by Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
Every time my husband David Khoury starts up a new project, I sort of get a deeper culture shock. It has been over twenty-three years trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel like he sees the sun in his Taybeh Beer logo as the symbol of hope and a bright future for Palestine. I am so happy he did not trade me in for another wife to have more sons since I delivered only two. People in this ancient village seem to count only the boys on the family tree. I am trying not to be jealous when families have five boys. Actually, it is girls who do the job of five men but hardly anyone gives them credit in a male dominated Middle East. Thus, my daughter who runs the new Taybeh Golden Hotel, complains I give all my attention to the boys even though they live abroad while we struggle daily to do good things under extremely harsh conditions. Three huge investments to boost the local economy and a challenge to keep saying “Have a golden day,” when darkness seems to be all around in a region that is suffering more than ever. However, this September 24 & 25, 2016 will be a weekend of being a light on a hill with the annual Taybeh Oktoberfest celebration right next to the Taybeh Brewery.
My husband has many crazy ideas but the Taybeh Golden Hotel is his dream come true because he wanted to encourage people to stay in a little village and experience rural Palestine while having a Taybeh Beer tour or a taste of the new Palestinian boutique wines first produced in August 2013. The Taybeh Winery is a dream come true for his brother, Nadim Khoury who has always worked for that different face of Palestine with the message that if Palestinians have freedom, we too, can make excellent local products like other countries. But, Palestinians have never had a chance before the Oslo Peace Agreement (1993) when many entrepreneurs were inspired to return to their homeland and start up new ventures to help build the economy. However, life as normal came to a complete stop after September 28, 2000 due to the Second Uprising and eventually being locked up behind Israel’s separation wall. Can this open-air prison get any worse? I keep thinking Israel will find a way to require permits to breathe the air.
My cultural shock gets worse because instead of understanding my purpose in a developing country, I cannot seem to understand anything anymore. I am in disbelief that people can still be happy and keep their hope with so many checkpoints all around and the Israeli occupation at full blast. The world seems to have forgotten the catastrophe of 1948 and never seem to hear of “settler violence.” The new start up that everyone needs is a refreshed sense of non-violent action since for us in Taybeh, making excellent Palestinian products is our peaceful way to make a statement to the world that we want a modern, liberal, moderate free Palestine. The annual Taybeh Oktoberfest is a genuine reflection of unique happenings. Taybeh is waiting for you on September 24 & 25, 2016.
Editor’s Note: Maria C. Khoury, holds a doctor of education degree, Boston University and is organizing the 12th annual Taybeh Oktoberfest September 24 & 25, 2016.