On Friday night, a diverse group of activists attended a standing room only event sponsored by more than two dozen organizations including Veterans for Peace, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace andNetwork of Arab-American Professionals.
Their goal was to raise funds to launch a U.S. ship for the next Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Featured speakers included retired Col. Ann Wright known for resigning her position in the State Department in protest of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Col. Wright is also a survivor of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in which nine activists aboard the Mavi Marmara were killed by Israel Defense Forces after the IDF boarded and seized the boats. The boats en route to Gaza were carrying humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza.
Palestinian American poet, Remi Kanazi, co-founder and primary writer for www.PoeticInjustice.netand the editor of Poets for Palestine captivated the audience with a powerful performance of his poems, "Like Ghandi; Like Martin," "Coeexistence," and a "Poem for Gaza."
Journalist, Chris Hedges, gave a compelling, no-holds-barred talk about the Israel/Gaza struggle. Hedges, an author of nine books and former New York Times correspondent,was reprimanded by the NYT for denouncing the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. In turn, Hedges left the Times to serve as senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He is a columnist at truthdig.com and the author of the highly acclaimed book, War is a Force that Gives us Meaning.
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Posted below is Hedges' speech in its entirety.
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"You may have the bulldozers, the planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble...the commandos who descend on ships and kill civilians on the high seas, as well as in Gaza. You may have the vast power of the state. We only have our hearts and our voices. But, note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep pushing and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and army with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence.
And then, where there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children, even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied.
And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the insurmountable power of love that unsettles you the most."
Video by Cheryl Biren
The Break the Siege of Gaza event was endorsed by: Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, International Action Center, Brandywine Peace Community, Veterans for Peace (South Jersey Chapter 96, North Jersey Chapter 21 & Philly Chapter #31), Philly Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Troops Out Now Coalition, Philadelphia Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, Philadelphia World Can't Wait, BuxMont Coalition for Peace Action, SUSTAIN, BDS Philly, Bubbes & Zaydees for Peace, Northwest Greens, EON (End Oppression Now), Progressive Democracy South Jersey, PRAWN (Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network), Northeast Philadelphia for Peace & Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace-Philadelphia, United Anti-War Coalition of Philadelphia, Defenestrator, Code Pink-Philadelphia, Network of Arab-American Professionals-PhiladelphiaChapter, Philly Against War