Free Gaza has announced that one of the boats of its flotilla has left Greece, and is on its way to Gaza.
French boat Dignité of Freedom Flotilla II leaves Greece
The French boat “Dignité/Karama” (Dignity) left the Greek island Kastellorizo around 8:30PM local time on Saturday July 16, 2011, heading south. The ten passengers onboard view themselves as representatives of the whole Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human. The rest of the Flotilla’s ships have been detained in different Greek ports, through bureaucratic obstruction, sabotage, sudden restrictions and withdrawals of flags.
The Dignité, sailing under a French flag, left Corsica on June 25th, and has, over the past weeks, been in Greek waters. It has now left– so far without being followed by the Greek coast guard or Navy.
Among the delegates on board is Jacqueline Le Corre, member of the French Communist Party, Jean Claude Lefort, former French Member of the European Parliament, as well as representatives of the Canadian, French, Greek and Swedish initiatives within Freedom Flotilla II. Onboard the Dignité are also renowned Israeli journalist Amira Hass, reporting for Haaretz, and a team from Al-Jazeera TV. (Full list of passengers below).
Kastellorizo, in the far east of the Greek archipelago, is only miles from Turkish mainland. A substantial part of Kastellorizo’s population fled during the Second World War to Gaza, where they stayed for years. The present mayor of the island, Paul Panigiris, was born in Gaza, and feels strongly, as do many other people from Kastellorizo, for a population that once hosted them and is now under siege.
The action of Dignité is not a mini-version of Freedom Flotilla 2, but a first wave that will be followed by others. It is a message to the Israeli government, to the international community and to the besieged people of Gaza: The Free Gaza Movement and the coalition of Freedom Flotilla II are not giving up until the inhumane and illegitimate blockade of Gaza is lifted.
Gaza, we are coming!
Typically, the flotillards cannot be totally honest. Despite the fact this press release details the travails – imagined and otherwise – of the flotilla, it does not mention the following one, no doubt because it does not paint them in a good light:
Authorities said that the yacht was previously prevented from leaving the Greek island after it caused damage to a vessel belonging to the Greek coastguard following a minor collision.
There’s also this one:
The decision to carry on the mission of sailing to Gaza was not automatically welcomed by other delegations or by the steering committee of the flotilla. Some preferred to officially end the current campaign. Karama’s [Dignite-Al Karama]participants spent long hours negotiating and convincing the others.
Here’s hoping this is only the beginning of their travails.