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“We are ready to sail”

“It is clear that those who are still participating in the flotilla are the hardcore terror activists” –Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman

Yesterday, in a well-attended press conference in Athens, Col. Ann Wright declared…

Flotilla organizers: “We are ready to sail”

…Speaking to a packed room of over 70 international journalists in a sweltering Athens conference room, organizers of Freedom Flotilla II said that the flotilla will set sail from various Mediterranean ports in the “coming days.” Organizers informed the international press corps that the purpose of the flotilla is both humanitarian and political in nature. Despite, clear safety warnings to both journalists and passengers by the Israeli government, flotilla representatives said that they will sail to Gaza in solidarity with the people of Palestinian. […]

US Boat Organizer and former US army colonel, Ann Wright, said that an Israeli legal organization is behind the complaints against the US boat to Gaza which has been stuck at an unnamed Athens sea port for the past week. Wright strongly proclaimed that despite the serious pressure against the US boat to Gaza, the boat will in fact set sail for Gaza this week carrying over 3000 letters from Americans to Gazans…

Many of the participants eloquently spoke about why they were participating in the Stay Human – Freedom Flotilla…

Our US speakers were Ann Wright and Alice Walker, as well as Huwaida Araf, who was not representing the U.S. boat but the international flotilla.

Ann talked about the efforts of the Israeli government to stop our boat, the bogus complaint against us launched by the Israeli legal center. (This is the same center, by the way, that has been suing us, trying to get insurance companies not to insure and pushing satellite companies not to help us get wired on the boat.)

Alice Walker gave poignant comments about the fight against slavery in the US, and how people from other nations came to support that struggle. “My government has failed us, and is ignorant of our own history,” she said. “When black people were enslaved for 300 years, it took a lot of people from outside our community to help free us. This is a fine tradition–going to help people who need us anywhere on the planet. I look at you in the room; if we have salvation as humankind, it is in the room.”

Huwaida Araf spoke first as a lawyer, stating the reasons why the closure of Gaza is illegal. Then she spoke as a Palestinian, making it clear that the flotilla is not about humanitarian aid but it is to support Palestinians demand for liberation. She chided Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for their criticisms of the flotilla.

A few other highlights: A representative from a Jewish group in Sweden said there are two kinds of Jews: those who reflect on the Holocaust and say ‘we will do everything not to let it happen to us again’ vs. those who say ‘we will not let it happen to anyone again.’ He received thunderous applause.

Henning Mankell, the famous Norwegian mystery writer spoke as well. Assuming there were Israeli agents in the room, he said, “If there is someone in this room who reports directly to the Israeli government, please note that there is no declaration of war here; what we represent is a declaration of peace. Try, for once, to tell the truth.”

A Native American representative from Canada talked about how the Canadian government had urged their delegation to send aid through the channels that Israel has established. “As an oppressed people, one of the things we have learned over many years,” he said, “it that you should never ask the oppressor for permission. And when you work in solitary with the oppressed, you should never work with the oppressor.”

Here is a set of brief YouTube clips from the US Participants and Crew members of the Audacity of Hope…

Gabriel Schivone…

Missy Lane…

Yonatan Shapira…

G. Kaleo Larson…

Hagit Borer…

Nic Abramson…

Kathy Kelly…

Robert Naiman…

Ridgely Fuller…

Gail Miller…

Hedy Epstein…

Ken Mayers…

Linda Durham…

Brad Taylor…

Richard Levy…

Ray McGovern…

Medea Benjamin…

Regina Carey…

Len Tsou…

Sylvia Hale…

Libor Kožnar…

Steve Fake…

Alice Walker…

They certainly look like a bunch of ‘hardcore terror activists’ to me…!

Now, both Edward Teller and I are preparing to Live Blog the Stay Human Flotilla, and we’re both compiling twitter, facebook, and, other social/news media feeds, if you have any suggestions and/or links please supply them in the comments…!

In summing up, in other Gaza news, South Africa is sending a Land Convoy to Gaza…

God Bless and God Speed…!

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