Palestinian Christian's tour hits Perrysburg
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor
Friday, 21 June 2013 09:33
PERRYSBURG - Most Americans have limited, if any, knowledge of the gritty details regarding the plight of Palestinians on "The Other Side of the Wall," which is the name of the tour of Daoud Nassar.
|Daoud Nassar (right) signs a copy of his book for Phyllis Palmer (left) after his presentation on the Tent of Nations at Zoar Lutheran Church. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Nassar is a Christian Palestinian Farmer who spoke last Saturday at Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg. His tour is hoping to increase Americans knowledge of his perspective and challenges to establish his family's ownership of a farm.
He has founded Tent of Nations, which among its goals is striving for peaceful resolutions to conflicts in the area.
Signs at the entrance to the Nassar property read "We refuse to be enemies" in three languages.
He noted the boulders which have been placed by the Israeli government which are blocking the entrance to his property.
His family has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to convince that government the land is rightfully belongs to their family. They are forbidden to build any structures on the land without a permit, and the permits are not being granted. Thus their living is confined to caves or sometimes tents erected on the property.
The farm, which is on a hill southwest of Bethlehem in the West Bank, is also surrounded by settlements. The residents are not friendly or cordial with Nassar or his family.
Then there is the wall.
"It will not be long before we are totally cut off from the world by that wall," Nassar said of the dividing wall being constructed in the area to further divide the region.
"With walls there is more hatred, with walls there is more bitterness," Nassar said in his talk. "This situation will leave people without hope."
Nassar maintains his hope for his family, all Palestinians and the region.
"Our fear is that holy places will be like museums - visited only by tourist groups."
He says the land is the vital link and the "core issue" in their struggle. His farm and the Tent of Nations, the peacekeeping organization which is designed to help all people working together to "building bridges ... bridges for peace."
Many of those who attended have traveled to the Holy Land and noted what they saw skirted the issues of his concerns for the most part.
One unidentified lady said, "What we see on the news is not always the reality."
Bill Plitt, from the Friends of Tent of Nations North America (FOTONNA) added "People of faith travel the area and do not see the occupation, they never have a sense of the occupation."
Nassar later noted that many if not most visitors leave with no idea or concept of the checkpoints which are part of the daily concerns of he and his family.
Nassar said in addition to being prevented from building structures, they are not allowed to have running water nor electricity. Through creativity, they have built cisterns to gather water and filtration systems to use the "gray water" for trees and crops and other similar uses, and they have installed solar panels and will soon have wind turbines to help supply some needed power.
Many of the farm's precious olive trees were destroyed some years ago by those who want to destroy the area. They have been replanted. It is not until at least 10 years, before the new trees will begin to be productive.
The group is striving always to improve education, not only of their students and residents, but the world regarding the ongoing plight and fight.
They are always seeking volunteers who help with the apple and apricot harvest currently, the almond harvest in July, the grape harvest in August, the figs in September as well as the olives in October.
Their short-term volunteers spend one day to three months assisting; while long-term volunteers may sign on for six months to a year.
Bowling Green resident Wand Rich, who lived in the Middle East in the 1960s felt it was a good presentation, but considered it "moderate and temperate."
Nassar said he and his family remain every faithful and hopeful. "Without faith, without love and without hope we cannot accomplish anything. We work in small steps and our work continues."
Plitt reminded those in attendance this project is about possibilities.
"It's an issue of human dignity, human rights and freedom of movement," Plitt said.
He shared his original poem entitled, "Walls, lines, fences, borders," which highlighted how all four of those things are divisive things for all the people.
He challenged those attending to help spread the word.
"Your responsibility is to tell others," he said.
Nassar encouraged people not to be one-sided on the issue, but rather to be on the side of peace and justice.
Nassar also spoke recently in Toledo, Fostoria and Ann Arbor, Mich.
On the Net: www.fotonna.org
Last Updated on Friday, 21 June 2013 10:32