Writers from http://wearenotnumbers.org explain the importance of the sea to every Palestinian from Gaza, and why the flotillas are an important source of hope even if they don’t make it.
The Amal-Hope II, which remained in Messina when the Zaytouna-Oliva left the port of Messina last Tuesday, will not be able to join the journey to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.
According to Gerd von der Lippe, an athlete and professor from Norway who was supposed to participate on the Amal-Hope II: “We are all terribly disappointed that we won’t have an opportunity to meet our Palestinian sisters in Gaza in person this year. But now we must put all our energy towards ensuring that Zaytouna-Oliva is successful in breaking this illegal
blockade. We really need global citizens of goodwill to contact their governments urging them to demand safe passage for that boat.”
Following the breakdown of the first Amal-Hope in Barcelona, we were purchased and brought a replacement boat to Messina. It was ready to sail, and in fact sailed from Messina to Palermo over the weekend, but the delays meant that the crew we had lined up for the last part of the voyage were no longer available. Eva Manly, a retired documentary maker from Canada, who was also due to be on Amal-Hope II, agrees: “It was a Herculean task to get Amal-Hope II this far, but we just weren’t able to make it happen in time.”
In addition to Manly and von der Lippe, the women that were scheduled to be aboard the Amal-Hope II, included Zohar Chamberlain-Regev (Israel-Germany), Wendy Goldsmith (Canada), Ellen Huttu-Hansson (Sweden), Naomi Wallace (US), Cigdem Topcuoglu (Turkey), Orly Noy (Israel) Jaldía Abubakra (Spain), Sofia Kanavle (US), Siri Nylen (Sweden) and Maite Mompó (Spain).
The Zaytouna-Oliva continues to make good progress through the Mediterranean Sea and is on course to arrive in the port of Gaza later this week.
Contact person: Ellen Huttu Hansson, +46 722 883 213
Mediterranean Sea, International Waters, North West of Palestine. Zaytouna-Oliva is continuing as planned on her route to Gaza, Palestine, where our sisters and brothers are preparing for her arrival.
Participants aboard the boat are busy conducting interviews with media outlets to further increase awareness of their trip and the illegal blockade. According to Mairead Maguire, who was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize: “We sail to Gaza, a 7-day, l,000 mile journey, because our love for all the suffering children is as deep as the Mediterranean Sea on which we sail … As in Gaza, so too around our world millions of children are suffering because of government policies of militarism and war and violence of armed struggles, etc. and this cycle of escalating violence must be broken, lest it spin out of control and cause final disaster for the human family… it is not too late, we can turn around from war to peace, from foes to friendship, from hate to forgiveness and love, it is a choice. We are powerful each in our own way. We can, when we believe passionately in love, change to a non-killing, non-violent world.
Why do I believe such a world is possible? Because on this little boat, rocking gently under the sails, I feel loved and can only be in awe of the beauty of nature, and the magnificence and beauty of the human spirit in the women, with whom I can say, show love in their eyes and actions…”
Mediterranean Sea south of Crete (Greece): During a storm a few nights ago, part of the rigging on the Zaytouna-Oliva was damaged by heavy winds. Although the damage was minor and she continued to make good progress for the last few days under motor towards the Greek island of Crete, she still needed her rigging fixed in order to continue the mission.
This morning our friends from Ship to Gaza Greece sent a repair boat which brought a skilled rigging specialist to repair the damage, as well as bringing more fuel and supplies.
According to Madeleine Habib, skipper of Zaytouna-Oliva: “the professionalism of rigger and team that came on board was great. It really meant so much to us! In addition to fuel and other supplies, the boat brought the women Greek desserts, solidarity and friendship.” Zohar Chamberlain Regev, coordinator of the Women’s Boat to Gaza who worked closely with women from Ship to Gaza Greece to arrange the needed repairs, adds: “This immediate response to our boat’s needs is just another example of how much solidarity there is around the world to help break the blockade of Gaza. While there are no Greek women on the boats, their campaign’s concrete solidarity has helped us on this international mission in a vital way.”
The Zaytouna-Oliva is now continuing on her way to break the illega blockade of Gaza, with many thanks to the solidarity and friendship from Greece! She is scheduled to reach the shores of Gaza later this week.
Media contact person: Ellen Huttu Hansson. Phone: +46 722 883 213
Photo credit: Kia Ora Gaza (New Zealand/ Aotearoa).
The following is a compilation from the Captain, crew and participants on the boat.
Wednesday, September 28
We had heavy showers and several women are seasick. There were not many takers of the cous cous salad we had for lunch. But our discomfort at sea pales in comparison to the people of Palestine.
Thursday, September 29
Today has been easier and we are enjoying calm conditions. We are sitting together enjoying the noon sunshine. It is nice to see everyone smiling and finding their sealegs. Women are singing “I am sailing to be near to you”.
Mairead Maguire Nobel Peace Prize winner explains why she joined the women's boat to Gaza. The goals of this mission is to highlight the devastating effects of the brutal blockade of the Palestinian people living in Gaza.
As reported yesterday, the Zaytouna-Oliva has departed Messina with its course set for Gaza. Difficult weather conditions last night caused damage to her rigging. All on board are ok and she continues her course under engine power. Presently, we are considering our options for repair. We want everyone to know that the safety and well-being of all those on board remain our priorities.