Connect with us

General

In Jerusalem, Christians mark a sombre Easter

Published

on

Loading...
AFP

By AFP
More by this Author

Eggs on the table and a toy rabbit on the dresser — with a few decorations, Palestinian Christian Sawsan Bitar attempts to salvage some normality from an Easter overshadowed by coronavirus.

In the Christian quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City that Bitar calls home, roads are deserted and most shops have been closed for two weeks.

All cultural sites in the Holy Land are shuttered, regardless of their religious affiliation, as authorities seek to forestall the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

Christians will be prevented from congregating for the Easter service, whether this coming Sunday — as in the case of Bitar and fellow Catholic worshippers — or a week later on April 19, in line with the Orthodox Easter.

Despite wars and uprisings, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected, has not been closed over Easter for at least a century, according to Palestinian historian Johnny Mansour.

Advertisement

Bitar, who is in her sixties, says it is “depressing” that she will not be able to celebrate Easter in church.

Israel — which in 1967 occupied east Jerusalem and later annexed it — has confirmed over 9,700 coronavirus infections, with 79 dead from the respiratory disease.

On the Palestinian side, more than 250 cases have been confirmed, with one death.

Jerusalem is usually the vibrant heart of global Easter celebrations.

Last year, more than 25,000 people gathered near the Holy Sepulchre to attend Palm Sunday mass, which marks the start of the Easter week.

This year, the cobbled streets of the Christian quarter were silent and its dozens of churches were empty for Palm Sunday on April 5.

A lookalike of Jesus, with long hair, a white tunic and bare feet, praying with his bible on the steps of the church of the Sepulchre, cut a lonely figure.

Behind the heavy wooden doors of this holiest of Christian places, there were only 15 members of the clergy in attendance, said Ibrahim Shomali, spokesman for the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.

Loading...

“But despite the difficult circumstances, there can be positives,” Shomali told AFP.

Streaming the mass direct online, 60,000 people watched, he said.

This Sunday, Easter mass will be broadcast on television and on social networks.

Only six monks will be present in the church, Shomali said.

Watching the mass online will be the only way Francis Gharfah will celebrate Easter this year.

A Palestinian from east Jerusalem, he left his usual decorations in their boxes and chose not to prepare traditional pastries.

“The situation is dramatic,” he told AFP, saying he fears for his job at an NGO due to the virus.

He was “very touched” by the images of Pope Francis celebrating Palm Sunday in an empty Saint Peter’s Basilica, accompanied only by a few religious men and women — each of them perched on separate benches.

“People are thirsty for spirituality,” said Shomali, who finds great solace in a “return of faith” in this dark time.

Bitar attempts to remain upbeat.

“Everything happens for a reason. I hope that we will be different people, that we will appreciate things differently” once the coronavirus crisis ends.

To mark this Easter, Bitar laid out a cloth printed with small yellow chicks and multi-coloured eggs at the entrance to her home.

Her family has created an improvised photo studio, her daughter and grandchildren squeezing into pictures surrounded by a rabbit and flowers.

But all the photos in the world will not be the same as attending church for Easter.

“We live five minutes from the Holy Sepulchre and we cannot go there,” she said sadly.

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Meet George Floyd baby mama, daughter – Nairobi News

Published

on

Loading...

As the world struggles to recover from the cruel death of George Floyd in the hands of the Minneapolis Police, the deceased’s baby mama has made an emotional plea for justice, sobbing as she insisted he was a good man “no matter what anybody thinks”.

With her six-year-old daughter Gianna clinging to her, Roxie Washington said she wanted all four officers involved in Floyd’s death to pay for the death, which has sparked fierce protests across the US and the world.

“At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna doesn’t have a father. He will never see her group up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle.”

She made these remarks during a news conference at Minneapolis City Hall.

“He loved her, he loved her so much,” she said.

Loading...

“I’m here for my baby. I’m here for George because I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good.”

Floyd, 46, died last week in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 note at a shop.

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Ichung’wah, Kuria among 17 MPs targetted in Jubilee Party clean-up » Capital News

Published

on

Loading...

NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 3 – Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Kimani Ichung’wah and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria are among key allies of Deputy President William Ruto, targetted in a fresh purge on House leadership by the Jubilee Party.

A day after President Uhuru Kenyatta convened a Parliamentary Group meeting at State House, Newly appointed Majority Whip Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) wrote to 17 MPs demanding that they should show cause why they should not be removed from various departmental Committee.

If the discharge is effected, Kuria will lose his post as the vice-chairman of the Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee.

Other MPs listed in the ouster plot include Bomet County Woman Representative Joyce Korir, who is also the vice-chairperson of the Labour and Social Welfare Committee, Cornelly Serem (Aldai) and Robert Pukose (Endebess) who are vice-chairpersons to the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and Energy Committees respectively.

Wangwe gave the MPs seven days to respond to his letter.

Loading...

The Jubilee PG on Tuesday resolved to strip National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) and his deputy Cecily Mbarire (Nominated MP) of their positions.

The move followed the removal of Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Senate Majority Whip Susan Kihika who were accused of sabotaging the President’s agenda.

And on Wednesday, Kieni Member of Parliament Kanini Kega said he was collecting signatures to also remove Majority Leader Aden Duale.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“I have so far collected 115 signatures,” he said, “I am confident that by tomorrow we will have at least 155.”

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Activists fight in court over whether children should return to school

Published

on

Loading...

By MAUREEN KAKAH

Seven activists have moved to court to stop reopening of learning institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The activists, Michael Otieno, Evance Oloo, Mary Akach, Irene Ojwang, Robert Oluoch, Millicent Adhiambo and Evans Odhiambo claim that many children from poor and rural areas are disadvantaged by the ongoing virtual learning.

In the suit filed against the Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, the Attorney-General and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), the activists argue that there are learners who lack access to electricity, have special needs or have been affected by floods besides the Covid-19 pandemic.

Loading...

They opposed the reopening of schools without consideration of guidelines issued by UNESCO.

“Recognising that the concept of education is the most fundamental duty and necessity in any democracy, children are the supreme assets of any nation being the greatest gift to humanity, they deserve equality, right to life and highest standards of attainable health status,” they said.

According to the UN guidelines on reopening of schools amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, public health and socio-economic factors must be central to national and local authorities’ decisions on this matter after assessing the associated benefits as well as risks to education.

Advertisement

UNESCO, UNICEF, World Food Programme and World Bank have already indicated that the closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about many unprecedented risks to children’s education as well as their well-being even though there is no enough evidence on disease transmission rate.

In the said guidelines, governments have been urged to prioritise education for all children including the marginalised and strengthen distance learning and establish support for reopening of schools.

Governments have also been urged to consider how various school going children, teachers and communities are coping with the pandemic in various contexts and how decision makers can best give support while considering risk factors on one hand and benefits of classroom learning on the other.

According to the petitioners, most parents have been affected by the pandemic and the cost of virtual learning besides settling bills, feeding their children and supervising their learning at home has been overwhelming.

They want the case certified urgent and the ongoing broadcast on learning programmes to primary and secondary students as set by KICD be temporarily suspended.

They also want the timetable set by KICD to be halted and any plans by the government to reopen schools suspended until when the institutions will be pandemic compliant.

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Loading...
Advertisement
Loading...

Trending