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Report on Public Meeting – 11 September, London, England

Last night more than 60 people packed into the P21 Gallery in central London to welcome home two of the heroes of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza who returned last month after being illegally arrested by the Israeli occupation.

The meeting was organised by the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza (ICBSG) in cooperation with Europal Forum and the Palestinians Forum in Britain (PFB).

Zaher Birawi, Chairman of Europal Forum welcomed people to the event and contextualised the flotilla as an integral part of the Palestinian people in Gaza who daily resist the illegal Israeli blockade. He added that the occupation state of Israel may have prevented the heroes from completing their journey to Gaza, but it is unable to prevent their messages from reaching the people of Gaza as well as Palestinians and other people across the world.

James Godfrey then spoke on behalf of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition and ICBSG and gave an introduction to some of the recent attempts to challenge the maritime blockade and a brief video summary of this year’s mission.

Richard Sudan spoke about some of his experiences as they sailed from Sicily towards Gaza via Greek and Egyptian waters and some of their encounters with the authorities on the way. He told the meeting about the disproportionate attack that the Israeli Occupation Forces mounted against ‘Freedom’ the Swedish-flagged yacht on which he was sailing and then described some of the unruly and racist conduct of the Israeli authorities and how he and other participants drew upon their strengths and values to resist attempts to dehumanise them in various ways whilst they were illegally detained.

Dr Swee Ang talked about the Israeli military’s attack on the ‘Al Awda’ (The Return), the Norwegian-flagged fishing boat. She spoke of some of the violence that was inflicted upon fellow participants who were engaging in non-violent resistance in international waters against masked men who illegally boarded the boat. Dr Swee proceeded to explain her involvement in the struggle for the rights of Palestinian people and particular the ending of the blockade. She talked about her medical background and how she treated patients injured after the 7/7 bombings in London. She then showed pictures of some of the beauty and life in Gaza and contrasted this with many graphic images of atrocities in Gaza as well as in the refugee camps in Lebanon where she first learned about the injustices of the Palestinian people. Dr Swee told the meeting about the thousands who have been killed and injured over the last ten years, in particular during the massive military assaults that the Israeli Occupation Forces have made. She focussed though on the recent calculated cruelty that has wounded nearly 20,000 Palestinian people in Gaza during the recent and ongoing Great March of Return. Drawing on her medical expertise she appraised the types of wounds, the munitions used and how they are being used to cripple a significant part of the population and the stresses that this places on the individuals shot, their families and friends, the health system and all of society.

More of Richard’s stories are available via his Twitter account, on the FFC’s website and Facebook page (here is a video of his welcome when he arrived in Luton) and a recently published op-ed piece of his in Russia Today.

More of Dr Swee’s stories are available via her profile on our website, where you can also download free of charge a copy of her book ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’

For more information about this year’s Freedom Flotilla to Gaza Please visit: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/
Check the tweets and replies and follow FFC on Twitter
Scroll through the FFC page on Facebook and like it.

One immediate piece of work for you to do as part of the struggle is to forward some or all of this onto a friend, family member, colleague and/or your MP with an action for them to take.

Included in this is a request to sign the petition to demand the Israeli Government immediately releases the 114 boxes of medical supplies that were on board our boats.

Report – https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/news/day-30-not-released-medical-supplies-for-gaza
Petition –  https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/israel-military-must-release-medical-supplies-on-gaza-flotilla

* – They are heroes and sheroes as per the award of the:
Jewish Voice for Peace – Health Advisory Council #WeeklyHumanRightsHero and Violation for week of August 6th, 2018
https://twitter.com/AliceRothchild/status/1026557560688652288
NB – We also recognise that the real heroes and sheroes are the Palestinian people who live under occupation.

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