9 June 2018

Saying Goodbye to the Brave Sailors on Freedom – the Boat to Gaza

Gaza's Starvation Blockade Exposes the Hypocrisy of the West’s Leaders


It has been a wonderful and quite unique week for Brighton PSC and activists.  On Tuesday we met the yacht Freedom as it sailed passed Brighton Marina and then on to Shoreham harbour where it docked.  Groups of us rushed from the Marina in a convoy of cars to the Kingston beach in Shoreham to see what seemed a tiny little yacht, which was nonetheless too big to dock at the  Marina.

On the following two days we had stalls in the centre of town with members of the Crewe.  On Wednesday night we had a jam packed meeting at the Friends Meeting House in Ship Street.  Arriving late I had to go into public gallery upstairs as all the seats had been taken downstairs.  Some 130 people crammed in to pay tribute to an international crew for the boat which had come from Bergen in Norway and Gottenberg in Sweden.
Perhaps one question above all summed up what people felt.  ‘Aren’t you afraid’ asked someone in the audience.  Here they were, human rights volunteers soon to be pitted against the might of the world’s armed bully par excellence.  A state armed to the teeth and proclaiming its ‘right to self defence’.  The West’s racist Rottweiler, its teeth permanently bared.
social at the Verdict opposite the law courts in Brighton - Lloyd Russell-Moyle is 4th from the left in the back row
Kingstone beach with the lighthouse at the back
For 11 long years a hermetic siege has been maintained for the crime of having elected the wrong government in Gaza.  Hamas, a conservative Islamic group has been demonised as genocidal killers, ironically enough by genocidal killers who make Hamas seem like a Sunday school picnic.
The question summed up our fears that these brave men and women would experience rough treatment at the hands of a military that does not hesitate to murder in cold blood children and medics, as they fulfil the rulings of rabbis who say that Palestinians, however young or old, are a legitimate target.
At the meeting a variety of solidarity messages were read out including from local MPs Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown and Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for the South-East who posted a video message.  There was only one MP missing and that was the racist Progress ‘Labour’ MP for Hove, Peter Kyle.
On Thursday we had a wonderful social with food and drink at the Verdict jazz club opposite the law courts.  Thanks to Roxanne and all who helped make it such a success. It was also good to see Lloyd drop in. 
On Friday at 8.00 a.m. about 60 of us gathered to bid farewell to the crewe as they left Shoreham for the last time for Spain.  At the end of July, in company with 3 other boats, Freedom will attempt to break the blockade of Gaza.  It is ironic that Israel attacks BDS for being hateful and of course ‘anti-Semitic’ but their enforced blockade is perfectly ok, even if they kill human rights volunteers as happened with the Marvi Marmara some years ago.
Below are a few pictures
Tony Greenstein

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