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Archive for October, 2012

Release: International concern for Jim Manly and the crew of the Estelle

for immediate release

Montreal, 20121021-11h45The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is concerned about the treatment of the Estelle crew by Israeli authorities.The Estelle was attacked by the IDF at 10AM local time on Saturday.

Eighteen hours later the crew had still to meet consular representatives or lawyers.  Circulating reports about the use of force and tasers during the attack on the Estelle increase our worries about the well-being of the crew members.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is also concerned about reports that Israeli crew members were transferred to Ashkelon prison and will face persecution.

“Despite the confirmed deportation of some of the crew members (from Greece and Italy) we are deeply concerned about the continuing detention of the others, including Jim Manly,” said Ehab Lotayef, noting Manly is a former Canadian MP (1980-88) and retired United Church Minister.

“We call on all governments to increase pressure on the Israeli government to ensure the Estelle crew are treated with dignity, that their rights as non-violent protesters be respected and that they all be released immediately,” said Lotayef.

-30-

For more information: 
Ehab Lotayef             514-941-9792
Sandra Ruch             416-716-4010
Nino Pagliccia

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50 Mosques, 17 Hospitals, 50 trucks , many organisations, all of Gaza strip, 500,000 Bottles, ……… and 3 very tired but content volunteers……………..By now, most of you know the Waqaf water 4 Gaza project (http://wp.me/psaGo-IN)  and now it’s finally completed……..at least Phase one !!!!

Below you will find a list of many different organisations we delivered to  but right now, we want to tell you about Friday’s……..Fridays were special !!

Fridays were our chance to forget quota’s, lists, even Organisations, On Fridays we had the opportunity to get right to the heart of Gaza, to the people of Gaza. The Yazegi group, (the factory producing the bottles), would donate their own truck to us, many of the employee’s of the plant gave up their Friday afternoons to us and we would load up the truck and drive to the border areas or the areas most in need in Gaza, from Rafah in the South to Beit Hanoun in the North and many places in between. Here , we would arrive, unannounced , drive down the sand roads and stop our truck. If no one was around , we would knock on doors to hand in cartons of water but inevitably , within minutes, we were surrounded by children, many many children all scrambling to get a carton, some hardly able to carry them, resorting to opening the cartons to carry one or two bottles at a time……..running home to drop of what they have and running twice as fast to catch up with us to grab more…..Sometimes, the younger ones faces were full of disappointment when they realized out green bottles were “just water” and not 7 UP…!!!!

Men and women were full of gratitude to receive their cartons, inviting us to share in the little they had as a means of thank you. The humbleness and hospitality of the  many Palestinian people , especially those who have very little, will always be one of my outstanding memories of Gaza, no matter how long i will stay here………One elderly lady, probably looking older than her years,  invited me in to her house, Her house is a one room galvanised shack on a sand floor,  her kitchen consisted of a gas barrel and a plastic basin, she had 3 grandchildren she has to provide for, and yet , she insisted I sit with her, open one of the water bottles and share it with her…. In other area’s, the Northern areas, members of a local Initiative group, local Palestinian youth, would freely accompany us in the Friday deliveries, passing out water with respect and dignity to fellow Palestinians who are sometimes forgotten , who live so close to the borders that they are basically the “front line”, whose homes and  livestock  are regularly targeted , destroyed or bulldozed, and who have  little or no access to services…….. For many of the deliveries, trucks could not even access the areas and sometimes tuck tucks or donkey’s  had to be used

For us, It was an honour to meet speak to and share something with the people of Gaza. The Waqaf water 4 Gaza projet allowed us the opportunity to travel all 5 area’s of Gaza by truck, to work with Palestinians in solidarity with all aspects of the Community, Muslim, Christian, men , women and Children, to visit the children in the orphanage, the children’s centre’s, the handicapped association, cerebral Palsy association and many many more. Promises were made , and will be kept, to return to visit and spend more time with many of the organisations, It was a chance to highlight the barbaric siege on Gaza and its effect on the water situation in Gaza and a chance to work alongside some very committed and wonderful people. We will never be able to thank all of these people but some we must give special mention to on behalf of ourselves and Perdana Global Peace foundation.

To Yazegi group for working so diligently with us, their employees for giving up their time freely to help in our distributions,( especially Rajab ).

To Sabr and the Local Initiative group, Beit Hanoun, for all their help in the deliveris in the Northern area’s.

And huge thanks and Appreciation goes to Hussien Amody, for so much . His amazing photography, his translations, his help with Official Departments, for just being there whenever we needed him, sometimes up to 16 hours a day. This project could not have run as smoothly as it did without him and we will always be Grateful for his help, his professionalism and his commitment.

Recipients for Water:

Islamic Society , Jabalia
Al Amal Orphanage
Al Qattan centre for the child
Rachel Corrie Children’s Centre
Cerebral Palsy Children’s Institute
Refugee Association, Al Maghazy Camp
Womens organisation, Beach Camp
Society for the care of the Handicapped
Debra Association, (epidermolysis Bullosa)
C.P. D. S
Charitable Yarmook Institution, ( Mohammed Radwan)
International Orthodox Christian Charity
Holy family Catholic Church
Bedouin Area , North Gaza
Refugee Camps
Some Smaller organisations who collected small amounts of pallets to distribute themselves.

Perdana Global Peace foundation will continue , as will we, to work in solidarity with the people of Palestine, until all barriers, Physical and Political are broken and until the simplest, purest but most vital resource, WATER, is not a luxury or a donation but a  basic human right enjoyed by the Palestinians, AS IS THEIR RIGHT AND THE RIGHT OF EVERY SINGLE PERSON N THE PLANET.

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Meeting Estelle
Friend and fellow Activist, Sabine, visited Italy this week and went to give her support and Solidarity to the ” Estelle” The  ship to Gaza….. …………..
Thank you, Shukran,  Sabine………….
Pure and overwhelming emotions, while I was walking along Molo Italia
 (Italy Mole) in La Spezia
port, at the very end of which the Estelle is anchored!
And what a great lady she is! The flag with the Freedom Flotilla III
 logo fluttering high up on the
rear mast, she could be be spotted from far away, so everybody
 started shouting and pointing in
her direction excitedly.
We had set out by bus from Milan early morning yesterday together
 with some 30 Italian activists
we were all wondering what it would be like to meet the Estelle
 and their crew. So in order to keep
our excitement at bay a little bit we prepared a solidarity “banner”,
 attaching to it stickers, Vik’s
photo, some handmade items just for this purpose, and in my
 case a small German flag . As I would
supposedly be the only German participating I had brought the flag
with me to show our solidarity!
While approaching the Estelle I fell silent inward and out,
 and I started in an almost awestruck
way to admire this beautiful sailing ship. Her three masts seemed to be scratching the low-hanging
dark clouds, as if to say “Heaven, have a heart and bring out the sun!”
, however the dark sky made
for a perfect canvas for the colourful flags and banners
she is adorned with. Vik’s picture is there,
as well as banners for the occasion and of course,
 the Palestinian flag in various sizes!
A band was playing on the pier, but soon they were invited onboard
 and they continued playing
from the deck which made a fine stage for all of us to get a good look!
 Cameras and mobiles keep
clicking, and the wonderful fun crew of the Estelle
 ”posing” for us and joking along!
Then the ship tours start, for security and space reasons only
 small groups are taken in at a time.
When it was finally my turn to board,
I almost felt like touching holy (shaking) ground! Alberto
Mari, Italian temp crew member, told us about Estelle’s history and
 showed us around the tiny
kitchen (galley??), social and cargo areas and the stern,
 and explained to us a few things about
sailing. Moving about the ship we received shouts like
”whatch your heads” and ”watch the stairs”,
while we were concentrating exactly on ducking low at the right
moment and trying not to stumble
over ropes and up or down the steep,
 narrow and sometimes slippery stairs!
Dror later on in the evening explained that, when they started planning
 this trip, at first it was
”Ship 2 Gaza Sweden” with all the Swedish people supporting
 and getting involved, also financially.
As the Estelle then was progressing through many European countries
 it became ”Ship 2 Gaza” due
to all the rising International solidarity in all the various ports
 and cities.
”We are aware of the tremendous risks of this journey,
 but if we get stopped this time, we will
send more ships, again and again and again,
until the siege on Gaza will be lifted definitely and
terminally!
 And then we will send even more ships in order to establish
a trade route to Gaza!”
Dror finally quotes Che Guevara as the motto of
 this year’s Freedom Flotilla: ”Let’s be realistic,
but
let’s try the impossible!”
Gaza, here we come!!!
Dedicated to Vittorio, Dror, Jenny and Derek,
and all other past, present and future Freedom
Sailors, which ever means of travel
 they (we) will be chosing!
Our hopes, dreams, love and solidarity
 go with you:
BON VOYAGE ESTELLE!
Sabine Utopia – Sept 30, 2012
Pictures by sabine……….

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