Bethlehem, Peace and Christmas

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Bethlehem, Peace and Christmas
Film director Jim Hanon discusses the volatile topic of peace in the Middle East this holiday season. His recent film release Little Town of Bethlehem stirs hearts and minds towards a common goal.
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
Oh, but how peace and stillness do not reign an area torn apart by fighting before and sense the birth of Jesus, about whom the song “Little Town of Bethlehem” was written.
ltob coverThis Christmas, as at any time of the year, there seems to be no shortage of opinions, emotions, and actions regarding finding “peace in the Middle East.” While we sing the familiar songs and carols about the Holy city where the Christ-child was born, some are familiar with the issue and others are personally impacted by the conflict, many more are unaware, uninformed, and unconcerned about this critical global issue. Little Town of Bethlehem is a groundbreaking new documentary that shares the gripping story of three men—a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian, and an Israeli Jew—born into violence and willing to risk everything to bring an end to violence in their lifetime.
Sami Awad is a Palestinian Christian whose grandfather was killed in Jerusalem in 1948. Today he is the executive director of Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes Palestinian independence through peaceful means. Yonatan Shapira is an Israeli Jew whose grandparents were Zionist settlers who witnessed the birth of the Israeli nation. Today he is an outspoken advocate for the nonviolent peace movement, both in his homeland and abroad. Ahmad Al’Azzeh is a Palestinian Muslim who has lived his entire life in the Azzeh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Today, Ahmad heads the nonviolence program at Holy Land Trust, where he trains others in the methods of peaceful activism.
Little Town of Bethlehem was produced by EthnoGraphic Media (EGM), an educational non-profit organization exploring the critical issues of our time. Watch the trailer at http://littletownofbethlehem.org/
Telling a good story is hard work. Telling a story that matters to history is even harder. “Little Town of Bethlehem” is both, and deserves a wide viewing in the parliaments and congresses of the world, in universities and colleges, in churches, synagogues and mosques. The film is a passionate account of three people who have decided differently, and are laying down their lives for peace– and therefore for a future.
Dr. Steven Garber
The Washington Institute www.washingtoninst.org
… engaging and lively ….
Dr. Barbara Stowasser
Director, Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies www.explore.georgetown.edu
Remarkable! Stories of transformation are very powerful. … it humanizes a conflict that the media has dehumanized. …provides a counter narrative to the popular storyline of violence.
Dr. Varun Soni
Dean of USC Office of Religious Life www.sowkweb.usc.edu
…thumbs up. 
Habeeb Awad
Professor and International Student Advisor, Hope College www.Hope.edu
Director Jim Hanon is available for interviews. Review and giveaway copies are available upon requests.

This post has already been read 32 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

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