From Flotilla To Ark-Radio interview
Sandra Ruch is a veteran Canadian Boat to Gaza and Freedom Waves organiser. She explains Greta Berlin’s new book tour in Canada. The book Freedom Sailors: The Maiden Voyage of the Free Gaza movement and how we succeeded in spite of ourselves is about the first two boats that managed to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. She also introduces the new international project ‘Gaza’s Ark’ and why we still need to raise awareness about the situation in Gaza.
“Freedom Sailors is a much-needed account of how a small group of ordinary people conceived and executed what seemed like a grandiose and audacious plan to break Israel’s illegal military blockade of the Gaza Strip, a blockade that keeps more than 1.5 million people in an open-air prison. Knowing what we know now – that Israel Defense Forces would later murder nine people, including an unarmed American citizen, Furkan Dogan, executed at point-blank range during a later Freedom Flotilla – our chutzpah is astonishing.
In a little over two years, we raised the money to purchase two dilapidated fishing boats stored in secret ports in Greece, collected 44 passengers, crew and journalists, aged 22 to 81 and chose Cyprus as our embarkation point.
People who weren’t there or weren’t close to us may not realize just how isolated we were once we finally set sail to Gaza on the late morning of August 22, 2008; over 33 hours on the sea, no internet, and only a couple of satellite phones which were blocked by the Israelis after night set in.
That first voyage in 2008 achieved exactly what we hoped it would. We opened the door just a bit, proving it could be done. None of the later actions, by land or by sea, would have been possible or even attempted if we hadn’t climbed into two ramshackle boats with nothing but our determination and our naiveté holding us together.
Our story of how we came together, raised the necessary money, and pulled off the successful voyage, despite the prying eyes of Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, is often riveting.
More to the point, it helps us understand the importance of taking a stand when you see an injustice rather than becoming complicit through silence.
“Freedom Sailors is a powerful record of the political and humanitarian activity of some of the best humans we are ever likely to meet, or learn about. These women and men leave us with the most wonderful of questions: Is human courage and sacrifice the same as love? And is it this love for ourselves collectively, as humans, that has a chance of saving us and our planet? To read this book is to see what we can be like, in the face of imminent danger.”
~ Alice Walker, Earthling poet, writer and activist
“A riveting account of one of the great moments in the history of non-violent resistance: breaking the criminal and sadistic siege of Gaza, and letting the prisoners know that at least some in the outside world care about them and their grim fate. The Free Gaza flotillas are truly an inspiration.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Professor, MIT
Tiny URL for this post: