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Book Reviews

Pia de Simony - Marie Czernin, Elias Chacour israeliano palestinese cristiano

Pia de Simony - Marie Czernin, Elias Chacour israeliano palestinese cristiano, Marcianum Press, Venezia 2009

Even the most urgent need, when reduced to a formula, loses its importance and attraction. This applies to the crisis in education. Even when we recognise it, own up to it and complain about its worst aspects we have to ask ourselves whether we are actually doing something about it. Indeed are more people just looking on or are they trying to do something about it? Do people react to it with passion or is it another interesting topic for newspaper columnists?

 

Whatever the case may be the issue is not about picking knowledge over action or critical judgement over experience, but rather about bringing them back as part of a greater whole, one that is still hard pressed to find meaning and give substance to what it is supposed to do.

 

 

 

In fact the temptation to give in is ever stronger in the field of education as adults are actually tempted to give up when they do not know what to pass on since they do not know yet to whom they belong. But to start over, we need people with enough courage and wisdom to educate as well as voices that can really express education’s true beauty.

 

Since the world needs voices that bear witness even before it needs teachers, story telling can be persuasively and fruitfully effective. For this reason Marcianum Press added Elias Chacour: israeliano, palestinese, cristiano (Elias Chacour: Israeli, Palestinian and Christian), by Pia de Simony and Marie Czernin, to its Colere hominem series. An early edition was published by Herder in 2007.

 

 

 

This man’s life, that of a Palestinian Christian who is also an Israeli citizen, turns out to be relevant for us today because of what it represents in personal terms but also for its ecclesial aspects. His life shows how Christians can help the nations of the Middle East live together by setting up schools and educational institutions.

 

 

 

But what is most striking is how life can be experienced as a calling, certainly based on memories collected from the man himself. They are about the people he cares about, his inner motivations, his reactions to sometimes expected and oftentimes unexpected situations, his hopes and the profound spirit of faith that sustains them. . . . In short what we get is the story of life lived to its fullest which challenges us and acts as a standard to measure ourselves, as Stefano Grandesso writes in the afterword.

 

 

 

This is a good book for all those who care about education; all those who want to perform their duty with an open mind, without giving up, but starting again from a sense of unity that is deep inside them and part of the wider community of educators.

 

 

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