Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom), carrying 27 people from nine countries, including Palestine, have successfully reached international waters. The boats are currently in the Mediterranean Sea, preparing to sail for Gaza within a matter of hours.
On board, Michael says: “We make this move towards freedom for all of those who have been oppressed and all those in the struggle.”
In July this year, Michael took part in the Freedom Flotilla 2, which attempted to sail from various Greek ports in order to challenge the siege on Gaza. Michael was arrested and charged in Greece for his role in assisting the Tahrir leave port to sail toward Gaza.
Free Gaza Australia spokesperson James Godfrey said: “The Tahrir and Saoirse are now in international waters and hope to reach the shores of Gaza in a matter of days. Our main obstacles now are the Israeli Occupation Force and the complicity of Western governments including Australia. The wind of public opinion is in our sails as the people of the world reject this illegal blockade.
“We demand that the Australian Government takes all necessary steps to ensure Michael’s safety and that of the Tahrir. In particular we call on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to make representations to Israel to not interfere in any way with either of the boats as they peacefully sail to Gaza to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade.
“Palestinian people in Gaza demand their human rights. They call for solidarity not charity. While humanitarian aid is helpful, Gazans are still prisoners with no freedom of movement, in violation of fundamental human rights. The blockade also prevents imports and exports of most goods which stifles economic activity and independence for the people of Gaza.”
The Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative is a non-violent, civil society movement to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza. Like the Occupy movement, the people of the world are saying no to military and economic power taking precedent over human dignity and freedom.