Tag Archives: Estelle crew profiles
Freedom Flotilla Italy, 17 October 2012
Marco Ramazzotti Stockel – 65, Italian, is married and has two children. His second surname is very important for him: “Write it, please, so they understand I am Jewish and that if I fight against the occupation it is for the Jews themselves, because the occupation harms them and not only the Palestinians”.
“I grew up in a Muslim country. I have lived and worked in twelve Muslim countries. The Muslim world is close to my heart. Arab people are my brothers. It is unconceivable for me that a Jew could ever imagine that her or his safety – from persecution, Shoah, pogroms – could ever come from using violence against another people. The Palestinian people are victims of violence”.
Marco Ramazzotti has over 35 years of experience in development aid, as a legal anthropologist and socio-economist, and project manager and NGO representative. He has worked in twenty-six developing countries for Italian and international NGOs, international consulting companies, the EU and several UN agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP), and Italian Development Cooperation. He has been advisor to an African government and, most recently, has organised and taught in security courses for NGOs, religious missions and companies working abroad. He holds a degree in international law and is a Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge, UK.
“Israel follows only the rules made by itself, it does not respect international law, nor does it abide by international moral standards, because it has imposed upon the Palestinians a regime of apartheid” – Marco says – “So other Jews need to say: ‘Government of Israel, you have undertaken a political course of action that is extremely dangerous (…….) but if we struggle and try to work with the Arabs, with Muslims, we will in fact be protecting and defending the Jewish people – we protect them because we remember, as Jews, that we also have been persecuted. The only way we can prevent persecution is to extend our hand to our enemy: it will not be weapons that protect us’.
He has a political past in the Italian Communist Party and was a member of the major Italian trade union, CGIL. Since the year 2000, he has been a member of ECO (Ebrei contro l’Ocupazione, Jews against Occupation) and of EJSP, European Jews for a Just Peace. He joined the Freedom Flottilla for Gaza in Athens in 2010, with the French group.
A life of diverse interests and a life-long commitment to fighting poverty and under-development, an unswerving dedication to justice and peace.
“As a Jew, it is my dream to go to Gaza to testify that we are brothers, and that Israel needs to find other means – which are not military means – to solve the conflict between the two people”.
Marco represents Italy on board the Estelle, Freedom Flotilla, en route for Gaza.
Video interview recorded before departure http://youtu.be/E3ZF0o4mY1g
Who sails with Estelle to Gaza to end the blockade?
Passenger 3: Nils Johan Sjøstrøm
Nils Johan Sjøstrøm, a 49-year old from Oslo, is travelling with Ship to Gaza because he wants the people in Gaza to know that they are not forgotten by the world. His desire is to be part of an emerging, global and human solidarity: “the spirit”. If states and politicians are prepared to close their eyes before immense injustices like those the Palestinians are exposed to, and to bury oppression in silence, then people from different countries will unite to protest and to break the silence. The global activism is colored by a solidarity that is stronger from people to people than between the people and the politicians who decline to act.
The work as a stunt chef is one of Nils’ many occupations. It means that he cooks for lots of people under very varying conditions, from three times sixty-five dinners to a snobbish think tank to a late supper for the group Pain Solution in Oslo. On board Estelle he has prepared food in full storm. He has worked as a journalist in the radio, in TV and in newspapers, has previously run a shop for T-shirt prints and lived in San Francisco and Nicaragua. And during all this time he has also always been working as a volunteer.
Who sails with Estelle to Gaza to end the blockade?
Passenger II: Johan Uddebrant, Sweden
Johan Uddebrant is one of the nine professional sailors working as volunteers on Estelle during its journey to Gaza. They all offer their professional knowledge in solidarity with the Palestinians. Estelle is no passenger ship, and we who lack this type of knowledge are all working as apprentices with The Nine.
Johan, 31 years, has no history of activism, nor has he been particularly interested in politics. He is a engine driver and ship repairer, and has been sailing all kinds of ships in European waters. He knows of the situation on the Gaza strip and finds it horrible, but had never really tried to see what he could do about it. Then his friend Joel Opperdoes, senior helmsman on Estelle, asked him if he could think of joining. A professional in machine engineering and repair would be a very important addition to the crew. John did not take long to make up his mind.
“In fact, I have always wanted to do something really meaningful, but I haven’t found out how to begin. What organization could I join in order to contribute to make the world a little better? When Joel came and asked me, I felt that now is the time.”
Who is sailing with the Estelle to Gaza to end the blockade?
Passenger 1: Elik Elhanan, Israel
Elik Elhanan, Tel Aviv, Israel, is one of the passengers on board the Estelle on its last lap toward Gaza. He belongs to a well-known Israeli family whose forefathers emigrated to Palestine in the 1920s. His great-grandfather was the first Israeli ambassador to Sweden . His grandfather, Matti Peled, a general, was the first military person of high standing to oppose the 1972 occupation, and he formed peace groups with the Palestinians. He later retired from the army and devoted his time to writing a PhD in Arabic literature.
Erik is 35 years old now. When he was young he was a punk rocker. In 1995 he joined the Israeli army and became a paratrooper, over time advancing to become a member of an elite formation.