Subject: DAY ONE OF TOX'S JOURNEY TO GAZA VIA THE BOAT CONVOY
The day began hectically with me rushing to Birmingham International Airport only to miss the flight! Alhamdulillah as they say there is reason for everything that happens. We can plan as much as we like but Allah is the best of planners.
I boarded the plane leaving Heathrow at 2230 and arrived in Istanbul Alhamdulillah with no delays or problems. I touched down in Istanbul at 4am in the dead of the night. Alhamdulillah once again, as to my surprise my brother Ibrahim who I was meant to go with on the earlier flight was already waiting there at the airport to pick me up.
We got a cab to the hotel where Ibrahim and the rest of our group were staying only to be told it was full. The guy at the front desk was adamant that I would be unable to sleep on Ibrahims floor and he became especially agitated after two failed mission impossible attempts to sneak me in. LoL
So it seemed Allah had another plan for me. We decided to go to pray in the local masjid after hearing the azan for Fajr prayer. We arrived a late and missed the jamah. So an old uncle who was also late called us over and we prayed with him. After Fajr in Turkey they do some recitation after salah which is amazing it just gives the whole masjid this fantastic atmosphere, its very difficult to describe, not that of a rave or party dont misunderstand. lol But amazing nonetheless.
After we prayed yet another stroke of luck, the uncle that we had just prayed behind was one of the most senior people in the Masjid. So I spoke to him and he said no problem I could stay, even after tense discussions with other officials, he lead me over to a small enclosed part of the mosque and said I could sleep and thats where I slept beautifully.. Oh yeah what I forgot to mention. LoL. The masjid I was now staying in all alone was one of the oldest in Turkey built by Sultan Fatih Mehmet. Also known as Fatih Masjid or the conquerors mosque. This is a tourist attraction a museum more accurately speaking visitors are not permitted to sleep over so imagine how lucky I was.
Ok so the blog isn't over yet. LoL
After 4 hours sleep I was awoken from my healing sleep by a rushing Ibrahim he said the press conference was about to begin and we had to leave now. So I quickly picked up my bag rolled up my sleeping bag and off we went. We jumped in a taxi to the port that of a name that I can no longer remember any more, it took around 20 minutes to get there. As we got closer to destination we could see swarms of people heading in the same direction. It somewhat reminded me of walking alongside other fans to Anfield ( Liverpool F.C.s football stadium to those who don't know) all heading in one direction. So as there was also immense traffic we instructed the taxi driver to let us out, and we also joined the swarm and followed in sync.
As we approached, the familiar sound of Turkish Nasheeds played loud, and echoed all around. We had heard these played repeatedly on the last convoy, and they brought back many warm memories. Following the sound now, as well as the herds of people we turned a corner and their she stood in plain sight the spectacular and enormous MV Mavi Marmara. The atmosphere was electric it actually felt like we were at a football match or baseball game. The press conference began with many speakers. Messages were relayed in Turkish, Arabic, Malay and English and all the worlds press except for the pro Zionist ones that is were broadcasting the message of humanity back to their respective nations.
One of the final speeches was given by a brother who had lost the ability to walk in the crippling war against Gaza. As he sat their in his wheel chair in front of the masses the passion and truth in his speech captured the hearts of the audience. The crowd stood captivated by each of his words as they passed through everyone pouring with emotion, the rain only added to the atmosphere and after the brother finished the sound of hundreds of thousands of people shouting Takbir was enthralling. A dua was then made at which the sound of ameen being said by everyone had a thundering bass. You could feel a presence of one ummah, one being, one humanity.
After the dua was made it was announced that the MV Mavi Marmara was due to set sail. The Turkish sailors who were leaving hugged their loved ones and boarded. Then celebration like no other: Thousands of balloons were released flying the Palestinian colours, fireworks, smoke torches, white doves, press helicopters circling and then greatest of all, a entourage of around 30 smaller boats laden with people hanging off at every angle waving, screaming it was immense. "The world is watching" I was told by a reporter, I couldn't help but think so must Israel.
The world is indeed watching. Israel what is your next move?
2 days ago