Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 28

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Gaza blog as much as I have writing it and sharing with you the amazing experience of me and my fellow passengers who took part in the historic free Gaza Movement.

However, this is not the end but just a beginning of smashing the medieval Israeli-led siege which has enveloped the good people of Gaza.

When our two boats The Liberty and Free Gaza sail from this tiny Palestinian port in a few hours time we plan to keep the channel between Gaza and Cyprus open.

I am told that leaving Gaza may prove to be slightly more tricky than arriving ... the psychological warfare between us and Israel has begun already and last night the Zionist State's naval gun boats sailed into our view off the Gazan coast.

We are told there will be missile testing.

When will Israel realise this peace mission is NOT about them and never was!
I have made many friends in Gaza and I intend to return soon.

As I reflect over the last amazing week there are highlights which will remain with me forever like the moment we sailed into the harbour to be given a euphoric greeting by the besieged Palestinians.

And, just a couple of days ago I had the privilege of meeting Ismael Haniyeh, the Prime Minister, who handed me a gold medal marking our historic voyage ... eat your heart out Beijing!
He really made me feel like an Olympian but of course the real heroes in all of this are not the 'boat people' from the Free Gaza Movement.

The real heroes are the people of Gaza who rise to the challenge of surviving the brutal siege which intrudes on their lives daily. For them, every day is an act of resistance and defiance.
Despite this blockade and collective punishment the morale of the Palestinians in incredibly high and I have to say Hamas has managed to turn Gaza into one of the safest cities in the world.
Crime is down by 80 per cent since Hamas took control. Perhaps the mayors of New York and London should invite their Gazan counterpart over to ask him the secret.

I walked around Gaza freely, spoke openly, had brutally frank political discussions with Gazans in rallies, on the beach, in the soul ... I can't enjoy that sort of freedom of speech in any other Arab country.

Ramadan is approaching soon and to the people of Gaza may I say an early Ramadan Mabrook ... you will forever be in my prayers and in my heart.

See you soon, insh'allah.

May be it is about time we re-opened Gaza airport and smashed the Israeli air blockade as well ... now there's an idea!