Your support is tremendous, and deeply appreciated.
I've tried my best to write back and acknowledge each of you individually but it is simply not possible, and that is a good sign of great support! Thanks so much, because what you are supporting is the sacred nature of the life of a real human being - Berlanty Azzam - a young woman who for some reason, God has entrusted to us at Bethlehem University. And for her, and each and every student, it is a sacred trust and covenant we undertake when we engage in the teaching and learning process, for it is about both touching hearts and enlightening minds.
Thank you for being a vital part of this sacred covenant of teaching and learning here in this most special place -- Bethlehem University.
I last spoke with Berlanty on Friday afternoon, and with her father also. To be honest with you, her voice did not come across as strong as it had the day before, and as it had four days ago when she was in my office. I guess that is to be understood, given the traumatic events she has been subjected to -- being blindfolded and handcuffed and brought in the night from Bethlehem to Gaza in such a terrible way.
And all for what? Because she was born in Gaza City and moved to Bethlehem in 2005 to study at Bethlehem University.
She is not accused of any crime or any security infractions whatsoever!
Before I ended the phone call on Friday afternoon, Berlanty said over and over again, "Brother, thank you so much … .really I want to thank you and all of the friends of the university who are helping me and praying for me ... really I don't know what to say but 'thank you' ..."
It is not over yet.
Here is a CNN article:
And a petition against Berlanty's deportation has been filed in Israeli courts. The courts have ordered attorneys for the state of Israel to submit a preliminary written reply to the petition by Tuesday, 3 November 2009. Your support matters. If you can contact your own elected representatives and Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton now, that would be helpful (you can go to the US State Department Website
at the bottom of the page you will see "CONTACT US" -- click on this, then on the blue tab that says "EMAIL A QUESTION OR COMMENT"
Then fill in the form and submit it.
Here is the link to the form
You might wish to say something like:
I am writing to you regarding the case of Ms. Berlanty Azzam, a fourth-year student at Bethlehem University in Bethlehem who was detained and deported to Gaza by the Israeli military on October 28, 2009. Ms. Azzam, 21 years old, is only few months away from completing her four-year Bachelor’s degree in business administration.
A petition against Berlanty's deportation has been filed in Israeli courts. The courts have ordered attorneys for the state of Israel to submit a preliminary written reply to the petition by Tuesday, 3 November 2009. Your support matters.
I ask that you request the government of Israel on compassionate and humanitarian grounds to allow this young woman, Ms. Berlanty Azzam to return to Bethlehem to complete her studies. She has not been accused of being a security threat and has committed no crime.
I believe permitting her to return to Bethlehem to complete her degree also would be in the spirit of the “Agreement on Movement and Access” negotiated between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in 2005 that was facilitated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Let us pray with confidence that your efforts and those of thousands of others are together moving us forward to bring the ugliness of this injustice to light -- and thus help us to bring forth justice for our student - your student - Berlanty.
Blessings to you,