Wednesday, July 06, 2011
No hope left for Audacity of Hope mission to Gaza
by Larry Geller
Unfortunately, the delays and obstruction imposed by Greece have taken their toll and the passengers on the Audacity of Hope are departing for home, according to this report (please read the entire article):
The presence of the U.S. Boat to Gaza in Athens is winding down. For more than 2 weeks the 37 passengers (someone was added at the last moment), 4 crew members and about 12 people in the support team there worked hard to make sure our boat – The Audacity of Hope – could sail as part of the international Freedom Flotilla 2 to Gaza. The Greek government’s willingness to serve as the enforcer of Israeli’s naval blockade of Gaza made it impossible for this journey to happen.
Last night our group’s activities in Athens ended and here’s a description from one of our people there: “We all went to Syntagma Square which looks much like Tahrir where there is an encampment and thousands of people gather each night. On Sundays there may be upwards of 50,000 and on big nights hundreds of thousands. We unfurled to drum beats 22 flags sewn together representing the countries participating in the Flotilla. Our black and white signs were in Greek, Arabic and English. It was a beautiful sight. Then we marched to the Spanish Embassy where our Spanish partners were occupying its embassy demanding the release of their boat. We arrived at about 9 pm with drummers leading the way. They came out on balconies and we sang to each other. It was quite the sight.”
Now our folks are beginning the journey home – some will arrive today, some tomorrow and others in the days ahead. Everyone is tired, but their energy is strong! They will share their stories and talk about their experiences in communities everywhere. And they will use this incredible time they shared in Athens as a spring board for further activism and organizing.
[ustogaza.org, July 6th Update from the U.S. Boat to Gaza, 7/6/2011]
Meanwhile, the French boat still moves toward Gaza—or rather, to an inevitable confrontation with Israeli commandos:
A French boat carrying 8 people as part of the Freedom Flotilla to the Gaza strip has left Greek waters, defying a ban imposed by Greece under heavy pressure from Israel and the United States. The small boat is the first to elude Greek authorities after two ships were stopped since Friday.
[Democracy Now, Audacity of Hope: Inside Report Aboard U.S. Ship’s Dramatic Challenge to Greek Ban on Gaza Flotilla,7/6/2011]
Update: 7/7/2011 Democracy Now confirms that the Greeks have also nabbed the French boat.