Knowledge and comprehension: how not to lose Hope

Amy Rodriguez21 May 2021

The escalation of violence taking place in these days requests a huge humanitarian effort in the short term. Our Association is supporting the Holy Land, beautiful but wounded, without losing its identity: a charity whose mission is to foster bonds and build Peace. 

We asked Carla Benelli, Pro Terra Sancta Responsible for Preservation and Development projects,  why we should keep on funding cultural and educational activities when the conflict does not seem to cease. 

If we had stopped because of the war, we would have done nothing”, says Carla “and the Terra Sancta Museum is one of these projects focusing on preserving and enhancing the cultural heritage and the holy places with the collaboration of the local community”. 

The Museum, a place of meeting and exchange, has been closed for a long time due to the pandemic, first, and due to the conflicts taking place in Jerusalem, now. The educational activities involving kids are now suspended and will restart next week thanks to the cease-fire agreement. 

Nevertheless, the absence of tourists, pilgrims and the local public, was exploited in a positive way: “we succeed to complete the restoration of Lazarus’ tomb in Bethany and to start the conservation of some objects related to the Holy Sepulchre with no inconvenience for the public”, Carla explains. 

Pro Terra Sancta has been working for years in educating local young adults in artistic crafmanship and in restoration. Recently we started a production of nard scented candles employng women from Bethany. 

These projects revolving around the preservation and development of the cultural heritage in support of the local community cannot stop, even if we would never compromise on the safety of our staff and of our public. 

“Peace has to be built during War. In this moment is capital to be there for everyone, to be neutral but to preserve everything that is needed to understand the reasons of the conflict”, says Carla succeeding in finding a real reason to keep Hope alive during a tense and complex situation. 

Our well tested presence in the Holy Land, allows us to plan in the long-term: to protect the historic memory and cultural identity of the Palestinians, to help the local communities to reinforce their sense of belonging, means to give them the tools needed to buld a better future. 

Our projects are designed in particular for the most vulnerable social classes: women, kids, young adults, disabled people. These segments are also the ones most damaged by the war: how can we forget the many kids killed or traumatized by the bombing? 

To teenagers telling me they want to fight I say: study then!”. Discovery, knowledge and comprehension are great tools to deeply understand ourselves, others and the context we are living in. “Cultured kids are able to answer with knowledge to violence. Those are the kids that will build the peace”, Carla concludes.  

There is a positive side to this situation: a shy awarness rising in the West world about a conflict that has been going on for ages and its clearly not limited to Palestine and Israel. This awareness it’s something we cannot withdraw from. 

It confirms that knowledge and comprehension are the basis of a pacific revolution. The roots of this escalation of violence are understandable but not legitimate. We condemn violence. 

The weapons we want to gain are found in Museums, in restoration, mosaics and pottery workshops giving to many people the chance of having a creative and professional outcome. These weapons are the ones that will help us build a solid and long-lasting peace.