exist.
For the last six years we have gathered more Christians,
Muslims and Jews for the annual Taybeh Oktoberfest than any conference in
Taybeh has reflected peaceful resistance by
making extraordinary efforts to do simple things like celebrate life.
Living in an environment of not knowing what will happen day to day, the
success of the festival is that it simply takes place and its peaceful.
If we are blessed as in the past maybe more than ten thousand people
Taybeh Oktoberfest has become one of the
distinctive festivals in Palestine and people travel from Brazil, Japan,
Europe to perform and express their solidarity. We have made huge efforts
to put Taybeh on the map since Israel is doing a great job to wipe us off.
We want to inspire people to travel to the Holy Land and see with their
own eyes what is happening. If you think that Palestinians are not
practicing non-violent action please know that millions of us are trying
every day to do ordinary things like work, go to school and have a party
and we view this as non violent action to the awful conditions we
experience under occupation. Come and support our local products or please
pray for peace and be with us in spirit, Oct 2 & 3, 2010, 11 am to 10 pm,
in Taybeh, Ramallah, Palestine, The Holy Land.
When you visit
Taybeh you will also understand Godís humor.
Come Taste the
Taybeh Oktoberfest, Sat & Sun, Oct 2 & 3, 2010, 11 am
to 10 pm.
Dr. Maria C. Khoury
Eileen Fleming, Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and
"13 Minutes with Vanunu"
Member of Salem-news.com
Correspondent for Arabisto.com and
Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and
"Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and
Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker:
Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world again."-Tom