Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Gaza relief flotilla eyewitness report

CNN has broadcast an interview with a U.S. woman who was on one of the ships in the flotilla boarded with such lethal results by Israeli troops in the Mediterranean.

The speaker, Huwaida Arraf, was one of the Free Gaza Movement organizers of the flotilla.

[She] told CNN Israeli troops roughed her up when they responded aggressively to her ship, a smaller one in the flotilla that was near the Turkish vessel where the casualties occurred.

"They started coming after our ship," she told CNN, "so we took off and they charged us also. Eventually, they overtook our ship and they used concussion grenades, sound bombs and pellets."

She said the people on her ship tried to keep them off. She said they were told the vessel was American and the people aboard were unarmed.

But, she said "they started beating people. My head was smashed against the ground and they stepped on my head. They later cuffed me and put a bag over my head. They did that to everybody."

Unlike some number of people on the large Turkish ship, she came away intact. The 5 minute interview is very much worth listening to.
In the practice of non-violent action, people simply perform the act of justice which they believe they must do. Their opponents often respond with violence. It is an expected reality of nonviolent action that the casualties occur not among those with the weapons -- the enforcers of injustice, the bullies, the soldiers -- but among those seeking change. Violence is not pretty. It is messy. It creates confusion. To be on the wrong end of it is not romantic or heroic; harm happens and it is real. But the practice of nonviolence asserts that it is better that those who are doing justice should suffer than that the oppressors should suffer more.

Can nonviolent action work? Will the sacrifice of the lives of people on this flotilla help to relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza? That depends on those of us who weren't there. The world outside the United States and Israel comprehends that both international law and human compassion demand an end to Israel's punitive blockade. Can we bring this empire up to the level of common humanity? That's the moral question these events pose to people in the United States.


Tina said...


gives an interesting account of how "Much of the U.S. media coverage has been remarkably unskeptical of Israel's account of events and their context, and has paid little regard to international law."

janinsanfran said...

Here's a link to the report from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting that Tina refers to.

US media have been pretty bad, though I've often seen them even more intellectually dishonest. We don't do international law -- we're an empire after all.

This kind of essentially nonviolent action -- just trying to deliver the needed supplies! -- do make people think a bit, I hope.

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