Dear Survivors of the Chilean Mine Trap,
You do not know me. I am just an American blogger/peace actvist who has followed your heroic efforts to survive your 69 day ordeal and the heroic efforts to save you. With wonder I watched as you were brought up one by one to freedom from your underground hell, where for so long you did not know if you would live or die. Indeed the whole world watched as you were rescued in thunderous joy that you would be reunited with your loved ones who had sat vigil for you for so long, insisting you were alive, insisting the rescue effort keep on, praying together for your safety. The entire world rejoices in your safe return above ground to your loved ones.
Now it is your time to recover from your ordeal, to readjust to above ground living with all the physical aspects that entails as well as the emotional ones. Yet people who wish to somehow attach themselves to your rescue and what they see as your celebrity status are now issuing public invitations for you to visit them.
Beware the Trojan horse bearing gifts. For their all-expense paid trip invitations are being issued with their own interest and image at heart.
Today I read that you have received an invitation from the Israeli Tourist Ministry to visit the Holy Land where Christianity began, where the holiest of Christian sites are located. They have offered to pay for your entire trip there, for you to visit "Israel". They are offering you this trip at Christmas time as a "gift to you"
I am asking you please to not accept this invitation. You are not just being invited to visit "Israel", you are being asked to visit holy sites which have been under the Israeli occupation of Palestine for 42 years, sites that Palestinian Christians are routinely denied access to by their occupier.
In June the Vatican issued a paper deploring the denial of access to Christians to the holy sites under occupation, calling the occupation "unjust".
You would be taken to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in occupied East Jerusalem which Israel routinely denies access to for Christian Palestinians. You would also be taken to Bethlehem, the birth place of Christ, which has been under Israeli occupation for 42 years. Nearby is the home of Daoud Nassar's Tent of Nations which is continually under threat of demolition by Israel.
Christian Palestinians suffer just as horrifically under the occupation as do their fellow Muslim Palestinians.
For this reason the Kairos Declaration was issued which calls for an end to the 42 year long occupation of Palestine which is in direct violation of international law.