For more than 60 years, Palestinian people have faced the illegal Israeli occupation of their land and a campaign of genocide carried out by the racist Israeli state. The most recent attempt to break the Palestinian people has been the siege and blockade of Gaza. – Statement by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)
On Saturday, June 5th 2010, I attended the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Global Day of Action march that was held at the Vancouver Art Gallery downtown. It was organized by SPHR, the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights group that meets once a week up at UBC. I found out about the protest through SFPIRG, who was one of the endorsers of the event. Other organizations, such as MAWO, joined us, and the turn out was so good that much of downtown traffic had to be diverted.
Recently, rallies like these have been held all across Canada and the world to protest the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Gaza and their navy’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine. This was a fatal attack that killed as many as 19 international human rights activists, and since it happened in international waters, it is considered to be an act of piracy.
It is time to insist on the end of the blockade of Gaza. The worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel is now a moral and political imperative, and needs to be supported and strengthened everywhere. – U.N. expert on human rights, Professor Richard Falk
Organizations such as SPHR, MAWO, and BNC (the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee), have called for an international boycott of Israel. The aim of protests like the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Global Day of Action is to pressure local governments to start implementing trade sanctions and arms embargoes towards Israel.
If you would like to become involved in the Free Gaza Movement, the first thing you can do is attend the two public forums that will be happening later this week:
On Tuesday, June 15th at 6:30pm, MAWO will be hosting a public forum at Joe’s Café (in the large North Hall), at 1150 Commercial Drive. It will feature guest speaker, Bill Dienst, a medical physician who was on the “Liberty” vessel in August 2008, the first Free Gaza ship to successfully land in Gaza since the port was closed by Israel.
On Friday, June 18th at 7pm, SPHR will be hosting a public forum at the Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia Street) in the Alice Mackay Room. It will feature guest speaker, Kevin Niesh, who was on board the international solidarity flotilla when it was brutally stopped by the Israeli commandoes in the early morning hours of May 31, 2010.
Both of these public forums provide an ample opportunity for supporters of the Free Gaza Movement to gather together and hear real-life accounts of what life is currently like in Gaza. As well, they also act as a platform for ideas as to what can be done to help liberate the Palestinian people.
Together, we can help make this world a better place.
By Flavia Kajoba