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My Name Is Palestine

 

I was in Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem where there is a gallery for Palestinian artists, and saw a painting by the superb Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour.  I found the painting so powerful, I said that I would like to put together a song sparked off by this painting – I thought it could be a 12” vinyl single with the painting on the front cover.  I told my good friend Wisam Salsaa, Manager of the Walled Off Hotel, and he phoned Suleiman for his permission, which was kindly given. I then wrote to various Palestinian friends showing them the painting, and asked them for their thoughts.  Those thoughts I have reflected in the lyrics.  It all came together as this song, My Name is Palestine.
I would like to thank those people who responded to me about what the content should be – they are: Naim Ateek, Mitri Raheb, Abdelfattah A Abusrour, Usama Nicola, Zoughbi Zoughbi, Susan Bahroum, and Rasha Salsaa – and special thanks to Wisam for all his help on this project.  And of course special thanks also to Suleiman Mansour for allowing me to use his beautiful and striking painting – very grateful thanks.
The Palestinian Nakba, or Catastrophe, has gone on and on for years, with Palestinians treated always as of lesser value and as if they don’t matter.  This project is to assert the equality of all people and is a call for justice to come to this community who have suffered so much racism.
Garth Hewitt

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A prayer for the land once known as holy

God of justice and compassion

Hear the cries of your wounded people
Hear the cries of those imprisoned
in a land once called ‘holy’
May we be part of the community
that raises our voices
and challenges our governments
to speak up for those who get ignored.
We pray for justice to come
because peace cannot come
without justice
And yet when there is justice we know
that both Palestinians and Israelis
will find freedom and hope
In the sadness of a deeply wounded Middle East
we pray that the plight of the victims of injustice
will not be forgotten any longer
by the governments of the world
nor by the church leaders of the world
May we hear the call of this kairos moment
to walk with the values of Jesus
and to campaign and pray
that peace with justice
will become a reality –
so both Palestinians and Israelis will find peace,
so both may move forward to a new day where all are respected,
and where both communities find hope.
And when we travel there as pilgrims
may we be renewed by our encounter with the ‘Fifth Gospel’
that opens our eyes to the values of your kingdom
and the way of healing and hope.

 

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Garth Hewitt writes redemption songs

and then sings them without fear.

His voice comes through clearly,

challenging us by his witness to act for justice. His is a brave voice,

needed more than ever in a fearful world, and in a sometimes timid church.

Please God, it will help us

sing redemption songs of our own.

 

The Revd Lucy Winkett

Rector, St James’s Piccadilly

previous Chair of Trustees of Amos Trust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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