This blog is a departure from my main photographic project in Palestine-Israel, “The Ongoing and Relentless Nakba.” I need a break as I prepare for my next journey of discovery which begins on May 19, 2022. Invited by the Agape Community in western Massachusetts to reflect on the 13th station on Good Friday, April 15, 2022—the body of Jesus is taken down from the cross—I offered the following:
Christ suffered, Palestinians suffer, and our earth suffers. Who or what caused these three cases of suffering? In the first, Christ, we could argue the causes. Let us simply say “the authorities,” the governing body of Palestine at that time, and the religious hierarchy both had roles. For the Palestinians, an oppressive government or state, widely supported by its population, aided immeasurably by our own country, causes Palestinian suffering. In the third, the earth, we ourselves, continuing our dependence on fossil fuels, cause all life on this earth to suffer, perhaps become extinct.
Christ suffered and died. Now he is taken for burial. Will he resurrect thru his teachings? And which teachings?
What will happen to the Palestinians? Will they become quiescent, accept Israeli domination? Will they emigrate from the region and add to the huge, growing, and longest-existing diaspora in the world. Beginning in 1948, the number of Palestinians in diaspora has grown to some 10 million human beings. Or will they finally experience international solidarity and earn their long sought just peace—refuse to be buried?
And the earth—is there hope we can resolutely address the climate crisis? Agape has struggled with this challenge over our entire 40-year history—straw bale house, electric car, a prolific garden, and our equally prolific founders, Suzanne and Brayton, among other courageous and visionary elements. I personally address the climate crisis thru my media work with Extinction Rebellion, an international movement using street theater, colorful graphics, recruitment, social media, strategic locations, and civil disobedience. We were instrumental in persuading the Boston Globe to recently add a special journalism team to tell the truth about the climate crisis.
For Palestinian rights I make photos and videos about various themes in the region, currently the refugees in the West Bank and their former homelands now forbidden to them. In a few short weeks, I return to Palestine-Israel for two months, my twentieth or so journey of discovery since 2003.
As Phil Berrigan, the luminary activist and former Catholic priest, once suggested for his epitaph. “He tried.” We try; I pray we all try. Jesus may be dead and buried but his teaching continues to reverberate. In two days we celebrate his renewal.
(I intend to visit this station in the Old City of Jersualem on my immediately forthcoming journey, along with other stations. I realize current ground level in the Old City is roughly 20 feet higher than the roads during the time of Jesus, so “walking in his foot steps” is imaginary only.)
A Ukrainian mother mourns her dead daughter, a nightmarish update to the traditional Stations of the Cross (video by Associated Press, April 15, 2022)