- Palestinian Christians have been leaving Palestine for the last 100 years, but the emigration was exacerbated by the Israeli occupation, Father Ibrahim explains, also telling me that even four of his own closest relatives left to seek a better life abroad.
Father Ibrahim in his office in Nablus
Curious as to why he chooses to stay, particularly when Christians are leaving the Holy Land, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, including his family, I asked him the all important question: Why?
- If I wanted, I could leave tomorrow, but I will not. This is my homeland. I do not only love my country, I adore my country. This is my beloved place. Here in this land, Jesus gave us his teachings. I am here to protect the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Although not a Christian myself, I found this a very powerful answer. Here I was sitting with a man, very fortunate, compared to the surroundings he lives in. Still he chooses to stay, to preach the word of God. Quite frankly, I was both amazed and impressed by the strength of his faith and his determination to keep the Christian struggle alive, in a place where both the occupation and time is not on his side.
The old Anglican church in Nablus
- Jesus said about the future of this land: I have come so they may have life, and may they have it abundantly (John 10:10). It means we have to struggle for a better life, for a better future.
My time was up, but I left with a better understanding of why people, like Father Ibrahim, continues the struggle, against all odds.