Wednesday, October 29, 2008

From Leila, #1

Hello after a while away...

1. I'm off away again. Bradford Uni kindly (and very unusually for this
subject) offered to defer my midwifery course due to my delayed Gaza exit, so
I'm due there September next year. Confronted with an unexpected free year, I
have travelled back to the middle east and am on my third day of an Arabic
course in Cairo.

2. The delayed second FreeGaza boat trip hopes to happen next week with a new
cargo and bunch of cool people including a Nobel Peace Prize winner and
Palestinian and Israeli MPs onboard; see www.freegaza.org. And then again a few
weeks after that. I want to return to Gaza, but for personal reasons (and the
Arabic course) next week is probably too early for me, so I'm almost certainly
waiting to hear about following trips. I hope there ARE further trips.
Otherwise I'll be kicking myself. MEanwhile my friends are still doing great
work with our resurrected ISM Gaza, you can read their reports at
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/gaza/ (The Israeli gun boats are
shooting at the *shore* now.)

3. The President of the UN praised our project at the UN General Assembly! You
can read the full speech at
http://un.org/ga/president/63/statements/idn21008.shtml

but here's an excerpt:

"Gandhi’s and King’s successors in the twenty-first century have carried
out further experiments in the power of nonviolent truth to achieve justice and
peace in every corner of the world—including, in the last two months, Gaza.
The Free Gaza Movement has succeeded in breaking the siege of Gaza by
nonviolent direct action. After sailing from Cypress, 44 activists from 17
countries landed their two small wooden boats at Gaza Port on August 23, 2008,
where a beleaguered people welcomed them. This nonviolent initiative allowed
Palestinians to enter and leave their own country freely for the first time in
over 60 years. As Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories noted, it is now a question of whether the
courage and commitment of the Free Gaza Movement “can awaken the conscience
of humanity to an unfolding tragedy”.

From the groundbreaking work of Gandhi and King to the ongoing example of the
Free Gaza Movement, we can discern the transforming power of nonviolence at a
crossroads in our history. Having developed the means of our own extinction by
war, we are called by Truth, at the very center of our being, to turn to a
nonviolent way of transformation into a just and peaceful future."

Leila


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