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Probably it’s a safe bet that these outraged Palestinian trees, when they finally “speak” to the concert goers of Hiroshima, will have quite a bit of negative verbiage against their Israeli brutalizers. And probably these talking trees with offer solidarity to the people of Hiroshima, who 65 years ago were similarly the victims of American aggression, just as the trees were victimized by America’s protégé Israel.
“From Hiroshima, I would humbly like to help in creating a peaceful world for children in Palestine and the rest of the world where they can have courage and hope,” explained one Hiroshima atomic blast survivor to Ecumenical News International. The first Palestinian olive tree pan flute concert was in Hiroshima last year. This year, Rev. Tateno’s group visited Bethlehem and presented pan flutes to Palestinian children and convened a pan flute concert at Bethlehem’s Lutheran church, whose pastor reputedly orchestrated the Palestinian olive tree shipment to Japan. Reportedly, a Japanese craftsman took one and half years to create the first pan flute from the martyred tree. But undoubtedly the anti-Israel political and religious symbolism made the arduous endeavor worth every meticulous moment. “We tell people not only what happened in Hiroshima at WWII and how we bounced back from the damage of the atomic bomb, but also about the children in Palestine who have hope,” Tateno’s group explained. “’Hope was found in a desperate state’ – this is what we learned from the lively children who are living in Palestine.”
The pan flutist is cooperating with the International Christian Center on the West Bank, which is a “Lutheran-based, ecumenically-oriented institution serving the whole Palestinian community.” On the center’s website, Palestinian Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan, a prominent, and somewhat moderate voice who now also heads the Lutheran World Federation, touts Palestinian liberation and showcases “issues such as globalization, environmental catastrophes, political conflicts, increasing militarization and occupation of one nation by another,” as well as focusing on the “harsh realities like the separation wall.” Many besieged Palestinian Christians, less than two percent of the population and falling, are anxious to burnish their anti-Israel credentials, whether from conviction, self-survival, or likely a combination of both. Left leaning international church delegations exploit thisr vulnerability by showcasing sympathetic Palestinian Christians as victims of Israeli oppression. Of course, these same delegations rarely explore the threat of Islamist rule to Arab Christians, or seriously explain how Christians will fare better under complete Palestinian control.
Tragically, these ostensibly supportive pro-Palestinian church groups are only fueling the sense of Palestinian grievance and hopes for Israel’s ultimate demographic eradication. Hiroshima’s horrible destruction was redeemed by Japan’s renunciation of imperialism and militarism in favor of Western democracy and pursuit of economic growth instead of conquest. True friends of Palestinian Christians and other Palestinians would similarly counsel them to abandon their historical grievances and instead build a peaceful nation seeking co-existence rather than war. Unfortunately, the Japanese Lutheran pan flutists, whatever their intent by speaking through these aggrieved “talking” Palestinian olive trees, are only feeding a sense of victimhood that will perpetuate rather than end conflict.
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