Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

On The Ground in Gaza


There is a large controversy concerning the BBC’s refusal to air an appeal by relief organizations trying to get aid to the suffering inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.  We understand the BBC’s reasoning of trying to maintain its neutrality in the political morass of the Israeli / Palestinian war.  But we also understand that the unending agony of the people who live in Gaza needs to be addressed.

We publish an appeal for devotions and aid from the Religious Society of Friends, Friends United Meeting (FUM) that operates a School in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Risk Rapper

Hope will never be silent. ~ Harvey Milk
Because “the job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open.” ~ Gunter Grass

Dear Friends,

The following message from Joyce Ajlouny, Director of the Ramallah Friends School, came to us from FUM today. It gives details about what is actually happening on the ground in the Gaza strip that we have not encountered anywhere else.

We are grieved at the violence that has permeated Israeli-Palestinian relations for so many years, and are horrified at this most recent chapter. Let us all pray for peace in this region and continue to work for peace there and around the world.

Christopher Sammond, general secretary
Ernestine Buscemi, clerk


—–Original Message—–
From: C D Williams
To: fum_devotions@lists.fum.org
Sent: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 8:18 am
Subject: [FUM Devotions] Prayers for Palestinians in Gaza

Friends –

I hope this finds you well and ready to receive the New Year. Let us hope 2009 will be the bearer of good news for all!

I know that you’ve been hearing the horrific news from Gaza. We are doing fine here on the West Bank – at least physically. Our hands are tied as well feel so helpless seeing our people suffer. It is a blood bath in Gaza – a real massacre against a people who have been living under siege for months on end. Over 360 people are dead so far (many are civilians including children) and over 1700 injured. The humanitarian conditions were catastrophic even before Israel waged its present offensive. I just spoke to a friend in Gaza who said that there is no electricity, no water, no food, no candles, no medical supplies, no oven gas… where do we start. She also said that there is hardly a house left with windows intact and families are scraping plastic sheets to shut their windows to protect themselves from the cold and that hospitals are overflowing with the injured lying in the hallways. Gaza is the home of around 1.5 million.

I am working on a humanitarian appeal targeting our parents. We hope to raise some funds and send to Gaza soon.. From our families to theirs. I know we can at least succeed in this act of solidarity, knowing that the needs are too grave for our efforts to make a huge difference. We are thinking of going through reputable humanitarian fund in Gaza and ask them to prepare care packages for some of the neediest families. The question is the availability of goods… I am not sure what is available anymore since goods have been prevented from entering for a few months now. The market is probably depleted – nonetheless we are trying.

Anyhow, this is a short note, to ask for your prayers that the Israeli leadership will find it in their hearts to stop this act of severe aggression on an already impoverished and imprisoned population. Pray for justice and peace in Palestine and all other war-stricken regions around the globe.

Blessings to all,


PS – The school is still on break until the 10th but I am working along with the school engineers on our construction projects – there is so much going on ( I feel I am living on a construction site). With all of what is going on the being preoccupied with work is a welcomed distraction.

A short Eyewitness Article from The Guardian can be seen at


Note: Joyce Ajlouny is the Director of the Friends School Ramallah.  More on the school’s history and mission at:

http://www.palfriends.org/ and at: http://www.fum.org/worldmissions/ramallah.html

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January 27, 2009 Posted by | children, Gaza, Palestine, war | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


God is with us!

At the close of a Quaker Meeting a few years ago I was speaking with a weighty Friend about Darfur. We were both outraged about the carnage and abject horror the people of the region were experiencing. We discussed the timid response world leaders and governments were offering to address the genocide. I remember remarking to this Friend that “the Lord provides”. She answered that unfortunately that is not always the case. Her remark took me back and gave me reason to pause. It led me to question a very basic supposition of my faith; that the Lord is a personal God, a quick and present helper at all times and under all circumstances.

I began to wonder if I was being flippant or merely mouthing a hallow cliche as my personal testimony of faith. Did my remark express an emotional ambivalence to this human tragedy? Was it a tacit expression of my disengagement from the situation and my intention not to get involved. Was it an excuse for not taking action because I’m not responsible so I am absolved from a responsibility to act. Or was I rationally recusing myself from involvement because God was in control? Taking comfort in the rationalization that fate, karma, kismet and divine intervention was not the province of humans and was way above my humble pay grade? Perhaps it was a Pollyannish expression of my faith? These questions made me uncomfortable in my understanding of God and how God is made manifest in the lives of humans.

My partisan Christian ears thought the Friend’s answer may have detected a hint of blasphemy. But I knew that the theology of many Quakers do not understand God as an incarnate presence on earth. So this could not be interpreted as a blasphemous admission that God is not omnipresent nor omnipotent. In a queer sort of way this may serve to absolve God from the moral damnation for permitting this to happen. It also lets God off the hook for being slow to act in saving these people from such a terrible fate.

I firmly believe that the Darfurs of the world are the handiwork of men and nation states. If the nations of the world lived in cooperative unity, offered mutual support and practiced tolerance for cultural and political differences the state of civilization would more resemble the paradise of heaven. It would indeed be more to the liking of how God wants us to behave and live as we spend our short time here on earth.

In the deepest and darkest places of the globe were life seems to have little value, where cruelty and brutality are life’s daily bread, where living one more hour seems to be a miraculous accomplishment; those are the places were God dwells and is made manifest in each breath, each heart beat, each drink of water and in every crumb of food that passes through a hungry mouth. God lives in the heart and hopes of those who struggle to endure yet one more day. God lives in each kindness, each helpful offering of aid, within the encouragement of each small word, a comforting embrace or beloved kiss. Those are living embodiments of answered prayers by those who are suffering from debilitating privation, sickness and oppression. Yes God moves in these people and lives in the rubble of those places; offering all the transcendent possibility that all is not lost, nothing is ceaseless and God remains a good and present helper.

The Quakers have a saying, “All God Hast is Thou.” The weighty Friend who stated that God doesn’t always provide spoke a plain truth. She challenged my faith and helped me to understand that we are Gods hands here on earth. We can use our hands to build up the kingdom and put them together to offer ourselves as a fervent prayer by placing ourselves at the service of others.

God is manifest and dwells among us.

God is with us!

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December 24, 2008 Posted by | faith, politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment