Citizens of the world
Yesterday we met with the other passengers. Hundreds of people united in the will not to leave the people of Gaza alone. It gave me joy to sense so much love and determination. The Turkish organization is impressive. I was trying to imagine how it must be to coordinate all these people with so many different needs and expectations comparing it with the work it takes us to coordinate the little Swedish group. Nalan, the Turkish coordinator, is a very small woman with a great sense of humour and nerves of steel. When I first saw her I thought that she looks as I use to imagine Teresa of Avila both in her looks and in her way to be at the same time flexible to circumstance, firmly determined, sweet and discreet.
There are always very different reasons why people do what they do. Yesterday I talked for instance to Ken O’Keefe who has tried to leave his American citizenship since many years in support of Hawaii’s right to self-determination, but the United States refuses and keeps sending new passports to him. To contribute to break the Gaza siege is for him to support people’s right to self-determination.
Many of the passengers of this boat come from Muslim countries: Indonesia, Algeria, Malaysia, Morocco, Egypt, Kuwait and Turkey of course. There is also a Catholic archbishop. It seems to me that religious belief is especially effective in uniting diverse wills and structuring action. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why in our post-political world Islamism is perceived as so threatening. It is also represented as being less “tolerant” than modern liberalism. I wouldn’t be so sure. The president of IHH-The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, which is a Muslim organization talked yesterday to all of us, reminding the Muslim passengers that there will be people from different religions and people who don’t believe in God on the boat and that our action is a humanitarian action not a Muslim one. What we have in common is concern for the situation for the people in Gaza. And that this is our point of departure when we embark on this boat. He also made it clear that it is not our intention to support or take sides for Hamas. We all showed our agreement with his words in different vogues as the translations came.
Today I read an interview by Cecilia Uddén in which an Israeli official says that this is a “Hamas-led operation”. That is a blunt lie. Among the citizens of the world that act in solidarity with Gaza’s people there are certainly Muslims. All Muslims are not Hamas. That is only true in the minds of Islamofobs.
Thanks for keeping us informed, Edda and Mattias! I also read your article on Newsmill, Edda, and - sadly enough - some of the replies. Jeez! What a bunch of word mongers and biased blog writers we have around us, manipulating and distorting UN reports et al... Keep up the good work! Lots of love to all of you on the Ship(s) to Gaza!!!
Great to read bout the people on board. Also good to know the heterogeneity of the participants. It is a sing of strength. Love & Revolution on Ships!