Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 5

THERE'S an idiom which says 'it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good'.

Frankly, I've never really understood it and so I checked out its origins this morning and to my surprise it is something people say which means most bad things that happen have a good result for someone.

Well, as you can guess, if I am using my day looking up the origins of old sayings then I must have a lot of time on my hands. It's true. I am still a land lubber and a very frustrated one at that.

Basically the reason for my dry dock situation is that strong winds have scuppered the current schedule of the Free Gaza Campaign which plans to sail two boats into Gaza thus breaking Israel's medieval siege.

I'm stuck on an extremely picturesque Greek island with film-maker Aki Nawaz waiting for one of our boats to come in, and now we are becoming increasingly frustrated.

By joining the boat ahead of Cyprus we felt it would add to the content of the documentary we are hoping to shoot for Press TV.

Having written out our Next-Of-Kin forms, spent days training for all the "What If" scenarios in Cyprus then making a dash, at breakneck speed to the airport for our secret destination, I feel a bit deflated.

I can only imagine how my fellow travellers must feel in their steaming hot bunker in Cyprus which has all the charm of a cement factory.

Actually they had a break out yesterday and you can see from the attached pictures that Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein proved that she can swim as good as the rest of us at the grand old age of 83.
Meanwhile I am assured that the two boats Free Gaza and Liberty are in the water, making their way first to pick up Aki and myself and then full steam ahead to Cyprus.

From there we are going to be full throttle for Gaza, insh'Allah as we Muslims say.

So it seems we are behind schedule by a couple of days because of high winds - hence the ill wind idiom.

Actually, on reflection, I should be ashamed of myself for huffing and puffing about the delay ... after all, this is part and parcel of the daily lives of the good people of Gaza. Palestinians on the Strip as well as the West Bank have learned to be patient when it comes to going out and about doing things we often take for granted.

For instance, did you know that scores of Palestinian babies are born at Israeli checkpoints as those charmless individuals dressed in the Zionist Army uniform hold ambulances back in spite of sirens and flashing lights.
I know. I actually witnessed such an incident at a checkpoint near Nablus. I even tried to reason with a schmuck with the gun - an Argentinian (what the hell was he doing in an IDF uniform?) - who stood there totally oblivious to the fact a woman was about to give birth. What a heartless, nasty little piece of work he was.

I'm sure had his mother known what he was doing she would have given him a good slap ... he looked barely old enough to be out of nappies himself.

That checkpoint in the West Bank I remember very well because our delegation was kept waiting for more than two hours even though we had two British Lords and several MPs on board as well as a consular official from the British Embassy standing by.

As we eventually were allowed to continue our journey I noted the ambulance, lights still flashing, remained in a lay by and I often wondered what happened to mother and baby. Did they survive?
And then there's the Palestinian children - their school run is nothing like the one for our children in the free world. These kids are often held up at checkpoints all day and when they do move they run like hell because they have been used for target practice by the thugs who represent the fourth largest army in the world - an army which openly uses live rounds when firing upon women and children. Shopping, going to work, socialising, visiting relatives - they are all simple acts taken for granted by those of us whose lands aren't occupied, but for Palestinians each day is a challenge.So I am going to quit moaning and try and adopt the same patience that our brothers and sisters in Palestine have learned to live with every day of their lives. Our peace boats were intended to sail on the 5th but they are still on their way. Please keep monitoring this website which is carrying my daily blog - and there's also a Face Book group on the Free Gaza Campaign as well as a website.

Meanwhile I'm told the Zionist State is also cranking up its campaign to stop our boats sailing in to Gaza. They do not want it to happen at all which is why, if you have a boat in the region, jump in it now and head for Larnaca.

We can meet up in the next day or so and ALL sail in to Gaza ... the more the merrier. Let's create a flotilla of peace because if there's anything Israel can't handle it is PEACE.
God grant me the patience of a Palestinian.

Yvonne Ridley

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