Archive for May, 2009
PRESS RELEASE – Caoimhe Butterly Irish tour to promote Free Gaza Movement’s The Hope Fleet’ sailing to Gaza in June.
Irish woman Caoimhe Butterly, who spent this year in Gaza working with the Ambulance service is touring Ireland to give a first hand account of events there and to gather support for the ‘HOPE FLEET’ a flotilla of cargo boats returning to Gaza in June.
Caoimhe is the Free Gaza coordinator in Gaza and has close links with a number of developing grassroots projects in Gaza and who have ideas about links, partnerships that people/groups here can support and be involved with.
“I believe the Israeli government policies are against international law, against human rights, against the dignity of the Palestinian people,” said Mairead Maguire who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 and will be returning to Gaza on the boats.
It is almost four months since the end of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ that saw approximately 1,400 Palestinians killed, 313 of them children,
the community of Gaza now has over 5,000 orphans to care for. Irishman John Ging from the United Nations explained
“there is no prospect of recovery or reconstruction until we can get access for construction materials. Until we can get the humanitarian assistance in, in an unfettered way, we can’t begin the process of recovery and Gazan mothers and fathers call, not for retaliation, but for protection and accountability because they’re concerned, not just for what has happened, but for what is coming.”
The people of Gaza need to rebuild their shattered lives and infrastructure, and Israel refuses to allow anything into the small enclave except for food and some medicine. The last delivery of cement was in November 08 which has left families living on the rubble of their homes with no hope of rebuilding their lives, their homes, schools, work places as long as Israel controls their borders.
Containers left Ireland with essentials and much needed medical supplies, they arrived in Egypt in February where they joined the stockpile of other donations from around the world, all held up by Egyptian authorities who invent new pretexts to keep the aid getting to families in Gaza. Treasa NiCheannabhain went to Egypt to prevent the authorities returning the aid to Ireland, they are reported to have dumped 250,000 tons of aid in the desert this week.
This is why it is so important to support and maintain the route from Cyprus to the port of Gaza that the Free Gaza Movement opened in August last year.
“The Palestinians don’t want hand-outs from the international community. They want their lives back. They want their human and civil rights. They have a great labor force wanting to rebuild their communities. They are perfectly capable of that if their borders, including the sea border, were open,” states Lubna Masarwa, delegation leader of this flotilla.
As our governments have failed to act, we – the citizens of the world – must stand up and make our voices heard.
Tour dates, will forward updates
Fri 22 - Galway - 2pm Meeting with muslim community
7.30pm Rowing Club – public meeting
10pm fundraiser Club Deburgos
Sat 23 - Galway - tba health/group meeting
7.30 pm Kila/media at ocean race
Sun 24 Limerick - pm Absolute Hotel – public meeting
Mon 25 Limerick group meeting travel to Cork
Mon Cork pm public meeting
Tue 26 Cork group meeting travel to Dublin
Tue Dublin public meeting
Wed 27 Dublin group meeting – press/media interviews
Sat 30 Derry
Sun 31 Derry/Belfast
Mon 1 Belfast
then she’s off to Cyprus to join boat convoy.
If anyone is interested in helping out with tour please contact Niamh Moloughney
Please watch the following video’s from my recent trip to Gaza. february 2009
The people of Gaza live in the worlds biggest open air prison, and with help from yourselves, we can help them break the siege, and try and live a normal life.
There’ an old saying, “The camera never lies”, so have a look at my footage, and make up your own minds.
On October 4th, another convoy of aid led by George Galloway, intends to lead a team from Ireland and beyond to break the siege on Gaza once more.
So, if you are interested, please get in touch with me.
This video is of the truck handover in Gaza. Afer 24 days on the road from Tyrone and Wales, covering 6,500 miles over 12 countries, we hand the truck over to the people of Gaza.
The Egyptians deny homeless people in Gaza blankets and clothes. I protest……..
The Destruction I witnessed in Gaza. Just horrible. The video says it all.
A photo slideshow of photos I took in Gaz
UTV Television interview from the Atlas Mountains in Algeria
We have secured a donation of 10 sailing dinghy`s for the sailing school we plan to set up in Gaza,
( see previous update).
We are still in need ( and running out of time) of life jackets and buoyancy aides, both adult and children’s sizes. If anyone can help with this, please get in touch via the blog or email@example.com
So, after last weeks tragedy the determination to get to gaza was dented but certainly not destroyed. The Irish will go to Gaza, and we will go in June. After the dignity`s tragic and sudden demise, and once broken hearts and in derek`s case, many bruises, began to heal, we are now already in the process of implementing plan B!!)not that we really had one, but it is amazing how quickly you find one when needed!!)
The FreeGaza Movement, and its wonderful supporters and donors, and of course, you, the ever trustworthy irishingaza supporters, are making it a little easier , thanks to your donations, to continue to set a pace for the hope fleet to make it to gaza in june.
One of the main objectives for Derek and I,once we get to gaza, is to help in the setting up and running of a sailing school for the younger generation in Gaza. We want to give them a chance to spend their days like many children around the world, doing something with their lives that does not involve politics, guns, violence or even fear. In our school they will be students, friends, colleagues and fellow palestinians regardless of religion or political views.
If there is any way in which you feel you may be able to help us in this goal, please contact us @ firstname.lastname@example.org
We, Derek and I, were woken at 7.15 a.m. this morning by a phone call informing us the DIGNITY was damaged in the marina in larnaca after heavy winds and seas in a storm in Cyprus last night. Derek immediately got in to the car and reached larnaca in record time, ( for legal reasons, he is claiming to have stayed within speeding limits!). When he reached the marina, he seen the DIGNITY was damaged on the starboard aft quarter. Already, there was a lot of activity around her and a tow boat was tied on ready to lead her to safety of larnaca port for further examination. He jumped aboard and started the generators and the bilge pumps as she was taking in water. Derek and h, (a fellow concerned boat owner at the marina,) pulled in the anchors and headed towards port.
Approximately, half way to the port, as they turned, the boat was getting hit on the starboard side by heavy seas which caused her to take on more water at a faster rate than the bilge pumps could handle.
The DIGNITY started to go down and Derek shouted at h to get ready to abandon ship. Derek launched the life raft , both men clambered in and headed towards the tow boat. Once, aboard the tow boat, all they could do was watch the DEMISE OF THE DIGNITY.
A clearly upset and wet derek rang me and said, ” all i could do was watch,. She was a strong boat, and fought hard. She did what was asked of her. As i watched she groaned and cried and struggled to stay afloat. With one last loud cry , the wheel house collapsed and the fly bridge broke from the main structure, then it went quiet”
Some debris and contents began to wash back to shore and marina by the strong waves. When derek got back to the marina he went to where she had been docked .
Amazingly, and truthfully, one of the first things to make it back to this spot was the Irish flag!!, apart from the Palestinians themselves, the Irish have had the most passengers on board the free gaza boats to Gaza, and i guess this was a thank you!!
So, with very very sad hearts we now need help. following is the FREE GAZA ANNOUNCEMENT regarding the sinking of the boat and a genuine plea for help. We are still determined to go to gaza in 4 weeks time, hopefully with your help we will purchase and overhaul another boat in time. Details of how to DONATE VIA FREE GAZA WEBSITE is in the following press release,
your support is badly needed right now, thank you,
AN URGENT APPEAL TO HELP BREAK THE SIEGE OF GAZA AN URGENT APPEAL TO HELP BREAK THE SIEGE OF GAZA Monday, 04 May 2009 15:47 Last Updated on Monday, 04 May 2009 16:12 Written by Free Gaza Movement
”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.” -H.E. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the UN General Assembly
We desperately need your help. It’s with heavy hearts that we have to inform you that the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, has been lost outside Larnaca port in Cyprus. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. On 30 December 2008 the DIGNITY was rammed by the Israeli navy while on a mission of mercy to deliver critically needed medical supplies and doctors to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. Thanks to the heroic efforts of its captain and crew, the DIGNITY was able to find safe harbor in Lebanon, later making its way to Cyprus for repairs. Early this morning we received a call from the Harbor Master in Larnaca, informing us that the ship was taking on water. While attempting to tow her to safety, the ship went down. An inquiry has begun into the circumstances surrounding her demise, possibly due to storm damage suffered during the night. All of us in Free Gaza are deeply saddened by the loss of the DIGNITY.
Since the Free Gaza Movement was founded in 2006 we have worked hard to overcome the siege of Gaza. Israeli policies of racism, ethnic cleansing and the brutal military occupation of Palestine demand our determined & direct resistance. When our governments fail to act, we – the citizens of the world – must stand up and make our voices heard. To date, the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven voyages to Palestine, successfully arriving in Gaza Port five times. We have brought dozens of human rights workers, journalists, parliamentarians, and others to Gaza, as well as tons of desperately needed medical and humanitarian supplies. Free Gaza boats are the first international ships to sail to the Gaza Strip since 1967. None of this would have been possible without you, our friends. Your emotional, political, and financial support is the foundation of all our successes.
We’re turning to you today, because we need your help now more than ever. Please visit our donate page for more information on how you can help ensure our continuing missions to Palestine. Please give generously. Despite our loss today, we will not be deterred. In one month we will return to Gaza with the HOPE FLEET, a flotilla of cargo and passengers ships carrying significant amounts of humanitarian and reconstruction aid.
Thanks to your support, we will go to Gaza again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the rest of the world. This is our solemn promise.
The interim Board of Directors for the Free Gaza Movement
PS: We’re suggesting a donation of €50, but please give what you can. Your contributions will go directly toward the purchase and overhaul of new ship that can break through the siege of Gaza and help connect Palestine with the rest of the world.
FREE GAZA VIDEO
You cannot sink our boats
Friday, 01 May 2009 13:03
In most of the world, May 1st is a day of international labor solidarity. It is a day of joy as workers picnic together with their families and celebrate the achievements of one of the most phenomenal movements of the 20th century.
It is fitting, then, that the Free Gaza Movement chooses May 1 to announce the launching of the HOPE FLEET TO GAZA. We are leaving on June 1 as an act of solidarity with the Palestinians, a people who have been massacred, terrorized and suffocated by the Israeli military.
We sail again to break Israel’s blockade of 1.5 million civilians, 80% unemployed because of Israel’s draconian siege. “I believe the Israeli government policies are against international law, against human rights, against the dignity of the Palestinian people,” said Mairead Maguire whose efforts for a peaceful solution to the violence in Northern Ireland earned her the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize. “And I feel grateful to be able to go again on one of these boats to visit the people of Gaza.”
The Free Gaza Movement will use the Free Gaza as the lead vessel in the flotilla. In August 2008, it was the first boat to dock in the Gaza port in 41 years. The movement intends to donate it to the fishermen who labor every day to make a living under the gunboats of Israel.
The Dignity will carry Mairead as well as two other high-profile passengers, 84-year-old Hedy Epstein, a holocaust survivor and Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia Congresswoman and candidate for U.S. President under the Green Party. McKinney was on the Dignity when it was rammed three times by the Israeli navy on December 30, 2008 when they tried to sink the small sturdy yacht.
“We cannot let Israel’s threats and aggression deter us. To do so would give in to violence and concede that might is stronger than right. To do so would turn our backs on our brothers and sisters in Gaza who have been waiting far too long for the international community to stand up to this injustice,” said Huwaida Arraf, one of the delegation leaders on the Hope Fleet.
Our boats are a part of a larger flotilla making its way to Gaza loaded with humanitarian aid and building supplies such as generators and electronic equipment for hospital emergency machines. The people of Gaza need cement and lumber and PVC to rebuild their shattered infrastructure, and Israel refuses to allow anything into the small enclave except for food and some medicine.
“The Palestinians don’t want hand-outs from the international community. They want their lives back. They want their human and civil rights. They have a great labor force wanting to rebuild their communities. They are perfectly capable of that if their borders, including the sea border, were open,” states Lubna Masarwa, another delegation leader of this flotilla and a passenger on board the rammed Dignity.