Urgency at sea: Answering Gaza's cry for help

The Freedom Flotilla coalition's bold stand for justice

22 Apr 2024 08:45am
Displaced Palestinians take the coastal Rashid road to return to Gaza City as they pass through Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on April 14. - Photo by AFP
Displaced Palestinians take the coastal Rashid road to return to Gaza City as they pass through Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on April 14. - Photo by AFP

THE voyage by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), which kicked off yesterday, stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of humanity, transcending borders and ideologies to champion a cause that resonates with the collective conscience of mankind: the Palestinian cause for freedom and justice.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls for the participation of volunteers from grassroots movements and campaigns the world over. The FFC embodies the epitome of people-to-people solidarity.

Their mission is to dismantle the barriers of injustice and oppression that have for too long besieged the resilient people of Gaza. For over 15 years, the illegal and inhumane blockade imposed by Israel has caused much deprivation and despair in the Gaza Strip, robbing its inhabitants of their most basic rights to health, safety, and freedom of movement.

The call for volunteers received the overwhelming response of 11,000 applications from over 30 nations. This sheer magnitude of support underscores the global determination to confront injustice. However, only 1,000 freedom-loving activists could be accommodated to participate in this mission called Break the Siege of Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Its message to the world is that if political parties and governments fail to do something, the people around the world will come together in unity and undertake a non-violent mission to Gaza to break the siege.

Participants from Malaysia come from a diverse backgrounds of activism which include medical professionals, people with management backgrounds, conservationists, social media practitioners, journalists and academics. Together with members of international civil societies they form the volunteers of the flotilla which aim to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in response to the dire humanitarian situation in the region.

Despite the current escalation of conflict between Israel and Iran, the mission will still be carried out as planned after two (2) days of training on non-violence in Istanbul.

One 5,000-ton cargo ship and two (2) passenger ships which will accommodate the 1,000 participants are set to sail on 21 April for Gaza from the Turkish port of Tuzla. These ships will carry urgent aid material such as medical supplies, food packs, clothing, shelter tents, fresh water and several vehicles including eight ambulances.

Break the Siege of Gaza Freedom Flotilla mission expects to face challenges and obstacles including being detained by Israel. However, at this critical time, the people of Gaza, who currently are on the brink of starvation and famine and who continue to face the brutality of the Israeli regime, are the priority.

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Risk assessments have been done to determine the appropriate date to start the voyage and evaluations carried out including on the technical side of the vessels before voyage is embarked into international waters heading for Gaza.

Farwina Faroque, the Secretary General of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Malaysia when asked whether she is afraid of the consequences if the mission went wrong, replied that, “My mental preparation is already expecting the worst, but I have put all those worries aside and I am ready for this mission. I want everyone to know we all can do something in the struggle to liberate Palestine”.

Farwina has high hopes that the mission will be able to accomplish its goal of breaking the siege of Gaza, as well as delivering much-needed medical aid to Palestinians there. She further added, “at this critical time, it is ridiculous how much effort has been made by world leaders to fund genocide and how little effort has been made to actually save lives. It is also mind-blowing to think that civilians, like the activists in this flotilla, have to seek approval to deliver aid when no approval is needed to kill people”.

While these brave activists are ready to risk their lives, we, on the other hand can amplify this mission by:

I) Gaining information on what is happening in Palestine from trusted sources, strengthening our knowledge of the historical events pertaining to the plight of the Palestinians; raising awareness and educating others regardless of religion, race and background about the blockade of Gaza, the unlivable conditions it results in, and the fact that this colossal human suffering is not a natural catastrophe, but created by deliberate political and military choices.

II) Voicing out and speaking up strongly condemning and publicising the complicity of governments and global actors in enabling the blockade and genocide;

III) Understanding that we all have a role to pressure Israel to abide by international law and end the siege, their apartheid system and genocide;

IV) Supporting the global movement for the boycott of brands based on a company's proven record of complicity in Israeli apartheid; the divestment from procurement contracts and investments in companies complicit in and funding genocide; and pressuring the government to impose appropriate sanctions on countries, companies and individuals who are committing genocide and other war crimes.

Let us amplify these brave souls’ voices, condemn complicity, and advocate for accountability. For in the struggle for justice, every act of solidarity, no matter how small, carries the power to transform the world.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.