Bright Stars of Bethlehem

by Mitri Raheb

"It feels as if we are living in a nightmare. Who could have envisioned such a global shutdown? The world has come to a total standstill. Airplanes are grounded, borders closed, and billions live under quarantine. Now, all we want is to stay alive. We've come to appreciate the little things: a loaf of bread, running water, and yes, toilet paper. It might seem that the coronavirus has the entire world in its grip. 

Yet, we wake up each morning. The sun shines. Air fills our lungs. In these moments, we realize that He's got the whole world in His hands. You and me, we're all in his hands."

Like much of the world, the devastating effects of the Coronavirus continue.

  • While Bethlehem is on lock down, Israeli bulldozers are busy building the last portion of the Separation Wall from the western side of Bethlehem, cutting off the Cremisan valley and its Monastery and vineyards.
  • Festivities celebrating Bethlehem as Cultural Capital of the Arab world, including June's International Conference, have been postponed.
  • Bethlehemites are not expecting full recovery of the tourism economy for at least another two years.

Alongside the suffering, Palestinians continue to practice hope.

  • Over 50% of Dar al-Kalima courses have moved online, with more than 95% of the students actively engaged.
  • Filmmaking students are taking initiative to share their videos through their social media platforms, gaining new audiences across the world.
  • Youth instructors are offering classes online, too, including Coach Dima's online ballet classes.

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