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Jesus the Palestinian
Amer Zahr
Amer Zahr
Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 3:13 pm (16 Comments)

I’m not a religious guy. I might talk about Jesus in a different way that priests, ministers, and popes do. I do not see him as the divine incarnate, and I’m not completely sure he saw himself that way either. But I do share one thing with my more religious friends. Jesus still lives for me today.

Jesus was one of us. We Palestinians are pretty proud of that. I’ve been to Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Jerusalem many times, and Palestinians, Muslim and Christian, are looking after Jesus’ stuff pretty well.

And we see ourselves in his light.

Like us, he was told that he does not belong in Palestine. Like him, we remain.

Like us, he was told that his stories have no place there. Like him, we keep telling them, no matter the consequences.

Like us, he fought against unbridled power. Like him, we tell those who oppress us the hard truths they don’t want to hear.

Like us, he gained supporters little by little. The most powerful shunned him at first. At the outset, only a few stood by him. But it won’t take us 300 years to get an empire to agree with us, and it definitely shouldn’t take us 2000 years to get 1.2 billion followers either. We have Facebook, Twitter, and everything else. Jesus never had those things. I mean, can you imagine Jesus’ statuses?

Got kicked out of Jerusalem again today. Ugh.
– No justice, no peace!
– Hey guys, this pic is for everyone who said I couldn’t walk on water.
– Could everyone please stop tagging me everywhere? The cops are looking for me!
– This was a rough week, I’m gonna be turning a lot of water into wine tonight, if you know what I mean.

And let’s get something straight here. Jesus did visit Lebanon, Jordan, and maybe even Egypt. But he never went to Rome or Greece, and he definitely never stepped foot in Britain. And I can say, unequivocally, unambiguously, and undeniably, that Jesus never visited America, no matter what anyone at Fox News might think.  Jesus didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes. Jesus was a Jew, but he wasn’t from Poland, Russia, or New York City. He was from Nazareth, as I am, so he probably looked like me. Ok, he had flowing hair, and by all accounts, he was in really good shape, but you know what I mean.

So to everyone else out there in the world, we understand why you love Jesus too. You can borrow him, but you can’t have him. He belongs to us.

I am not sure if Jesus arose from the dead after his execution. I am sure, however, that he had nothing to do with bunnies or eggs. And I’m also sure that we Palestinians today are preserving his message. The present-day natives of his land carry upon their shoulders Jesus’ legacy of truth, rebellion, justice, suffering, abandonment, and, eventually, vindication. I am not certain if he was physically resurrected. But I am certain that he is alive today. Every Palestinian walking the earth today reminds me of that.

Jesus started it all. Like us, he walked the streets of Palestine, in constant persecution. And we say today the same words Jesus said 2000 years ago: Beware of our Truth.

I have always said that, as a Palestinian, I sleep well at night. And this Easter is no different. Yes, we struggle, we battle, we labor, we agonize, and we even die. But we have the truth. We have the guy who once said, “Remember that I am always with you, until the end of time.” You see, Jesus is our secret weapon. And along with everything else that makes it awesome to be a Palestinian, that makes me feel pretty good.

* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."

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