Kennington Bethlehem Link have been active in the last few years seeking to promote a twinning type relationship between the two communities.
We have sought to know more about the day to day lives of people in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. In May 2016 we visited the area, meeting municipal leaders and with communities and individuals engaged in education, arts, dance, theatre, leisure and sport. We met religious organisations, visited the Aida Refugee Camp and talked with UN representatives.
Back in Kennington we have sought to strengthen our relationships and to build understanding between the people of Kennington and Bethlehem.
To this end we have organised a series of projects in Kennington:
2014 Open Bethlehem
We screened the acclaimed documentary Open Bethlehem by the Palestinian director Leila Sansour following her extraordinary journey to the legendary city of Bethlehem, where she grew up.
An audience of over a hundred people saw the film and engaged in a Q & A with Sansour and Sir Vincent Fean afterwards.
2017 The Stones Cry Out
Screened in December 2017, this film by the documentary film maker Yasmine Perni, recounted the unwavering and sometimes desperate struggle of all Palestinians.
For more than sixty years Christians and Muslims have suffered displacement, wars, occupation and oppression. In this film they tell their story.
A panel discussion followed with Sir Vincent Fean and others.
DIYAR WOMEN’S FOOTBALL TEAM
Sport is an international language and a great way to make friends. To this end we hosted young women from the Diyar Academy football team in Bethlehem.
The team toured the country playing matches in Bath, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield. We then welcomed the group for a feast at St Anselm’s Church. The next day we paid a visit to Lambeth Palace, where the team met the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the afternoon, along with students from two Kennington school, the team trained with Stevlund Kellman, our FA accredited coach.
A video of the day is available on our forthcoming ‘YouTube’ channel.
Other highlights were trips to the River Thames at night and to Oxford Street.
KICKING AGAINST THE WALL
Mark Dickens is a local artist who is planning collaborative, multi-media and football project between the Kennington Bethlehem Link and young people from Bethlehem. The wall that ink-rolled balls will be kicked against is the separation wall that dominates much of Bethlehem and runs along the border of the Aida Refugee Camp.
An early start was made just before Christmas 2017 with Kennington children and their families kicking against a white sheet attached to a Kennington wall to explode balloons filled with paint, creating a massive colourful abstract, similar to the one we are aiming to create in Bethlehem.
Silent Voices Photographic Exhibition
A beautiful and thought provoking exhibition of photographs taken by the children of Bil’in, a Palestinian village in the West Bank. The children were asked:
“What are the messages you would like people to hear about your world and what do you want them to learn about your life?”
They offered a rare and eloquent glimpse into the day to day lives of children living under stress.
The project was organised and run by the Liverpool Friends of Bil’in and has toured the United Kingdom.
Supporting the Palestinian Economy
We sell Palestinian craft goods and foods at local events to help raise awareness of the situation in Palestine.