The next US boat to break the siege of Gaza is named, appropriately, the ‘Audacity of Hope.’ after Obama’s book. Its purpose, obviously, is to remind us of Obama’s backtracking on the cause of the Palestinian people for freedom and self-determination, and ending the brutal siege of Gaza. But it also reminds us of US government complicity in the continuation of Israel’s occupation, colonization of Palestinian lands, and the siege, as well as Obama’s total capitulation to the will of Israel’s right wing PM, Netanyahu and his Likud agenda. Who is not embarrassed by seeing our nation taken over by a foreign government and its agents in the US.
The Press Conference shown above (video) at the start of the U.S. Boat to Gaza fund raising evening on New York City’s Harbor and rivers on August 5th, 2010 fills in the blanks as well.
Chris Hedges talked at the New York City fundraiser, which was covered in an Alternet article entitled, It’s Israeli Officials Who Are Terrorists, because ‘those who send tanks and fighter jets to bomb the concrete hovels in Gaza with families crouching, helpless, inside — they are the terrorists.’ Hedges provided an interesting glossary for understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is instructive:
Let me call things by their proper names. Let me cut through the jargon, the euphemisms we use to mask human suffering and war crimes. “Closures” mean heavily armed soldiers who ring Palestinian ghettos, deny those trapped inside food or basic amenities–including toys, razors, chocolate, fishing rods and musical instruments–and carry out a brutal policy of collective punishment, which is a crime under international law. “Disputed land” means land stolen from the Palestinians. “Clashes” mean, almost always, the killing or wounding of unarmed Palestinians, including children. “Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank” mean fortress-like compounds that serve as military outposts in the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. “Targeted assassinations” mean extrajudicial murder. “Air strikes on militant bomb-making posts” mean the dropping of huge iron fragmentation bombs from fighter jets on densely crowded neighborhoods that always leaves scores of dead and wounded, whose only contact with a bomb was the one manufactured in the United States and given to the Israeli Air Force as part of our complicity in the occupation. “The peace process” means the cynical, one-way route to the crushing of the Palestinians as a people.
(Read the rest of Chris Hedges moving speech at the link.)
Phil Weiss (via Mondoweiss) earlier provided some background on the “Audacity of Hope” boat:
A group of Americans opposed to Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is raising money online to pay for a ship from the United States to take part in a new protest flotilla scheduled to set sail for the Palestinian territory in September or October.
In an appeal for money posted on the Web site UStoGaza.org, the activists say they are “planning to launch a U.S. boat to Gaza, joining a flotilla of ships from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East.“
The evolved Times ledeblog has covered it, and so the cruise is almost sold out, 400 passengers. Look at the list of people who are behind the US boat: Phyllis Bennis, Leslie Cagan, the Corries, Russell Banks, Anna Baltzer, Rashid Khalidi, Donna Nevel, Felice Gelman, Michael Ratner, Michael Smith, Judy Walker, Alice Walker, Noor Elashi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Iara Lee. Good people…..There are rumors that Iker Casillas, the amazing Spanish goalie who reportedly expressed outrage over the siege even in the midst of the Spanish victory, and Rafael Nadal (currently No.1 ranked tennis player), will also be on that flotilla.
(Other links and information in the full article.)
How is life in Gaza for children? This video Where-should-birds-fly??????, tells the story:
A young girl sits among the rubble of her family home. She talks of the many people she knows who have been killed. When asked if she lost many family members she says: “Not many. Just my mother, my father and my brother.” Mona is 10 years old.
Omar stands before the rubble of the house he began building on the day his first son was born. Over the next twelve years he painstakingly added brick upon brick, wiring, plumbing, a new room, another floor. A fine house for his growing family, filled with precious mementos, well-kept furniture, wall hangings, children’s toys, all the necessary silver and flatware for daily meals and special dinners. Twelve years to the day of his son’s birth the bulldozers plowed into his home, destroying his family’s shelter, possessions and security. As the camera attempts to record the effect of this devastation, to read his emotions, he raises his hands gently: “What are we supposed to do now?”
Here is a note from Laurie Arbeiter on the importance of the US boat to Gaza, and below that, an appeal from the organizers:
First I think that it is important to note that the name of the boat, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, has captured the imagination of people all over the country because the phrase succeeds in expressing the political will and collective desire to challenge the U.S./Israeli alliance… In order to challenge such a stronghold on power held by governments that have this much military might it requires audacious nonviolent acts such as the freedom flotilla sailing to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.
It requires us to face the facts of the blockade head-on, placing ourselves in the presence of an illegal criminal regime, asking ourselves to have the courage to face a condition constantly being faced by the Palestinian people living under occupation and siege.
Gaza is an open-air prison, without a doubt, when you consider that the definition of a prison camp is a place where people and goods cannot go or come without the say so of the guards — in this case Israel. One can argue whether the guards are nice guards or mean guards — or the prisoners well treated or poorly treated. But there can be no argument that Gaza is a prison for 1.5 million people who are being collectively punished. The mission of the flotillas is to sail to the walls of the prison and demand that they be taken down.
Also the U.S. government has sent and continues to send boats to that region carrying aid, only it is military aid. This will be a U.S. boat carrying a U.S. delegation with the message that the U.S. government has treaty obligations to obey universal human rights and international law and therefore it must stop all military aid to Israel, a country whose government has abused power and committed war crimes.
And here is an excerpt of the appeal:
This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege…
We are planning to launch a U.S. boat to Gaza, joining a flotilla of ships from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East due to set sail in September/October of this year. In order to succeed in this essential but costly human rights project, we need significant financial support.
Citizens around the world have responded to the plight of the Palestinian people and are taking action to help break the blockade which is suffocating the lives of the people of Gaza and denying them their liberty. The U.S. government is complicit through established policies that uncritically support Israel in its brutal attack on the Palestinian people and on those who attempt to intervene on their behalf. We in the United States must continue to step up and do our part. We must join with others from across the world to support an end to the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.
We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month. These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation.
Impressed. Well, there goes another hundred, every dime worth it. Join the peace movement in any way you can.
This is everyday stuff we don’t hear about in the US.