I am very excited-and nervous- to set sail from Greece on June 25 headed for Gaza on a U.S. boat called The Audacity of Hope. I will be traveling with 50 Americans, including a CODEPINK contingent , as part of a 10-ship 1,000-person international flotilla determined to break the inhumane Israeli siege. Alice Walker, who is also a passenger, has called this voyage "the Freedom Ride of our time," harkening back 50 years to the bus riders who challenged U.S. segregation. See Alice's video.
If you would like to help this modern-day Freedom Ride, here is what you can do:
1. Tell the Israeli government not to attack the flotilla. Last year, Israeli commandos violently intercepted the flotilla in international waters, killing nine passengers and wounding scores. The Israeli military is once again preparing to attack unarmed civilians, including with snipers and dogs. Join us in telling the Israelis that the whole world will be watching, that they should let the flotilla sail to Gaza unimpeded and most importantly, that they must lift the siege.
2. Make a contribution. This is a tremendously complex and expensive campaign. Your financial support will help CODEPINK with travel costs, media work, outreach and other expenses associated with this massive undertaking.
3. Plan local flotilla support actions. If Israeli commandos intercept the Freedom Flotilla II, you can stand in solidarity with the flotilla by participating in local protests the day after the siege. Find events near you or post an event of your own. Learn more about the flotilla on the CODEPINK website and at www.ustogaza.org.
In the aftermath of last year's Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre, the international furor forced the Israelis to ease the blockade. And in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution, the new Egyptian government has eased travel restrictions on their border with Gaza. These developments are good, but not good enough. Vital building materials and other supplies are still banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied, and neither ships nor people can travel freely.
A new UN report shows a staggering 45% unemployment rate in Gaza and people living in abject poverty. UN refugee spokesman Chris Gunness said, "It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution."
When governments fail to hold other governments accountable, international citizens must step forward. UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called campaigns such as the flotilla "the only meaningful current challenge to Israel's violations."
Thank you for helping us step forward, setting our sights and sails on freedom.
With hope and audacity,
Medea, and flotilla passengers & CODEPINK activists Ann, Kit, Paki, and Ridgely
PS Thanks to all who supported Rae and the five other brave activists who disrupted Netanyahu last month. Rae and Chelsea are getting medical attention and continuing to heal and to receive ongoing support from people around the world for speaking out against Israeli war crimes. To find out about the latest AIPAC attempt to sabotage the flotilla via "lawfare", read onů