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
hot!
Is it hot
where you are?
Penned up
in a destroyed
place?
In Gaza?

The whole world
distracted
by its weathers
& other
disasters
still is watching
us,
Gaza,
as we yearn
towards each other.

Trying to embrace
each other
to give each
other,
to ourselves
united,
a simple
hug.

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

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

They know this place
we are in, I say,

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

They will forgive
us
if we do not
arrive
on time.

Furthermore,
having left our
own homes
we are
already
there.

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

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

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

We pray they
are of good heart
& balanced
mind.
Even
the spies
among them
we hope
will learn
something
they may never
have guessed
before:

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

I have given
my word that I would
sail
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
streets
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 American flag, as we sail the waters off the coast of Greece and are intercepted by armed commandos of  the Greek coast guard.

 
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.

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 <michael@imeu.net> wrote:

Dear Alice,

The link to the Clinton statement I sent you four years ago is broken so I don’t know for sure if it came before or after Anne-Marie Slaughter’s email to Clinton. See http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/palestinian-solidarity-impossible

I’m trying to find out.

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,
Michael

On Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 2:51 PM, Michael Brown <michael@imeu.net> wrote:

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/06/166868.htm

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


Michael Brown
Senior Communications Manager
Institute for Middle East Understanding
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http://www.imeu.net/>
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Michael Brown, Director of Opinion and Analysis
Institute for Middle East Understanding | www.imeu.org <
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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/>

http://falastinews.com/2014/09/28/israel-drops-cancer-inducing-bombs-gazans/

 


— Israeli army kidnaps children
https://uprootedpalestinians.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/israels-army-kidnaps-another-4-children

children harrassed daily on the way to school
https://www.facebook.com/ismpalestine/posts/10153363096824145?fref=nf&pnref=story

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

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