the passengers who will sail to Gaza, the people of Athens are in their
second day of protests against the austerity measures forced upon them
by a bankrupt government and the IMF. Tear gas wafts down the narrow
streets and into our nostrils, a prescient reminder of what might happen
to us when the Israeli war machine tries to stop us. Some of our
passengers went to the demonstrations last night and were hit with the
remnants of some powerful smoke, coughing and sneezing as they held
their bandanas over their noses and fled the scene, mindful that we
don't want to hurt ourselves before we leave.
Behind the scenes, Israel is leaning on the weak government of
Greece, trying to force us into staying in port by filing paperwork with
Greek officials that we are 'not seaworthy' even though the US Boat to
Gaza had just cleared sea trials the day before the filing. Last night
the Greek/Swedish/Norwegian passenger boat had its rudder hacked into,
then bent up toward the bottom of the boat, a sure tragedy if the propeller had come off in the middle of the sea, the lives of the 30
plus passengers at risk, because Israel is having a temper tantrum.
Our boat was inspected last Monday, but we have no report back yet,
an indication that either the politics in Greece are so overwhelming,
even for an inspector, or this will be yet another delaying tactic. The
rumor in Athens is that Greece has been sold down the river to China and
Israel and is as helpless and occupied as the Palestinians, albeit with
As the US outsources corporate work to India and the Philippines,
Israel outsources the occupation and illegal blockade of Palestine to
Greece. It is certainly less embarrassing for them, if Greece is made
the villian in this piece and not Israel. However, we, the members of
the flotilla, clearly know who is manipulating the situation here.
Gaza and of us. We are having just a small taste of occupation; the
right to passage denied to us, the right to sail into the waters of the
Mediterranean blocked by a cruel bully. What is next? Maiming? Murder?
How far will Israel go in outsourcing its violence against the
Palestinians and those of us who support them?
Greta Berlin, Passenger
The US Boat to Gaza