FASTLANES: Gentlemen please, New Jerusalem is in Davao

DOHA, Qatar (MindaNews/22 September) — Monitoring closely the debates in the United Nations whether to grant Palestine full membership status, I can’t help but think of some comic relief as tension can be felt more strongly in this part of the world.

Palestine’s bid for full recognition as a nation-state in the UN has gone short of convulsive starting Tuesday as the 66th UN General Assembly convened. World leaders are scampering to prevent a showdown over the determined effort of Palestine Pres. Mahmoud Abbas to bring their cause to the UN, even as the United States of America, an unabashed ally of Israel, warned it would exercise its veto power as an original member of the UN Security Council on any move to admit Palestine as full member of the assembly of states.

The influential Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) herded its members Monday to ensure that they support Abbas’ bid on the UN floor, initially set at the opening Tuesday. Later, Abbas announced he will take the floor Friday. Obama drew first blood when he told the gathering of nations that the two-state solution to the volatile piece of land in the Middle East lies on the peace negotiating table not in the UN. He said that neighbors Palestine and Israel have to talk it between themselves to resolve the conflict which is of Biblical or Koranic proportions.

Obama has been criticized as the sweet talking apologist of Israel. Others want understanding for him as he himself battles the bigots when it comes to the Palestinian’s statehood cause, many in the US Republicans, in order to have better chances in the 2012 elections.

Upon hearing Obama’s speech, Israel’s hands and ears can be heard clapping. They affirmed Obama’s talking head and said yes, we’ll go back to the negotiating table and at the same time build Israeli settlements in the tiny piece of Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a repartee, the Emir of Qatar, a tiny Gulf State that has been doing big politically and economically, took the UN floor Wednesday to bring the case of Palestinian independence.

“All peace efforts to reach just and durable peace in the region have stumbled over Israel’s obstinate position which is rooted in an arrogant feeling of military power that guarantees security, and over Israel’s insistence to play for time and to use the negotiations to impose the status quo by continuing Jewish settlement,” said Qatar’s Emir Shiekh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Qatar used to be friendlier to Israel compared to other Arab countries. In fact, it had informal relations with the Jewish State when it hosted an economic attaché in Doha until 2009. Recently the relations between the two had gone more sour over Qatar’s staunch support to Palestinian independence and Israel’s accusation that the tiny but gas- and oil-rich nation which hosts the biggest US military base in the Gulf is supporting the Hamas.

As the 66th General Assembly of the UN moves on, the plot will no doubt get thicker and trickier.

Already, doomsday prophets from fundamental Christian groups have already gone viral in Facebook and Youtube, predicting the end of the world with the emergence of the beast as prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

This is damn serious and this is where I would finally take Pastor Apollo Quiboloy seriously.

In my early days here, a good Filipino neighbor invited me to a Christian gathering. Well aware that religious proselytizing is banned in this Middle Eastern country, I told myself, heck, I have to pray and sincerely thank God for giving me the opportunity to come here in the hopes of ending my poverty.

So, I went with this kabayan in a hotel and when we entered the conference room a huge TV screen greeted us, with the charismatic Quiboloy preaching. Yes, he was convincing and his four-hour lecture or sermon has a strong logical weave. I was amazed by his arguments especially his teaching that the center of human salvation, the modern promised land is actually in Buhangin, Davao City, in what he calls “The New Jerusalem” where the broadcast or recorded telecast originated.

I told myself, “My, this guy is making sense,” until in the middle of the prayer, and I was trying to meditate in prayer myself, I said: “makasala man pod ta ani oi” in reaction to his prayer call “in the name of your Appointed son…” I had thought of hearing the name Jesus Christ, but instead heard the name “Apollo Quiboloy.” I continued my prayer in our apartment.

But I am not saying he was wrong. I am of the belief that it is senseless to debate on beliefs and I’d left it at that and enjoyed the chicken afritada and maja blanca served by brothers and sisters from the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name, Inc. (And I noticed in their logo that below the name of Jesus Christ was Quiboloy’s name, which comforted me against the fear of eternal damnation, “kay ilalum ra man diay iya ngalan sa ngalan ni Jesus”).

It is a pity, his Presidentiable Gibo Teodoro lost, otherwise, Quiboloy would have tagged along with him in the 66th UN General Assembly and told all to shut up. The biblical piece of land in the Middle East being quarreled upon by the world’s religions in Israel and Palestine is archaic. And tell them to go in peace instead to the New Jerusalem in Buhangin, Davao City, Philippines.

Huh, I’m proud to be a Filipino. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Comments can be sent to [email protected])