Bearing Witness

Death by a Thousand Papercuts?

This post is by Miles Howe, words and photograph – Miles is one of the most optimistic men I have ever meet, not to mention his wicked sense humor and commitment, and I still hope to sail to Gaza with him in the near future.

The Greek government has crumbled in the face Israeli pressure, and has issued a ban on the sailing of all Freedom Flotilla II boats to Gaza. The Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir, sits in a marina in Agios Nikolaos. It is unwilling to stay, but unable to go. Its banners of hope are now unfurled and draped over its sides, and it presents a striking counter-balance to its harbour mates of pristine tourist yachts.

Yesterday, the peaceful activists that make up the Tahrir’s crew protested the injunction against their boat, and marched through the streets of Agios Nikolaos, from the marina to the harbour police office. There, they were again stonewalled by a wall of red tape. Any and every reason for finding the Tahrir unable to sail were found, from inadequate bench length, to lack of warm water, to an improper radio signal.

Today, the Flotilla appears to have been dealt a very serious blow. All boats save the French Dignite, which sailed out of Corsica, were hoping to sail from Greece. Political contacts that were expected to allow this to happen were sadly absent in the face of Israeli governmental power. The legality of this action by the Greeks, who are the EU’s main importer/exporter, is in question, and brings to doubt Greece’s safety and sovereignty as a place to do shipping business of any kind.

Such matters are for the courts, and we must wait for the work week for the legal implications of what the Israelis and Greeks have done to begin to unfold. The Israeli government has succeeded in not allowing the boats, for the moment, to sail. On the other hand, many consider that Israel has failed miserably in keeping the world’s eye, and one would hope conscience, from the larger issue of the continued imprisonment of the Palestinian people. People from around the world now wonder why Gazans remain captives in their own state, why they cannot access their coastlines and sail freely, why they cannot visit the West Bank, and why the world cannot visit them and do trade with them. It is clear that the ‘Arab spring’, indeed the human spring that must take place, will not forget Gaza, and will not come to fruition until Palestine is free.

Sylvia Hale and I venting our frustration at the Zionist Greek Government !

July 2, 2011 - Posted by | Freedom Flotilla Two | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Love the photo!! Go Michael and Sylvia (and the rest of you fabulous Flotilla crew, of course)!

    Comment by Kate Ausburn | July 2, 2011

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