I have heard about the Nassar family and the Tent of Nations project south of Bethlehem for the past few years, but I’ve never been on-site to experience first-hand what is happening there. This video provides a chance for me — and for you — to go there, to see and hear… Although the situation is very much shaped by politics — what isn’t in this crazy land? — there is very little overtly political here.
The story is much more about the response of ordinary people — in their humanity, through community and Christ-centered spirituality — to extraordinary circumstances. The quote which provides the title for this post is from Daoud Nassar, whom you will meet in the film, and aptly expresses the whole ethos of the place and the people who gravitate there. The video, by the way, was produced by a church in Austin, Texas (yes, Texas!!). Unfortunately, I’m not able to embed videos here (that costs money!), so here’s the link:
If you will invest 23 minutes of your time in this experience, I think you will find yourself changed in some way by it. So, I offer the video without further comment. As the friend said who pointed me to the little film, “I encourage you to watch it and evaluate it for yourselves … Try lighting a candle [OK, he’s Anglican] and saying a prayer as you watch this video. Pray in your own words [or] start by sharing this one with me from the Book of Common Prayer: ‘Almighty God… Unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid … cleanse the thoughts of our hearts.'”
Related videos here: http://fotonna/.org/videos
If you have at least 4 (more) minutes to invest, here is an excellent 2017 profile of the Nassar family and the Tent of Nations project, produced by the Franciscans:
UPDATE / 19 MAY 2014
The sort of thing the local settlers have not dared to undertake, in their decades-long Crusade against the Nassar family and Tent of Nations, the IDF’s inexorable destructo-machine has now come in and accomplished for them: 1,500 producing fruit trees — planted on the Nassar’s family-owned land and almost ready for harvesting — uprooted and buried by Israeli army forces, using American-made “militarized” Caterpillar bulldozers. See the story HERE (which includes a link to the Tent of Nations Facebook page).
This aktion by the IDF can only serve to embolden the illegal Israeli settlers in the Occupied territories, who carry out similar but smaller-scale attacks on an almost daily basis.
How sad that the entrenched land-greed of the 47-year Occupation has so thoroughly eroded any moral-ethical underpinnings (or even veneer) the State of Israel might once have possessed.
UPDATE / 2020
Nine years after my original post, as the madness swirling around the Tent of Nations continues and grows, this family’s undergirding faith and sumud (“steadfastness”) keep them grounded. In this COVID year, their on-site local programming, volunteer involvement, and visits by supporters have all been pre-empted, but the needs are as great as ever.
View this video update by Daoud Nassar, part of the “Kumi Now” outreach of the Sabeel organization.