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God’s Humor in Promoting Taybeh
Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D. — I am sitting in the middle of the wilderness and most of the days I am sincerely happy that the whole world is willing to come to me. I clearly have nothing to do with this fame since my brother-in-law, Nadim Khoury, worked extraordinarily hard since the early 90’s to make one of the best products that exist in Palestine. People from all of the world want to come and see how we make this great micro brewed beer, the only micro brew beer in the whole Middle East, Taybeh Beer. Most times I am thinking we are absolutely crazy to stay in the highest mountain region of Palestine especially when we have all of the illegal Israeli settlements closing in on Taybeh and preparing a greater Israel. Sometimes, no electricity and other times, no running water and once in a while a few army invasions. But, there is something amazing happening here in Biblical Judea where Judea is ending and Samaria begins. With God’s help we are still making the Finest Beer in the Middle East and feel this is our peaceful resistance.
On one level it is seriously God expressing his humor in somehow making it possible for a minority Christian family to exist among 98% Muslim population packaging a product that the majority are forbidden to drink by the Koran. And what is interesting about God is that He has granted much strength and blessings to survive harsh conditions of occupation, closure of roads and economic daily obstacles along with all of the other usual checkpoint problems. Recently the Israeli occupation policies are making us go three hours out of the way to a designated commercial checkpoint with a scanner in order to deliver Taybeh Beer to Jerusalem which is technically only twenty-five minutes away from the brewery. Talk about a way to put you out of business since gas on this side of the world is approximately four times higher than you might know. So day by day we are beginning to feel we are a terrible threat to Israel. We focus and concentrate on creating an excellent product in Palestine so people could select Palestinian products and help keep Palestinians at work and this is a whole different threat to Israel since they like to keep the Palestinian market flooded with Israeli products whether they are beer, ice cream, milk or chips. Palestinian people suffer from lack of patriotism and they are very divided in their opinions so supporting local products is not high on their priorities. However, in the last fifteen years of making premium quality beer we have made some accomplishments in conquering the market share and we do our best to promote pride in Palestine.
I am thinking that God has humor since He is somehow allowing through the making of beer to bring awareness to the small Christian community in Palestine. People come from all corners of the world to get a Taybeh Beer tour and at the end they realize our village has been Christian for two thousand years since Christ’s visit. We are the only all Christian village that is left in Palestine. How sad? Where have the rest of the Christians gone? I guess to better places like the USA, Australia, Europe, South America and anywhere that they can give a better life to their children. Thus, we have people come for the beer and they leave with a message of love. The message is simple but so hard to implement. Love thy neighbor and Love thy enemy is the bottom line. Or at least people understand that we simply want to have the freedom to be who we are and to make beer for beer lovers since freedom, justice and peace allow for all religions, all people, all colors and ethnic groups to co-exist.
For the last six years we have gathered more Christians, Muslims and Jews for the annual Taybeh Oktoberfest than any conference in our region. Taybeh has reflected peaceful resistance by making extraordinary efforts to do simple things like celebrate life. Living in an environment of not knowing what will happen day to day, the success of the festival is that it simply takes place and its peaceful. If we are blessed as in the past maybe more than ten thousand people will attend.
Taybeh Oktoberfest has become one of the distinctive festivals in Palestine and people travel from Brazil, Japan, Europe to perform and express their solidarity. We have made huge efforts to put Taybeh on the map since Israel is doing a great job to wipe us off. We want to inspire people to travel to the Holy Land and see with their own eyes what is happening. If you think that Palestinians are not practicing non-violent action please know that millions of us are trying every day to do ordinary things like work, go to school and have a party and we view this as non violent action to the awful conditions we experience under occupation. Come and support our local products or please pray for peace and be with us in spirit, Oct 2 & 3, 2010, 11 am to 10 pm, in Taybeh, Ramallah, Palestine, The Holy Land. When you visit Taybeh you will also understand God’s humor.
Come Taste the Revolution!
Taybeh Oktoberfest, Sat & Sun, Oct 2 & 3, 2010, 11 am to 10 pm.
Dr. Maria C. Khoury
Taybeh Beer (02) 289 8868
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Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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