A Prayer for Hebron

A prayer written by the first foreigner to join the team in Al Khalil since the pandemic, on leaving.
a painting of Hebron's old city, framed

So, farewell for now, beautiful Hebron.
I am thankful for the hills that surround you,
for your ancient stone houses and your limestone streets,
for the Old Souk,
for the tomb of the Patriarchs,
for the choruses of Calls to Prayer,
for your blown glass and ceramics and leatherwork and keffiyehs
and the craftspeople who design and make and sell these lovely things;
for your old, old story,
for giving us Abraham,
father of faith, of adventure in old age,
and of disputatiousness with the Divine.
I am thankful for your people—
longsuffering, hospitable, adaptable, courageous, angry—
and for their beautiful resistance to oppression.

I regret
my collusion, sometimes, with the powers that maintain your oppression,
my wish, sometimes,  to turn from your suffering,
my reluctance, sometimes, to speak out when others blame the victim,
my unconscious conviction
that I know best, that I am best;
my weariness with the struggle
to bear witness to the injustice
that squeezes the life out of your people, day in and day out.
I regret, and I ask your forgiveness.

Beautiful Al Khalil,
I long for your freedom and your peace.
May the dreams of your children—
that they may walk your streets freely,
that they may be safe from bullets and tear gas, 
searches and detention,
that they may build fine schools and hospitals,
and prosper like citizens of any other city—
may these dreams be realized in their lifetimes
or—better—in mine. 

City of Beautiful Resistance,
City of Faith,
may your light shine.

I bless you from the depths of my being. 

Please pray for Al Khalil’s CPT team of young Palestinians as they return from training in Jordan to the realities of school patrols, checkpoints and tear gas.

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