By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
The biblical land of Canaan has been my home since the failed Oslo Peace Agreement when my husband, Daoud, returned to his home village of Taybeh. Sometimes I sit in the Middle of the Wilderness thinking it would have been easier if he simply married a nice girl from his village. I am sure she would pronounce everything perfectly well and travel much less than I do. I spent the whole day driving in historic Palestine, to take my husband to a business meeting passed Haifa with the required permits, of course, practicing the pronunciation of my son’s name and still after a three hour drive one way and twenty five years of practicing saying “ Canaan “ something is wrong with my accent. As a Greek, I simply cannot pronounce my son’s name correctly in Arabic and what a great name he has. It is his grandfathers meaning the land of milk and honey and all of historic Palestine where the first Canaanites dwelled given my first born son his deep roots and rich legacy of being Palestinian today. I got smart and gave my second born son a Greek name, so I have no trouble whatsoever saying “Constantine.” I seem not to be able to say anything appropriately in Arabic realizing that I have even pronounced my husband’s name incorrectly for over thirty years. Elena, my daughter, begs me not to speak Arabic.
Though I speak a different language, there are other things that I have attempted to promote in Palestine. One of my happiest moments was sitting at the edge of the backstage at the 6th Annual Taybeh Oktoberfest and admiring the different rap group members who gathered from various places in Palestine and got to speak to each other after their performances since I had a great view of their hugs and handshakes. It was an unforgettable marvelous view of the audience also and thousands of happy faces during this unique celebration of life that has taken place six times already in this tiny village originally known as Biblical Ephraim. My husband was so proud to be from this small village where his grandfather was the parish priest that he named the only Palestinian Beer and the first micro-brewed beer in the Middle East after his beloved village. In case you want to become familiar with this inspirational story of the current father-daughter team who brew this premium quality product you need to have a Taybeh Beer tour and meet my brother-in-law, Nadim Khoury, the master brewer and Madees, the first female to brew beer in the Middle East.
Something unusual and extraordinary has been happening in Taybeh not only since 1995 when Taybeh Beer went in the international market, but since David Khoury my husband became mayor of Taybeh, the Taybeh Oktoberfest has been an amazing distinctive festival in Palestine that has inspired others to plan festivals in their areas. The last Taybeh Oktoberfest gathered more than fifteen thousand visitors of diverse faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds to enjoy a day of fun in one of the most ancient places in Palestine where people are simply peaceful and follow the gospel of love, you know the commandment, ‘Love your neighbor, Love your Enemy.’ Displaying this sort of love is how Taybeh got its modern name and dropped its biblical name of Ephraim. When the great Islamic leader conquered the area and the local people dared to be hospitable, feeding the soldiers and horses. Saladin made a comment “you are Taybeen.” However, don’t get us confused with the other four “Taybeh” locations in the Middle East. We are the only Taybeh making the famous Taybeh Beer and Jesus already made Taybeh famous with his historic visit right before His crucifixion ( John 11:54). I have no problem pronouncing “Taybeh”, do you? Happy Mothers’ Day to all beloved mothers and to all of the women who might serve as a loving mother to others.
Note: Dr. Maria C. Khoury is organizing the 7th Annual Taybeh Oktoberfest, Oct 1 & 2, 2011. She hopes Canaan David Khoury II, a new graduate of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy with a doctor of Pharmacy will return home and organize many celebrations in Palestine