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Message from the Editor

As I explained to Sani Meo when he approached me for help with the December issue of This Week in Palestine (TWiP), I have a hard time saying no to Palestinians. Although not a Palestinian myself, I am the daughter of a Greek Jerusalemite, and all my current projects are about Palestine. So it has been my great honor to guest-edit this issue of TWiP, a magazine I highly respect for the way it documents all aspects of Palestinian life, past and present. TWiP has two levels of editing, first for content and then for language. Filling one of those pairs of shoes would have been demanding enough; filling both has been a challenge. With every article, my appreciation for the editor’s job grew exponentially. I’m afraid, upon completion, I find that my feet are still too small.

In its first bilingual issue,TWiP opens wide a door to the wonderful world of the Palestinians of Chile, a community that contributes to all aspects of Chilean life: they are successful businessmen, industrialists, diplomats, academics, restaurateurs, sportsmen, authors, artists, and more. And they are as devoted to their Palestinian identity as they are to being Chilean. Our authors and the personalities of the month are exemplars.

Ricardo Marzuka tells the history of the Palestinian immigration to Chile. Jorge Daccarett adds how, as self-starters, Palestinians evolved into a thriving community, despite many obstacles. Ambassador Christian Hodges-Nugent outlines the diplomatic relations between Chile and Palestine. Marcelo Marzuka and Nicola Stefan explain how they developed sustainable investments programs for the diaspora to help Palestine. Through Eyad Handal’s article on Dar Al-Sabagh Centre, Bethlehem, we encounter the vision and generosity of Albert Kassis (Personality 1) and the work and collection of George Al-Ama (Personality 3). Marcelo Marzuka and Gazan Qahhat take us on a culinary tour, while Victor Mahana introduces us to Chilean artists with Arab (mostly Palestinian) roots. We meet some remarkable women: multitalented Elizabeth Kassis, businesswoman Gabriela Salvador, academic Marcela Zedan, writer Faride Zeran Chelech, and child psychiatrist Nadia Garib. We learn about the social Club Palestino, not to be confused with the Palestino Sports Club, the football team, of which Diego Khamis Thomas writes passionately. Maurice Khamis (Personality 2) has been a leader in both institutions and now heads the Palestinian Community. Xavier Abu Eid tells the poignant story of his grandfather and the Beit Jala oasis he created in Santiago. Our books of the month feature the story of Marcela Salman Manzur’s Grandfather Khalil, an excerpt from a book by Lina Meruane, and a compilation of articles about Latin Americans of Palestinian origin edited by Viola Raheb. We are also thankful for the contributions of Reverend Mitri Raheb, Soledad Salamé, Marisol Olivares, Aline Khoury, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Some of our authors must be acknowledged for going over and above the call of writing. We are particularly indebted to Marcelo Marzuka for his invaluable help with the edits of articles beyond his own. Marcela Salman Manzur eagerly took on some of the burden of translations to ease the backlog, and generously shared photographs from her archive. Elizabeth Kassis not only connected us with authors, but also most generously shouldered the expenses of the translations.

Our thanks to everyone involved, and all the best to our readers for the rest of the year.

By Marina Parisinou

  • Marina Parisinou was born in Cyprus to a Greek Jerusalemite mother and a Cypriot father. She publishes her research on her maternal family’s history on her blog, MyPalestinianStory.com. She is also one of the participants and an associate producer in the interactive documentary Jerusalem, We Are Here (info.JerusalemWeAreHere.com). Marina is currently researching a book on Qatamon and the Semiramis bombing.

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