Larry Commodore Sailing on Al Awda, ‘The Return’
UPDATE: On Thursday August 2, at 18:55, Larry arrived in Toronto and was released from Israeli custody aboard the El Al flight. He was the last of the 22 participants from Al Awda (The Return) to be deported or released from prison on bail.
Read his reports which contrast the humanity of fellow participants with how Israeli authorities bullied him, stole from him and attempted to dehumanise him – something our Palestinian siblings experience routinely.
I’m joining the Canadian Boat to Gaza; challenging the illegal Israeli naval blockade, showing solidarity to the Palestinians suffering under the brutal Israeli occupation… and I’m scared.
It comes to me in the quiet of the night. A visceral image of my mortality flashes across my mind, then my heart starts thumping away.
Thankfully, these episodes have been brief and infrequent. So certainly I’m not paralyzed by fear; my resolve has not been broken.
I think it has more to do with what we Stó:lō people call Shxweli or “life force”; the primordial life instinct that insists that you must avoid death.
Of course, there’s only a slight possibility that our mission will come to a violent end. But it’s a possibility that’s hard to ignore.
The most probable outcome is that we will be illegally apprehended by the Israelis in international waters, put in an Israeli jail and then deported back to Canada,
The desired outcome is that we deliver our humanitarian aid directly to the Palestinians of Gaza and that we move substantially toward a “Just Future for Palestine”.
There should not be a world where violence and injustice exist to the extent and duration as it has in Palestine; inflicted by one of the most powerful military forces in the world, backed by the most powerful military force in history.
But this is the world we live in; this is our world.
And because it is our world; it’s we grassroots people worldwide who must take up the struggle for peace and justice; which is a fundamental tenet of the mission to Gaza. This is a grassroots effort. This is part of the struggle for peace and justice.
I am an Indigenous person of this land showing solidarity to Palestinians, who are indigenous to their land on a part of the earth far from here.
So this is also a mission of Indigenous solidarity.
As Indigenous peoples; we know loss, we know dispossession. We know violence; we know injustice. We know genocide.
We know, too, that the will of our people will not be bent by a larger force. We will not be defeated! We will always rise up!