In his land, Christ bled his pain

In the poem “The Convoy of Loss,” Badr Shakir al-Sayyab calls out Palestine and evokes the image of the crucified wounded: the flood, so that neither side nor the forehead bleeds, except as thick as clay, from which refugee houses were built. ”The Iraqi poet combines the situation of Christ crucified with the situation of refugees coming from the occupied lands in a picture that has been repeated for decades in Arabic poetry as well as in other arts.One wonders when this image was created? How was it formed in its beginnings?

In mid-March 1939, years before Nakba, the Lebanese magazine Al Jamhour published two interesting drawings that intersected Christ and Palestine; unfortunately, it did not indicate the source of these two drawings, nor did it mention the name of the painter. described them. In the first drawing, a man in Palestinian clothing appears hanging on a cross, following the example prevalent in Christian art since the sixth century. From behind him appear fighter jets, which fly over the horizon. On the trunk of the Crucified, at the top of the cross, was a sign that read “Palestine Holy Land.” At the end of the drawing we have the inscription: “Twenty centuries after the first tragedy”. At the feet of the Crucified, we see a western hat lying on the ground near a tube, and the meaning of this element of composition becomes clear in the second drawing, where a man is shown wearing such a hat with a tube in it . mouth, arms raised up, holding a rifle in right hand. Above this column of skulls stands this man in Syrian dress, and below this column stands an inscription that says: “With all this, the dream of the Jews in the Holy Land will not be realized.” In contrast, the expression “vain” is placed in a circle at the top end of this drawing.

In Christianity, the coming of Christ transformed God’s purposes, so that present-day earthly Jerusalem became “in bondage to its children,” in the words of the Apostle Paul (Galatians 4:25), and attention was drawn to the new, heavenly Jerusalem. . The early Christians saw, in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, evidence of abandonment of God’s purposes for earthly Jerusalem, and talk prevailed over heavenly Jerusalem. The picture changed in the fourth century, when Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, began searching for “holy places” and saw that Palestine was the only place in the world that could be spoken of as the footstool of God, and he remembered the saying famous: “Let us enter into his dwellings to worship at his footstool” (Psalm 132: 7). This tendency soon prevailed after him, and pilgrimage to places connected with the life of Christ became a custom and a popular tradition that spread throughout the world after it was adopted by Emperor Constantine.

The bishop of Caesarea in Palestine witnessed this process and transmitted the news of this emperor in his book “The Life of Constantine the Great”. The story goes that Constantine chose Christianity as his religion and he saw, praying, “a cross of light in heaven, above the sun” (1:28), with a writing that said, “With this he was defeated.” So he made the flag of the cross and ordered it to be raised over the heads of all his army and to be fulfilled. Victory is wherever this flag is found. After this victory, Constantine issued an order to erect a house of prayer in the holy place that witnessed the resurrection of Christ. And he commanded the unveiling of “this blessed and holy relic” (2:28), then “he commanded the building of a very luxurious house of prayer, worthy of the worship of the Lord, by the tomb of the Savior” and he commanded the rulers of eastern countries to do everything in their power to spend generously until it is over. The building is extremely luxurious ”(2:29), and he requested that this building be passed over to all the churches of the world, and based on these instructions,“ The New Jerusalem was built on the same site that witnessed the Savior’s suffering, instead of that which was famous in the past ”(2:33). After this, the emperor went on to discover the place that witnessed the birth of Christ and the place where his ascension to heaven was witnessed, and ordered the erection of one church in Bethlehem and another on the Mount of Olives and decorated them with great pomp. luxury, thus perpetuating the memory of his mother, Helen, who hastened to “roam these blessed places, in spite of her advanced age” (2:42), “she gave the necessary honor to the land on which the Savior stepped. “,” she left the fruits of her devotion to future generations “and” sanctified two churches to the God she worshiped, one in the cave that testified to the Savior’s birth and the other on a mountain in his ascension “(2:43).

Thus, Palestine has become a sacred land in Christianity since the fourth century, and since then it has become a destination for pilgrims from all over the world. The two drawings published in 1939 convey a picture that expresses the fear of losing this land, which it represents, crucified as its people. This image is clearly repeated in a drawing signed by Khalil Al-Ashqar that occupied the cover of the Lebanese magazine “Al-Sayyad” in September 1948, where Palestine appears again nailed to the cross, here in the form of a woman wearing a white dress that wraps her body, with a handkerchief covering her head. An inscription appears at the top that says “Between two thieves,” referring to the Gospel saying, “Two thieves were crucified with him, one on the right hand and one on the left” (Matthew 27:38). Instead of the usual image of two thieves, we find a fat man, whose dress style shows his British identity, and a slender man, whose dress style shows his American identity. This image is repeated in many forms and expressions on a large number of covers. In the fall of 1960, the woman in the white dress appeared again on the cross, on the cover of Al-usbu ‘al-Arabi magazine, in a painting signed by Ismail Shammout. Drops of blood fall from my crossed legs on a barren ground on top of three dry bushes. In the foreground is a young girl who angrily looks at the viewer and behind this girl appears a tent inhabited by a refugee. At the top of the composition, the sun shines on the cross, in the middle of an orange sky that joins the wasteland.

The cross is shown naked on the cover of Al-Diyar magazine in “Easter 1968”, and a handkerchief is written on the horizontal board on which is written “Right in Palestine” and we read at the top of the first. magazine page: “The land of Palestine is accustomed to seeing the truth hanging on the cross and struck with a spear in one hand.” And if Christ was crucified in this way, he turned and triumphed over his executioners by rising from the dead. And the truth that he is now crucified in Palestine with the spear of the Jews, must triumph over his Zionist executioners as well. make it yours as soon as possible.It was painted by the famous artist Asaad Rano especially for Al-Diar.

In late 1968, Dar Al-Adab published the book “A Lover of Palestine” by Mahmoud Darwish, which was published in Palestine in 1966 and several copies of it reached the Arab world. The image of the crucified Palestinian occupied the cover of this Divan, as in the 1938 drawing, but this crucified one appeared here as he raised his right hand up, making the fist of the revolution. Before that, in the fall of 1967, the CD “Messiah” came out with another photo of the crucified Palestinian. This disc contained a recording of a song sung by Abdel Halim Hafez on the stage of the Albert Hall Theater in London, written by Abdel Rahman Al-Abnoudi and composed by Baligh Hamdi, and the text: Christ at his feet / In his land, Christ bled his pain / In Jerusalem on the road of suffering / In Hebron the hymns of the churches rang in the desert / And the presence became the gospel in its land / Would you rather lose your rights in you, for when, o road of pain. / And the light in consciousness is extinguished and the stars of peace are extinguished / When a wounded man passes through you / And when among you who prefers to shout / Christ after Christ after Christ / On her land / A crown of thorns on the forehead / And on the shoulder the cross / Now, your holy son / How Christ is strange / The crown of thorns on his forehead / And on the shoulder the cross / Yes those Jews betrayed him / And your son, O Jerusalem It is necessary / how Christ returns / to the land of saj.

Ghassan Kanafani was assassinated in July 1972 and after his death, the press published a series of his drawings, including a drawing representing the empty cross of Christ hanging on the horizon, and behind him appeared Jerusalem with its domes, in an image that sums up again this connection that united in the Arab memory between Christ crucified and wounded Palestine.


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