Monday, September 22, 2008

FW: [Saint-george-taybeh] sept article in this week in palestine

Obsessed with Taybeh
By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

I have developed a deep obsession, given that I live full time in Palestine. Following the historic Oslo Agreement, I was fooled into believing that Israelis and Palestinians can actually live side by side. I can only say that since 28 September 2000, the landmark day for the Second Uprising, I simply have not had a normal day, due to the collapsed economy and the reoccupation of the Palestinian Territories.

I have developed a deep obsession with inviting people to our small Palestinian village of Taybeh, which is my way of trying to be normal. Probably inviting people to a beer festival in Palestine does not sound normal at all since we hardly have a country; but technically speaking, the country has a national beer that carries with it our pride in Palestine. My husband David returned to Taybeh with his brother Nadim to boost the economy by opening the one and only microbrewery in the Middle East region (1995), and in 2005, they initiated an Oktoberfest - Palestinian style. Well, who could imagine that, after the tragic attack on Taybeh that burned down fourteen houses, we would actually celebrate our existence with the first Oktoberfest, which turned out to be a great success?

Taybeh Beer means everything right now. It means that we want to work for a modern Palestine where democracy, freedom, and human rights would encourage all to thrive. It means that we are just craving to be “normal.”

The Taybeh Oktoberfest has become the big open day in Taybeh, specifically Taybeh-Ramallah. (There are about four “Taybeh” locations in the Middle East. But one of the most ancient places in Palestine with Taybeh as its modern name is actually the biblical Ephraim.) You will not find Taybeh-Ramallah on any map since it is such a tiny spot in one of the highest mountain regions in Palestine and quickly being swallowed up by the illegal Israeli settlements. As we try to find creative ways to survive the closure and the high rate of unemployment, we are promoting local products, one more time, with the 2008 Taybeh Oktoberfest on Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 October 2008. Thus, if you catch me telling you that I would love to see you in Taybeh, it is not just an obsession but a genuine invitation.
Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, has been the coordinator for four Oktoberfest festivals.

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