Two of our favourite blogs; Desertpeace and Silverlining have submitted questions to our "Derry to Gaza" boys on the Viva Palestina convoy. I forwarded the questions and received their reply. Here are the questions followed by the response:
1. Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, expect the leaders of predominately Muslim nations side with Israel ?
2. Do you think the people of those countries are aware of the collaboration?
3. It is a wonderful thing that you are doing. If entry is denied to Gaza , would you consider coming back again?
4. How were you received in the countries you passed through by the people and the government officials or representatives?
5. Why did the convoy decided to go through the Nuwbia port this time and not Al Arish like last time? Does it have to do with how the life line was treated last time? (They don’t know the answer to this but will try to find out)
6. The turnaround of the convoy costs money, did anyone, country, person, etc. contribute to the costs or it is going to be taken from the Viva Palestinian budget? (this was answered by the press release, Turkey is helping them with the boat but they need some help with plane fares)
Reply from the Derry to Gaza team on the Viva Palestina Convoy:
I saw the questions you sent, and I will try to answer them as best we can.
Since leaving Derry we have been blessed by warm, abundant welcomes in most cities. I think we live in an age where the visible effects of power people, has been diverted into different channels.
Governments are much less effected by the people on the street. For instance, when One million or so people marched on the streets of London against the war on Iraq, the government nevertheless continued the war. From this point of view, I have always felt that there was little to be had from shows of solidarity by people against big governments. This trip has changed that outlook absolutely.
Whilst we travelled through Europe, there was some great responses from people in Belgium, Greece and Turkey, however, by and large, in contrast to its Arab neighbours, most European countries were indifferent. Since entering into Greece and down through Turkey into Arabia, the response has been amazing...I have seen people standing in groups, couples and even on their own at 4 am on a rainy street corner waving Palestinian flags.
They throw food and water in our ambulance and reach out to shake our hands, shouting Salam. Without doubt, they feel a deep connection with their brothers in Palestine, and it is through us that they wish to express this. I feel very privileged to be in such a position. Here is one example of the huge amount of support we have had along the way. Just look at the crowd outside our window:
As for the other side of the coin: those who oppose us and don’t want medical aid to enter Gaza, I see them not as a threat but people who will change in time. Their position is one grown from corruption and insecurity. Clearly in their minds, they know that as humans, the people of Gaza do not deserve to be treated like they are by another people. Surely they see that they are in the wrong in their treatment of their fellow man. I think if they do not know this now, then it will dawn on them, the more pressure the world puts on them. I’ve always thought that there were three objectives behind this trip
1. Deliver the ambulance and medical aid to the people of Gaza as practical help
2. in doing so, bring a positive and broad awareness to the plight of people in Palestine, and thus forcing a change
3. Force the Israelis to question their position by stretching out your hand to find their own humanity.
I think at this moment in time, only the second objective has been reached, and very successfully reached thanks to people like yourselves who support our convoy and cause. Hopefully, within the next week or so, we will move to fulfil our two remaining objectives. If we do not get in, then we will feel gutted, disappointed and demoralised.
But it is a long struggle for justice and we must know that. Without doubt, this struggle for the Palestinian people is worth fighting, by anybody's standards. But if we do fail, then I will know that through our efforts and the support we have sustained throughout the last 4 weeks, we have contributed to an already emerging groundswell against the Israeli Zionist regime and its treatment of Palestinians. Let us not forget, that the Palestinians have been the very misfortunate victim of a twisted dream.
They did not deserve for the Zionists to come and take their land, they had not committed a crime that forced the vengeance of history upon them, rather they were in a land that a very deluded people wanted and have taken by force. Any person born into this world could have been Palestinian by chance, and would have lived under the harsh, inhumane conditions imposed upon them, without reason or explanation. So it is for this reason, that we must be united with the people of Palestine. People just like ourselves.
Sorry i cannot write more buts its tough when we are on the move..
thanks a lot for your support
“JJ” from the Derry to Gaza Five, on the Viva Palestina Convoy