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Intro: "We have been in Athens since the 21st - trying to get to Gaza. Many impediments orchestrated by the Israeli government. But what a wonderful group of humans. Therefore: We've won. We're in Gaza. To be in Gaza is to feel this love. To know there is always a part of humanity that is awake even though the overburdened or the bewitched remain sleeping."

Peace activists aboard the Audacity of Hope in the Greek port of Piraeus. (photo: US BOAT TO GAZA/Facebook)
Peace activists aboard the Audacity of Hope in the Greek port of Piraeus. (photo: US BOAT TO GAZA/Facebook)



At Sea on the Audacity of Hope

By Alice Walker, Reader Supported News

02 July 11

 

Alice Walker posted the article and poem below on the Facebook page US BOAT TO GAZA. The page has recently been updated to announce: "Our boat's captain has been put in jail, charged with disturbing sea traffic - which includes endangering the lives of those on the ships - and disobeying a police order to remain at dock. The crew is being detained on the boat, which is being held at a military dock just outside Athens. Most of the 36 passengers remain on the ship in solidarity with the captain and crew." For further updates, videos and pictures click here. -- CW/RSN

 

oday is, I think, the 31st of June (Friday?) or is it the 1st of July?

We have been in Athens since the 21st - trying to get to Gaza. Many impediments orchestrated by the Israeli government. But what a wonderful group of humans.

Therefore: We've won. We're in Gaza. To be in Gaza is to feel this love. To know there is always a part of humanity that is awake even though the overburdened or the bewitched remain sleeping.

My throat is sore from breathing the tear gas that drifted into our hotel windows, as Greeks, mostly young, battle police, their brothers and sisters who are paid to keep them in line. This is the tragedy. I feel so much compassion for both sides my eyes tear and not only from the gas.

It was hard to breathe. My lungs were fighting hard to protect me. How I adore them, my lungs. And so many of our group tried to protect us, my lungs and me, too. A lovely young man named Steve gave me his own gas mask and someone else, a beautiful young woman with straw colored hair and blue gray eyes gave me the benefit of her knowledge of how to wear it.

I do not like calling such angels "blonde" as I feel the word is so loaded now and it sets them outside of Nature and somehow diminishes them.

I spent a blissful hour yesterday massaging Hedy's feet. She has the most wonderful gray eyes - full of humor and light. She'd never had a foot massage before, she said. And she is eighty-seven! Hard to imagine.

Hedy, I said - when she told everyone who passed by us: "I'm being spoiled" - I have a full body massage at least once a week!

This was a high point for me, as it is well established by now in myself and among my friends, that I like to massage the feet of anyone who stands up for us. Humanity, I mean.

Or the other animals.

Hedy, holocaust survivor, inhaling the gas in Greece, but even more poignant, anticipating being tear gassed by the Israelis who are doing everything they can to threaten our boat.

I have no computer - they said not to bring one on the boat because it would likely by destroyed or confiscated - only this small notebook in which I have been avoiding writing the poem that starts and stops in my head:


Sailing the Hot Streets of Athens, Greece

It has been so
hot!
Is it hot
where you are?
Penned up
in a destroyed
place?
In Gaza?

The whole world
distracted
by its weathers
& other
disasters
still is watching
us,
Gaza,
as we yearn
towards each other.

Trying to embrace
each other
to give each
other,
to ourselves
united,
a simple
hug.

The whole world
is watching
Gaza
& it is
wondering how
things
will
turn out.

They are making
it hard
for us to move
Gaza
& sometimes
we are
in despair
but I remind
us
that you
of all people
understand
obstruction.

They know this place
we are in
of not
being able to move.
They know it
intimately.
This place of stalemate
& stagnation, so unbearable
to any heart
that's free
is where they
hourly
live.

They will forgive
us
if we do not
arrive
on time.

Furthermore,
having left our
own homes
we are
already
there.

I believe
with all my heart
in the magic
and the power
of intention.

The women & men
with cameras
come
to record
our dreams
& our frustrations.
most of them are
young
& we are glad
of this.

We want them
to see their
counterparts
& their elders
attempting to make
this voyage
to endure
this crossing.

We pray they
are of good heart
& balanced
mind.
Even
the spies
among them
we hope
will learn
something
they may never
have guessed
before:

That a boat
filled
with love letters
from children
is a threat
to those
with
apparently
little memory
of youth
or experience
of love.

I have given
my word that I would
sail
and so I do - if not
on our boat
that is not so far
allowed to go
to sea,
then through
the air sending
thoughts and feelings
I sail:
We all sail.
We sail the hot, sticky
streets
of Athens, Greece
longing to see
the faces
& deliver
love letters
to the people
of Gaza.


Written on our beautiful boat whose canopy is a giant peaceful American flag, as we sail the waters off the coast of Greece and are intercepted by the Greek coast guard.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

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+21 # Activista 2011-07-02 11:05
Thank you Alice - you and your actions restore my faith in humanity.
 
 
-47 # Herbert Dorfman 2011-07-02 11:18
Ms. Walker: The dream of the people of Gaza and the rulers of Gaza (Hamas) is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. If that means killing them all -- so be it. It's obscene to use the word Holocaust in connection with Gaza -- until six million Arabs have been killed. The Hamas terrorists love when you shed tears for the Gazaians who lob rockets into Israeli towns, and you shed no tears for the Israelis who are killed. Go write your silly poetry in Syria or Libya. You are so clueless.
 
 
+4 # rom120 2011-07-02 12:05
Another nerd sprouting the crap of Israel getting wiped off the map and the lie about the 6 million.
 
 
+14 # ragged_soul 2011-07-02 13:07
Mr Dorfman, what exactly gives you the right to make a statement that those who challenge the existence of Israel should die? You must be delusional, sir, to maintain such idiocy. Implicit in your statement is the assumption that somehow Israel's existence is more 'deserved' than any other state, that somehow Jews are entitled to more than their neighbours. These beliefs may have had relevance during the bronze age when tribal unity was important, but they have absolutely no place in modern, gentile society. Israel is not special; neither, to be honest, are Jews. Jews have no more preference than the poorest Palestinians. If anything, Israel is a perfect example to illustrate why government and religion should be separate.
 
 
+11 # ragged_soul 2011-07-02 13:13
Mr Dorfman, what exactly gives you the right to make a statement that those who challenge the existence of Israel should die? You must be delusional, sir, to maintain such idiocy. Implicit in your statement is the assumption that somehow Israel's existence is more 'deserved' than any other state, that somehow Jews are entitled to more than their neighbours. These beliefs may have had relevance during the bronze age when tribal unity was important, but they have absolutely no place in modern, gentile society. Israel is not special; neither, to be honest, are Jews. Jews deserve no more preference than the poorest Palestinians. If anything, Israel is a perfect example to illustrate why government and religion should be separate.
 
 
+16 # Robert H Stiver, Oah 2011-07-02 13:27
In fact, far more than 6,000,000 Palestinians have been "killed" by the criminally psychotic machinations of the Zionist ideology and its active and supportive adherents. You, Mr. Dorfman, are among the crazies. But it won't be forever until the world wakes up fully and realizes that the psychotics are in charge of the asylum -- manipulative, controlling, plotting, using, dominating; just the things that psychotics are known for. Long live the at-present hapless Palestinians! A full measure of justice, dignity and peace to them!
 
 
+7 # propsguy 2011-07-02 20:21
mr dorfman, we really don't know what the people of gaza think. they are as oppressed by the israelis as the jews were by the germans. just because your people have been oppressed, it doesn't give you license to oppress others. what possible reason would israel have to block a boat of peace activists bearing letters not weapons, of support?
 
 
-8 # VSweet 2011-07-02 20:28
Herbert,
I have learned people do not want to hear the truth! If the United Nation and the Red Cross did not endorse this flotilla to sail into the GAZA, because there is NO Crisis. What is the underlying reason Alice and the rest are insisting to float this flotilla into GAZA? They are all clueless! By the way other readers, this message is directed to Herbert and I do agree with him. So, please do not respond, I respect your opinions, please respect my request. Thank you and God bless you!
 
 
+3 # Activista 2011-07-02 22:32
Quoting VSweet:
Herbert,
I have learned people do not want to hear the truth! !

Here is the truth: UN Probe on Gaza
www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/unprobe.html
 
 
+1 # laffineyes 2011-07-02 11:34
Dorfman is wrong and so are you Ms. Walker. Dorfman, because he confuses the people of Gaza with the Hamas (and they are not the same) and has no compassion for the Gazans' plight, and you, because you are naive and caught up in the lovely euphoria of humanistic love. Hamas, which is a terrorist organization and which makes its own people suffer (I had a friend in Gaza), uses the food and goods it gets from Israel for its own means. It would prefer to impose a fundamentalist Iranian type of regime on Gaza and persecute all those who do not hold its religious opinions (woe to gays, for instance). The organization is. as Mr. Dorfman commented, only interested in these boatloads of well-meaning people for its own propaganda means. I have to protest, though, at Mr. Dorfman's suggestion that 6 million Arabs should be killed. No one any more should be killed. Neither Arab nor Jew.
 
 
+9 # shirley brazda 2011-07-02 12:47
Neither Arab nor Jew.
 
 
+13 # UNMLOBO 2011-07-02 12:41
Greece, "the birthplace of democracy," besmirching its honor for the sake of money. I had hoped for more.
 
 
+3 # Joan Brownstein 2011-07-02 12:42
laffineyes is right. But the word, holocaust, is used too freely. It applies to mass murder of a set of people, along with Hitler's mass killing of 6 million Jewish people, he killed 6 million gays, oppositon, and others he considered subnormal. No one should be killed but those on the boat are not there yet. They should know what you know about Hamas. Going back in time, no Arab nation has wanted the Palestineans nor have they helped them develop a sustainable economy. Why have there been refugee camps since 1948? Even the Palestinean authority maintains these camps. I can feel sorry for the ordinary Palestinean caught in this political morass but they too have to take some responsibility for their leadership.
 
 
+17 # Glen 2011-07-02 14:43
How do the "ordinary Palestinian" "take some responsibility for their leadership"? Why do you think they have any more influence over their leadership than U.S. citizens do? They have much less, obviously, but victims must always get the blame.
 
 
+8 # ragged_soul 2011-07-02 15:36
Ms. Brownstein, why should anyone 'want' the Palestinians when they have (or had) a homeland. Unfortunately, Israel is stealing it in bits and pieces with their multi-decade strategy to provoke the Palestinians into violence and then returning ridiculously over-the-top violent response and land theft. Israelis should really be ashamed of themselves for allowing religion to come before common sense and decent humanity.
 
 
+15 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-07-02 12:49
I was concerned when I heard, at a Code Pink rally held recently in Washington, D.C., that the great flotilla folks were heading over to Greece to head out in their flotilla. In 2003, the nationa's super fusion center, Colorado Springs, was one of two cities in the world, the other being Athens, Greed, to teargas peaceful peace demonstrators who rallied against the U.S. entry into the war in Iraq.

Hang in there, flotilla folks. Loss of liverty and justice for all, by and through the greed and power addicted, is evil wherever it exists - in the U.S., Gaza, etc. etc. etc.. It takes determination and courage and then some to....UNDO THE (military/indus trial)COUP!
 
 
-15 # D12345 2011-07-02 12:56
Any words for the Saudi women recently jailed for the crime of driving while female? Any words about the 40% unemployment of Black teens in the US? Any words about the almost 8 million refugees of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Any word about the epidemic of rape in Congo?
Anything about Syrians gunned down in the street?

Any words to gays in Gaza where homosexual acts are against the law? (as is true throughout the Muslim middle east)

NO..... This whole expedition is self-serving and unworthy.
 
 
+2 # Robert H Stiver, Oah 2011-07-02 13:33
I don't pay for the Saudi women jailed for driving "while female" (what a weird construction; where did you get your education?) I have every empathy for the millions of refugees of Iraq and Afghanistan -- refugeed as part of the US-ZioIsrael frenzy to control the entire region. I have no control over, and do not pay for, the epidemic of rape in the Congo. I suspect outside influence in Syria's torment...part of the same criminally psychotic cabal which did in Saddam Hussein, who at least had a working, modernizing country and stood up for the Palestinians and their inalienable rights
 
 
+5 # ragged_soul 2011-07-02 15:47
It is petty, Mr. Stiver, to demean the grammatical construction of another poster; does the level of education one has determine whether they may express their point of view? Celebrate the parallel viewpoint rather than find opposition in technique.
 
 
+6 # propsguy 2011-07-02 20:25
sadly, we do pay for it all, with our tax dollars, while the US continues with it's imperialist plans and supports israel's
 
 
+12 # Robert H Stiver, Oah 2011-07-02 13:34
Thank you for being a great humanitarian, Ms. Walker.
 
 
+9 # genierae 2011-07-02 15:34
The practice of genocide is not confined to the treatment of the Jews, yet Israel seems to think that Jews deserve special distinction. What about the Native Americans whose culture was obliterated by white supremacists? What about the indigenous peoples around the world? I have great compassion for the suffering of Jews in Germany, but I don't put them higher than any other victims of genocide. And now Israel has turned into what it hates most: a country of racists who are in thrall to their own violence. I see no good end for them.

I honor Ms. Walker and her companions and I pray that they make it to Gaza. But I think that the Palestinians must find their own way to take back their country. It will not be easy.

"The salvation of the people depends upon themselves, upon their capacity for suffering and sacrifice." Gandhi
 
 
+1 # stonecutter 2011-07-02 16:05
There's an acrid whiff of anti-semitism in some of these comments, which is just as toxic to constructive discourse, let alone any hope of a lasting solution, as anything Mr. Dorfman above may have crassly implied about the fate of ordinary Gazans.

Just as ordinary citizens of Gaza are helpless in the wake of Hamas and its concrete agenda to destroy Israel, so are ordinary Israelis, seeking peace with and for the Palestinians, often helpless against the "Zionist" agenda of PM Netanyahu and his ultra-orthodox supporters.

It's a hard reality that Israel is surrounded by adversarial, if not enemy Arab states, plus Iran, and that terrorist organizations committed to its destruction are funded and supported by these states. It's also a hard reality that Israel has diminished its stature in the region through recent military actions that are seen as excessive or even cruel by some in the world community. The core question is whether these judgments on Israel are legitimate based on facts on the ground, or are they transparently skewed by blatant, historical anti-semitism and/or Holocaust revisionism?

I for one believe they are infected by the latter, but I also understand the former construct. This is a densely gray area; no black and white. Until there is hard-wired, negotiated compromise, this conflict will continue to fester.
 
 
-2 # S. Wolf Britain 2011-07-02 18:01
The anti-Semitism is against the "Arabs" and the Muslims; who, in many if not most cases, are (far?) more Semitic by blood than most Jews, especially eastern-Europea n Jews who probably comprise the majority of Jews. Nobody, except a combination of Gentiles and Jews (and ONLY those Gentiles and Jews who truly recognize, and who are truly, fully and completely transformed by and restored to Him, as many of them do and are, that Jesus the Christ IS their Messiah and always has been), are the chosen people today. The Jews have not been the special, chosen people for almost 2,000 years now. For, as their Old Testament shows more than clearly, they backslid again and again, turning their backs on their God over and over again, particularly by rejecting their Messiah, Jesus the Christ. And, as a result, even though God gave them chance after chance after chance, finally He moved on to the Gentiles, and the Jews who are for Jesus the Christ, as the chosen people. Obviously the Jews who still reject Jesus the Christ do not recognize it, but the New Testament makes that more than abundantly clear. There is no salvation except through Jesus the Christ (John 14:6). That is the ONLY Way that Jesus the Christ made available to ALL those who will truly, fully and completely accept Him without any reservation(s)...

(Continued below.)
 
 
-2 # S. Wolf Britain 2011-07-02 19:18
(Continued from above.)

...Therefore, the Jews are not any privileged people, having long not been. They lost Israel in 70 A.D. as punishment for their constant backsliding and their rejection of their Savior Messiah, Jesus the Christ. Thus, they had no truly God-given right(s) to take back Israel after it had belonged to the other indigenous people(s) of that area for that very nearly 2,000 years, and the Israelis actions ever since have been nothing but a slap in the face of God and His Son, the Prince of Peace. So, everyone who does, should stop acting like Jews and Israel supposedly have to be given some sort of deference. Most of them are now nothing but co-equal with all of the Gentiles, and should be treated nothing but the same under EQUAL RIGHTS and human rights FOR ALL. I love Jews just as much as, but no more than, I love ALL of my Gentile brethren; and that is how all humankind should love and be loved. There are no privileged people except those who are truly, fully and completely transformed by Jesus the Christ, whether they are by blood, Jew(s), other Semitic people(s), or other Gentile(s). Selah, that is truth whether you believe it or not; and, because most people reject God, they naturally refuse to believe it as a result. After all, most of the world IS evil, as is obvious if you truly look all around you with totally open eyes.
 
 
+4 # Activista 2011-07-02 22:43
Labeling any criticism of Israel - especially present government with foreign minister Lieberman, and PM - as ANTISEMITIC is VERY paranoid -
Please comment on UN Probe on GAZA -
www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/unprobe.html
 
 
+9 # Ken Hall 2011-07-02 22:42
stone: Sorry, I don't buy the anti-semitism thing. There are substantial grounds for criticism and indignation at what Israel is doing. Since the '67 war, Israel has contravened every Geneva Convention, and the GCs were promulgated in large part as a response to the holocaust. The anti-semitism thing is a tired old cliche in this day and age. While I have no doubt there is real a-s out there, just look at the stature of some of the people that have been indiscriminatel y and wrongly tarred with this brush, such as Jimmy Carter, Robert Goldstone, basically anyone who dares criticize Israeli policy. They've cried wolf too many times, and their crimes are there for all to see. I think most all critics posting here are anti-Zionist, not anti-semitic, and I proudly wear the title of anti-Zionist, anti-apartheid, pro-civil rights, pro-liberation, pro-peace. The Israel-Palestin e conflict has affected all of the mid-East and much of the rest of the world. US citizens' tax money is supporting an apartheid regime. It should be clear by now that Israel gives lip service to peace, but won't stop its provocations until it has gobbled up all the land of its neighbors. I want that to stop. I want real pressure brought to bear upon Israel to live within the '67 borders. If not, the strife and bloodshed will go on for generations. Only with justice will there come real peace.
 
 
+5 # genierae 2011-07-03 06:37
Well said, Mr. Hall. Bravo!
 
 
-4 # stonecutter 2011-07-03 11:11
"The anti-semitism thing is a tired old cliche in this day and age."

Ken Hall: anti-Zionist is just fine with me, but for you to make the above statement shows a severe lack of awareness regarding the new wave of a-s washing across Western Europe. If you take the time to google this, assuming you yourself are not trivializing a-s because you are a proponent, than you'll see that calling it a "tired old cliche" is revisionist in the extreme, or simply pernicious ignorance of the facts on the ground.

I know anti-semitism when I see it, hear it, read it, and it has little to do with criticizing the Zionists or the Israeli government. I've experienced it in countless subtle ways throughout my life. For one example, it's lumping all Jews into a monolith of oppressive brutality against the "helpless" Palestinians. This is intellectual crap.

If you are not an anti-semite, you give a very good impression of one.
 
 
+2 # Ken Hall 2011-07-04 01:28
stone: Sorry, I will not be tarred with that brush, go somewhere else with your bull woofy. My mate (deceased) was Jewish, our daughter was raised in the Jewish faith. I (for the record) am atheist. I know a-s is on the rise around the world, and I am not surprised, given the actions of Israel. When one deals so ruthlessly with others, taking land by military force, there are going to be repercussions. One of them is Israel's reputation. As I said in my first post, there are substantial, BLATANT, reasons for justly criticizing Israel and I will not be deterred from doing so by petty, small-minded, and inaccurate characterizatio n. The anti-semitism card, having been used so much and so often, and against so many sincere friends of Israel, is very suspect.
 
 
0 # Cookieanderson 2011-07-03 08:28
I know this will sound naive. Sit quietly. Breathe. Let go of your ideas both right & wrong. Let go of your ego which will say "I am right. You are wrong." Just BE. Both sides have truths, both sides have wrongs inflicted against them. I think letting go of hatreds, ideologies, histories, etc will help us be in the now where much good can come to fruition.
 
 
+3 # Daphne Muse 2011-07-03 11:08
The audacity of being audacious is what keeps the fire in those who are fierce, relentless and persevere for peace.
 
 
+3 # leslie griffith 2011-07-03 12:26
Dear Sister...your heart makes me proud to be a woman.
 
 
+2 # Don Thomann 2011-07-03 13:46
IF 'there is no crisis" then what's all that gobbly-gook about an embargo on Palestine coming from the Israeli government?
 
 
+1 # S. Wolf Britain 2011-07-03 18:34
I can't tell what you're really saying here, so I can't tell whether I should "thumbs-up" it or not. Please clarify.
 
 
0 # Eileen 2011-07-22 18:51
Aloha Sister,

How wonderful it is
for this one
sometimes lonely
holding information alone
feeling as an Arab American feels
for our people
to finally be joined
with the rest of humanity
for the love of my people
 
 
0 # penelope 2011-07-24 00:08
WOMEN - IS WHAT'S MISSING DURING ALL THESE FRUITLESS MEETINGS/NEGOTI ATIONS ~~
FOR AS LONG AS THERE ARE NO WOMEN ON THE
TABLE DURING THESE "NEGOTIATIONS" NOTHING
WILL EVER, EVER CHANGE.
THOSE DISGUSTING EGO DRIVEN ALL-MEN "LEADERS" THAT ARE POWER, MONEY & LUST ANGRY WILL NEVER PUT HUMANITY ABOVE THEIR GREED & NON-SENSE.
ALL THIS HELL GOING ON FOR CENTURIES BECAUSE
THESE ALL-MEN GROUPS RULING SOCIETY.

PLEASE PEOPLE - THINK ABOUT THIS DEEPLY - WE MUST DEMAND WOMEN'S VOICE ON THE TABLE.
WOMEN DON'T FIGHT, WOMEN COMPROMISE WHEN IT COMES TO THE WELL BEING OF SOCIETY.

WRITE TO SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON FOR HER TO START DEMANDING THIS WHEN SHE MEETS WITH ALL THESE ALL-MEN GROUPS - ASAP

*************************************************
 

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