Tag Archives: Humanitarian Aid


Editor Eileen R. Tabios included one of my poems from Sound Before Water in the anthology VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA. The anthology is for a worthy cause so I urge readers of poetry to consider supporting this effort.


from The Free Gaza Movement

30 June 2009

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] – Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of “Cast Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone” said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: “No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”

Arraf continued, “Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release.”

Is a Convoy of Over 100 Vehicles Easy to Miss?

On Valentine’s Day a convoy of over 100 vehicles set off from the UK.  Destination: Gaza.  Here is something from Respect, one of the organizers:


In an extraordinary and unprecedented spectacle, 102 vehicles gathered in Hyde Park at noon on Saturday before setting off with aid supplies to Gaza. The convoy included 18 ambulances, a fire engine, a boat and two buses.

The convoy was given a rousing send off by veteran politician Tony Benn and by George Galloway who will be joining the convoy today.

The total aid on the convoy is estimated at over a million pounds. Last night they were given a civic reception in Bordeaux. Today they travel to a rally in San Sebastian before going on to a rock concert for Gaza in Madrid.

They will then cross to Morocco via Tarifa and then travel across North Africa through Algeria and Libya before entering Egypt. Many more supporters from Britain are travelling out to join the convoy in Cairo around 6th March. The convoy will then head on to Gaza.


Will mainstream media cover this at all?  Sounds like a party I would love.  I have never seen Europe or North Africa.  A road trip with a cause.  Not bad at all.

Now how will the Israeli spin doctors deal with this media headache?