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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No matter what, “We set sail”

“We are coming to Gaza”
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

On Saturday, the French boat ‘Dignity/Karama’ left the port of l'ile Rousse in Corsica, France. It will “meet up with at least nine other vessels — carrying nearly 3,000 tons of aid and hundreds of civilians from dozens of countries, including members of parliament, politicians, writers, artists, journalists and sports figures, representatives of indigenous peoples, various faith groups — sailing to Gaza to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade.…

“The Freedom Flotilla has set sail,” says a statement issued yesterday from the international steering committee of Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human.

“[D]espite intimidation, pressure, and threats of violence from the Israeli government, which is not ashamed to boast that it will use snipers and attack dogs against unarmed civilians,” the statement said, “we will sail.

“We are part of a growing movement, led by Palestinian civil society campaigning for their freedom that Israel’s strong-arm tactics cannot stop. We call on our governments to do their utmost to protect their citizens as we take to the sea, without weapons or protection or threat of force, in defense of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.

“Gaza, we are coming.”

Alice Walker spoke from Athens giving her reasons for going to Gaza. Her statement excerpted with minor editing here was rebroadcast today on Pacifica’s Democracy Now.

“I am going to Gaza, the American writer said, “because my government has failed. It has failed us. It has failed to understand or to care about the people of Gaza.

“Worse than that: our government is ignorant of our own history in the United States.… [W]hen black people were enslaved for 300 years, it took a lot of people from outside of our communities to come to help free us. … [D]uring the [1960s] civil rights movement … it took people from outside our own communities to come and help us free ourselves.

“This is a fine tradition of going to people who need us wherever they exist on the planet. This is our responsibility. This is what we are here for as human beings.…

So [to] Gazans — especially to the children — we are on our way. We hear you. We are coming.

“… Hillary Clinton may put up all the protests she likes. She may say that we should not travel, that it is dangerous. We know it is dangerous. …

“[W]hen the U.S. government in the person of our president makes a speech about [the Middle East] and really speaks only to Israelis and not to Palestinians — this is unacceptable.

“We cannot accept this. We look at what has happened to the Palestinian people for all of these decades and see it is insufferable.…

“We will not accept it. We will not.

“As Americans, with our history of enslavement of people, of segregation, of apartheid, of brutalization, of lynching — we will not accept this.…

“This is our present. This is our future.… [I]f we work on these issues … we are beginning to see, we are freeing ourselves of the myths that have crippled us, beginning to see what is the truth. [I]f we can see what is the truth in this situation, we will free ourselves to work on the real issue for humanity, protecting earth.”

Sources and notes

“Despite pressure and threats of violence, flotilla will sail —This statement was issued earlier today from the international steering committee of Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human” (on rabble.ca), June 27, 2011, http://rabble.ca/print/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2011/06/despite-pressure-and-threats-violence-flotilla-will-sail#comment-1266502; http://rabble.ca

“It Takes People On the Outside: Prestigious Author Alice Walker to Confront Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza on U.S. Aid Ship.” http://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/28/it_takes_people_on_the_outside

Alice Walker is one of the United States’ celebrated authors, poets and activists.

News World Organizers say Israel pressuring Greece to halt departure of flotilla to blockaded Gaza

Alice Walker, June 10, 2011, Mendocino, Ca, “That is why I sail,” .http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2011/06/alice-walker-why-i-am-sailing-gaza-freedom-flotilla
Canadian Boat to Gaza Canada4Gaza FF2StayHuman flotilla2 Gaza rabblers Gaza
Source URL (retrieved on June 28 2011 - 2:22pm): http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2011/06/despite-pressure-and-threats-violence-flotilla-will-sail
Links: http://rabble.ca/print/blogs/bloggers/canadianboattogaza/2011/06/despite-pressure-and-threats-violence-flotilla-will-sail#comment-1266502


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