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Celebrating International Freedom Day in Gaza

Portrait of Alice Walker
Alice Walker was on board The Audacity of Hope flotilla

People from around the world stand in solidarity with Gaza, a community of people so squeezed by Israeli occupation, yet so resilient and lively. We celebrate International Freedom Day in Gaza with some of the activists who joined the US Freedom Flotilla to Gaza to break the blocade. We asked them why they joined: 

"What can I say: I joined the Flotilla to Gaza for the same reason I join anything: I feel an overwhelming love for the people. And for the donkey, too. And the plants, especially olive trees (so graceful and giving) and tomato plants (the way they smell!) and grapevines. 

"Every baby that is harmed by this horrendous, illegal and immortal blockage harms all of us. For we are one in our ability to feel each other’s pain. When this faculty is turned off, as it appears to be as demonstrated by some of those poor souls ordered to pillage and burn, shoot and destroy, we become less than machines; we become brutes; who know and understand, only force. This is a frightening model for out children and grandchildren, a terrifying model for the world.

"To the limits of our strength we must demonstrate our love of human beings, especially our love for the littlest ones! That means, yes, Flotillas, and Bus Rides, and Showing up, if only to be the one face that a child sees smiling in the hostile crowd." -Alice Walker

 

"I participated in the Gaza Flotilla out of a moral imperative to confront suffering and injustice.  As a US citizen, mother, and human being it is unacceptable to be silent in the face of racism, hatred, death and destruction of other human beings.

"Particularly as a mother, I was moved to act on behalf of the children of Gaza. I was able to raise my daughter without fear for her safety. I never had to wonder if bombs would fall on her or if she would be taken from her room in the night. Not one mother in Palestine can make this claim. 

"Of all the weapons generated in this country the greatest weapon of mass destruction is Silence. I have a voice, I have a body and I have the capacity to love all of our children. With these, I could break the silence about Gaza."  -Debra Ellis

 

"As I learned more over the recent years about the plight of the Palestinians, the vast majority fighting for their rights nonviolently for almost 100 years, I was troubled to find they were ignored by the powerful governments and main stream media, at least in the western world.  I agreed with fellow activists that it was worth a try to highlight their struggle, especially in Gaza, by trying to defy the blockade of Gaza by sea. 

"Maybe as internationals we could get the world to pay attention to the dreadful occupation and  blockade. But even if the tactic failed to garnish effective news, it was just as important  to send a message to the Palestinians that they were not alone and people cared." -Kathy Sheetz