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Flotilla2 US Boat Athens Audacity Hope Alice Walkers Garden

First look! US Boat to Gaza, Flotilla II blockade runner The Audacity of Hope

Eric Verlo, June 29th, 2011

Flotilla US Boat Athens Audacity Hope Alice Walkers Garden

PALESTINE:  REVISITED POST WITH NEW MATERIALS:  AT SEA ON THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, 2011, ATHENS, GREECE. (And Why Some Humans Will Never Give Up: See end of post and Roger Waters’ letter to Bon Jovi and band, coming soon to Tel Aviv).

©2015 by Alice Walker

Today is, I think, the 31st of June (Friday?)or is it the 1st of July?

We have been in Athens since the 21st – trying to get to Gaza. Many impediments orchestrated by the Israeli government. But what a wonderful group of humans.

Therefore: We’ve won. We’re in Gaza. To be in Gaza is to feel this love. To know there is always a part of humanity that is awake even though the overburdened or the bewitched remain sleeping.

My throat is sore from breathing the tear gas that drifted into our hotel windows, as Greeks, mostly young, battle police, their brothers and sisters who are paid to keep them in line. This is the tragedy. I feel so much compassion for both sides my eyes tear and not only from the gas.

It was hard to breathe. My lungs were fighting hard to protect me. How I adore them, my lungs. And so many of our group tried to protect us, my lungs and me, too. A lovely young man named Steve gave me his own gas mask and someone else, a beautiful young woman with straw colored hair and blue gray eyes gave me the benefit of her knowledge of how to wear it.

I do not like calling such angels “blonde” as I feel the word is so loaded now and it sets them outside of Nature and somehow diminishes them.

I spent a blissful hour yesterday massaging Hedy’s feet. She has the most wonderful gray or are they hazel eyes – full of humor and light. She’d never had a foot massage before, she said. And she is eighty-seven! Hard to imagine.

Hedy, I said – when she told everyone who passed by us: “I’m being spoiled” – I have a full body massage at least once a week!

This was a high point for me, as it is well established by now in myself and among my friends, that I like to massage the feet of anyone who stands up for us. Humanity, I mean.

Or the other animals.

Hedy, holocaust survivor, inhaling the gas in Greece, but even more poignant, anticipating being tear gassed by the Israelis who are doing everything they can to threaten our boat.

I have no computer – they said not to bring one on the boat because it would likely be destroyed or confiscated – only this small notebook in which I have been avoiding writing the poem that starts and stops in my head:

Sailing the Hot Streets of Athens, Greece

©2011 by Alice Walker

It has been so
Is it hot
where you are?
Penned up
in a destroyed
In Gaza?

The whole world
by its weathers
& other
still is watching
as we yearn
towards each other.

Trying to embrace
each other
to give each
to ourselves
a simple

The whole world
is watching
& it is
wondering how
turn out.

They are making
it hard
for us to move
& sometimes
we are
in despair
but I remind
that you
of all people

They know this place
we are in, I say,

of not
being able to move.
They know it
This place of stalemate
& stagnation, so unbearable
to any heart
that’s free
is where they

They will forgive
if we do not
on time.

having left our
own homes
we are

I believe
with all my heart
in the magic
and the power
of intention.

The women & men
with cameras
to record
our dreams
& our frustrations;
most of them are
& we are glad
of this.

We want them
to see their
& their elders
attempting to make
this voyage
to endure
this crossing.

We pray they
are of good heart
& balanced
the spies
among them
we hope
will learn
they may never
have guessed

That a boat
with love letters
from children
is a threat
to those
little memory
of youth
or experience
of love.

I have given
my word that I would
and so I do – if not
on our boat
that is not so far
allowed to go
to sea,
then through
the air sending
thoughts and feelings
I sail:
We all sail.
We sail the hot, sticky
of Athens, Greece
longing to see
the faces
& deliver
love letters
to the people
of Gaza.

Written on our beautiful boat whose canopy is a giant peaceful (for once!) American flag, as we sail the waters off the coast of Greece and are intercepted by armed commandos of  the Greek coast guard. Published in: The World Will Follow Joy:  Turning Madness Into Flowers, 2013.

This piece was posted some time ago; the teacher in me wishes to add the following, as a reminder of how many lives have been lost since then, in Palestine, and how many of them children.  An Israeli friend writes that  a new law makes it ok to kill a Palestinian child if s/he has anything in her/his hand.  Other links expose other horrors.


Child prisoner Issa Mu’ti’s leg will be amputated due to injury


Over 1,996 Palestinian children killed since outbreak of second intifada


“You Will Have No Protection” (from your government), Medgar Evers.

Ali Abunimah puts the Clinton quote at June 23, 2011.  https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/hillary-clinton-gives-green-light-israeli-attack-gaza-flotilla

On Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 11:24 AM, Michael Brown <snip> wrote:

Dear Alice,


Here’s the op-ed you sent me four years ago that I then passed to CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/21/alice.walker.gaza/ *And here’s the unpleasant response from Howard Jacobson: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/24/howard.jacobson.flotilla/Best,



*Revisiting the op-ed piece above gives me an opportunity to make a correction.  According to my former husband, attorney Melvyn R. Leventhal, the incident concerning the black boys and the yarmulke happened not to him, but to a character in a play he was writing.  It is still beautiful and useful in our attempts to demonstrate caring and solidarity with others who are being abused.

On Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 2:51 PM, Michael Brown <snip> wrote:


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we do not believe that the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza. Just this week, the Israeli Government approved a significant commitment to housing in Gaza. There will be construction materials entering Gaza and we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.

Note how Clinton tries to play up the new Israeli approval of housing aid.  The reason this is happening is because of flotilla pressure. But the money line is her green lighting of an Israeli right to defend itself from nonviolent American citizens on the flotilla.  That reads to me like a go ahead to attack.

Take care,

Michael Brown
Institute for Middle East Understanding http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/hashlamoun-extrajudicial-execution


13 years old shot and then handcuffed to hospital bed
הילד עיסא אלמועטי (عيسى أحمد عدنان المعطي), בן 13 מבית לחם

Testimony of Dr. Eril Foss: AZA <http://falastinews.com/category/gaza-news/> , PALESTINE <http://falastinews.com/category/palestine/>

ISRAEL DROPS CANCER-INDUCING BOMBS ON GAZANS <http://falastinews.com/2014/09/28/israel-drops-cancer-inducing-bombs-gazans/>– Israeli army kidnaps children


children harrassed daily on the way to school

Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan
telefax: ++972-(0)2-5700112
Mobile: ++972-(0)547-578703

Meanwhile, at home:  Democracy Now, October 1, 2015

Palestinian Rights Activists in U.S. Routinely Harassed & Censored

Meanwhile, a new report has documented hundreds of cases of Palestinian rights activists in the United States being harassed, disciplined, fired, sued, censored or threatened for their advocacy around Palestine. Eighty-five percent of these cases targeted students or scholars. The report was issued by the nonprofit organization Palestine Legal. Nashiha Alam of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Loyola University Chicago spoke about facing harassment.

Nashiha Alam: “Administration at Loyola often subjected members of Students for Justice in Palestine to FBI-style interrogations which lasted hours.”

And This Is Why Some Humans Will Never Give Up:  We Could Not Live Without the Beauty  of Soul Expressed in This Letter to Bon Jovi by Roger Waters


Letter to the rock group Bon Jovi.


Dear Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, and Tico Torres.


Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli governments apartheid policies by performing in Israel. Having read Jon’s comments last week in Yedioth Ahronoth, I won’t waste my time.


So the die is cast, you are determined to proceed with your gig in Tel Aviv on October 3rd.  You are making your stand.

You stand shoulder to shoulder

With the settler who burned the baby

With the bulldozer driver who crushed Rachel Corrie

With the soldier who shot the soccer player’s feet to bits

With the sailor who shelled the boys on the beach

With the sniper who killed the kid in the green shirt

And the one who emptied his clip into the 13-year-old girl

And the Minister of Justice who called for genocide


You had a chance to stand

On the side of justice


With the pilot who refused to bomb refugee camps

With the teenager who chose 8 prison terms over army service

With the prisoner who fasted for 266 days until freedom

With the doctor banned from entry for saving lives

With the farmer who was cut down marching to the wall

With the legless child growing up in the rubble

And the 550 others who won’t grow up at all

Because of the missiles and tank shells and bullets we sent


The dead can’t remind you of the crimes you’ve ignored. But, lest we forget, “To stand by silent and indifferent is the greatest crime of all”.

Roger Waters