Gaza’s Ark: Charlie Andreasson speaks about the attack
reposted from: Gaza’s Ark
Charlie Andreasson is a member activist of Ship to Gaza – Sweden, a Freedom Flotilla Coalition partner – who is in Gaza cooperating with the Gaza’s Ark project. He writes his personal reflections about the attack on the Ark last Tuesday 29 April 2014 at 3:45 local time.
More than one year of work and now she lies there, the boat we rebuilt to break the siege, resting on the bottom of the harbour. A month of struggling with authorities in Egypt before I was allowed to come here, and eight months of struggling with the daily life and the work on the boat in Gaza, just to stand at the dock and watch the devastation. Just a few weeks before we were to sail to Europe. And I´m thinking of the work I had to leave at home, to follow my conscience, to do whatever I can for the people who are denied their human rights, for no other reason, than that they are Palestinians, that they were born here. Two explosives, two holes below the waterline. So easy. Next to no attention in the media afterwards. Business as usual. The abuses against the people of Palestine can continue.
Palestinians – humans, approach me to express their support, saying that God will compensate me. But this project is not for me, it is for them. My sadness is that we might not be able to fulfil what we promised. Not in time. As long as the illegal and inhumane blockade continues, we must all do what we can to lift it. If we want to live in safety and be able to provide security to our children, we cannot have a world where human rights are denied to some because of their ethnicity, or where fishers and farmers are shot at. This does not create security; rather it brings insecurity, as well as being contrary to international law.
We have to repair what has been destroyed and continue to challenge the blockade until it is lifted once and for all. I cannot throw away all of my time here and my work at home to achieve nothing. This project is not for me; it’s for them. It is those who try to console me who are the victims.
I was impressed by the response of fishermen, police, divers and firefighters, when the Ark, with water spilling over its deck, was towed to shore. It started in the morning, with cables connected to the Ark. Meter-by-meter, she came closer and eventually she rose from the water. Despite the darkness of night falling, the onlookers stayed at the dock. Suddenly, from nowhere, two fire trucks rolled in, tearing the darkness away with their headlights. A short while later, the boat was raised sufficiently to reveal two gaping holes well below the waterline on the port side. Police cordoned off the area and the investigation, to find clues, began. But questions rise up in my mind, crying for answers: Can she be repaired? How long will it take? What will the cost be? But I don’t ask myself who might be behind the sabotage – that will change nothing.
Will we ever be allowed to leave Gaza? It would be so easy to ruin everything with one or more additional explosives. The media makes no big deal of it. But can we allow ourselves to turn our backs on these assaults on human rights? Can we go fishing when we know that the fishermen of Gaza every day are in danger of being shot at and having their boats confiscated? Can we plant new flowers in our gardens without thinking of farmers in Gaza, shot at while they sow seeds by hand? Will we ever be able to feel safe, whilst we allow one of the world’s most militarily powerful nations to continue its occupation of another people’s land and violate international conventions, just because they are stronger? And how can we allow ourselves to believe the lie that exports from Gaza constitute a threat to the occupying power, its military or their civilians? If we are to look at ourselves in the mirror without feeling shame, we must repair the Ark, sail out to break the siege, with a cargo of olive oil, honey, hand-woven carpets, solidarity and human dignity – a cargo so threatening that they are willing to sink the boat, whoever they might be.