Palestine/ South Africa Solidarity Pilgrimage

Palestine/ South Africa Solidarity Pilgrimage

Palestine/ South Africa Solidarity Pilgrimage

In a journey of solidarity and shared struggle, a group of 10 Palestinian youth, among them five of our Biblical Studies students, headed off to South Africa on March 19th for a two-week pilgrimage. During their time in South Africa, the group dived deep into the heart of South Africa’s history and culture, immersing themselves in its rich tapestry of experiences. They visited significant sites of struggles and the anti-apartheid movement, including museums, memorials, and religious places, where they learned firsthand about the pivotal role of the church in South Africa’s liberation struggle. Participants engaged with South African professors, leaders, and iconic figures with the aspiration for a just and peaceful future, delving into topics such as Liberation theology, Black theology, and hermeneutics. The pilgrimage was transformative, satisfying the students’ hunger for justice and righteousness.


Anthony Khair, a student at the college, reflected on the pilgrimage: “The essence of our solidarity pilgrimage was to reunite those things that have been torn asunder by walls and divisions. The global South, marginalized and dehumanized, has lost sight of its own humanity amidst the turmoil. Yet, through these shared experiences, we aim to restore the joy of life and reclaim the humanity of those who have faltered in the hope of a brighter future. We persist in our efforts to dismantle not only the physical barriers that divide us but also those entrenched within our own hearts.”


Another student, Wissam Khoury, expressed: “It’s inspiring to see that the African people have great hope in achieving all their rights, even though the freedom they’ve attained isn’t complete, in my opinion. The fact that prisons and torture sites have become museums for visitation shows they haven’t forgotten what happened to them in 1948.” He added: “I hope to return there again, gain more experience, and embrace the different way of praying, though the essence remains the same: praising God.”


Jessica Jabrieh, another participant, stated: “The journey unfolded to teach us that ‘Unity is Power;’ when we stand together, speaking up against oppression, we transcend our shared colonial wounds as Palestinian and South African people, representing worldwide the dance of unity towards liberation.”


Grace Awad assured that: “Engaging with local communities and hearing their stories of resilience echoes the Palestinian narrative of strength and perseverance. This pilgrimage has reminded me of the power of unity and the importance of using our voices to stand up against oppression. Being with these people, who have experienced struggles like we are enduring, made me feel like we are one in our struggle and in serving our Lord Jesus.”


Heba Babish said: “I was able to feel the heartfelt welcoming spirit and the loud urge to create familial bonds between South Africans and Palestinians. My experience awoke the Palestinian consciousness in me through contemplating a nation’s struggle that mirrored ours.”


By her side, Marianne Bannoura expressed gratitude for the opportunity: “Being part of this journey has been a big transformation for me. Our time in Azania was eye-opening.” She emphasized the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone to embrace new experiences and perspectives, highlighting the profound impact of cultural immersion.