The Gaza Freedom March continues-in Cairo, we hope in Gaza, and around the world. Because of all your emails and the determination of the almost 1,400 people who came to Cairo to be a part of the March, including 300 French nationals who have been camped out in front of their embassy for three nights, we secured a meeting with Madame Mubarak, the president's wife. Madame Mubarak arranged for 100 marchers to enter Gaza to deliver the humanitarian aid we had brought with us, under the umbrella of her organization The Red Crescent.
This was considered a success until we began the difficult task of figuring out which 100 of the 1,400 would go. To make matters more complicated, the Foreign Minister, who had not wanted ANY of us to be allowed in and was angry he had been overruled by Mrs. Mubarak, decided to fan the flames by saying in a press conference that the 100 seats were for the "good people"; and the rest of us were bad "hooligans" who were being left behind.
Some of the country representatives declined their seats, and some delegations decided they would prefer not to send anyone if the whole group was not allowed to go. Those who boarded the buses towards Rafah included journalists who had come to report on the conditions in Gaza, Palestinians who would be reunited with family they had not seen in years, and some members of the team who were committed to delivering the aid that had been collected.
One of the desired results of the march was to focus world attention on the continuing and devastating effects of the blockade on Gaza. The outpouring of support from around the world for the Palestinians in Gaza has been amazing. Twenty-two marchers began a hunger strike in Cairo, including 85-year-old Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor, who has been interviewed by journalists from around the world.
This morning´s New York Times piece
on the march and the hunger strike was a huge success in getting the story of Gaza to a wider audience, and reflected the passion of those who had traveled so far to be a part of this historic movement.
The hunger strikers ask that sometime during the period marking the Operation Cast Lead invasion anniversary--December 27-January 18--you join them in remembrance by skipping a meal, or fasting for a day or a week.* Sign up here:
And please be a part of the international solidarity movement for the Palestinians of Gaza by doing what you can to spread the story, tweet or Facebook the NY Times story and keep up with the ever changing tides of the march on the PINKtank
You can find up to the minute information on our Twitter page
Follow us on twitter and march with us virtually!
** Solidarity actions for the Gaza Freedom March began taking place December 27th to mark the one year assault on Gaza, with more actions scheduled through January 1, 2010. The massive mobilization includes candlelight vigils, concerts, processions, marches, demonstrations, art installations, house parties and movie screenings all over the world. View solidarity actions worldwide:
and visit our flickr slide show:
** Not attending a March or Solidarity Action? Join us in Solidarity Online
The Gaza Freedom March site is being updated almost hourly, so check it out, share the photos, videos and articles with your friends!
"The ONLY recognizable feature of HOPE is ACTION"-- *so ACT today and support CODEPINK with a donation*
and get your Grace Paley t-shirt, designed by Phillip Niemeyer in our store
So here's a toast to our power and our passion -- we have our work cut out for us in 2010!
Medea Benjamin and the CODEPINK Team
(Dana, Emily, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Kitty, Marina, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney)
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now