Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fear and death on the Freedom Flotilla

Morning Star Online, Tuesday 09 November 2010

By Brian Precious

Alex Lort-Phillips was on board the Gaza Freedom Flotilla’s boat the Mavi Marmara when it was boarded by the Israeli Defence Force at 4am on May 31 this year.

She had first visited Gaza in January. She was moved to go by the effects of the blockade on Gaza’s people, more than half of whom are under the age of 16.

An experienced youth worker in north London, she understands the devastating effect four years of blockade has on the youth of Gaza in terms of maladjustment and instability. It was also on this earlier aid convoy that she encountered, and grew to admire, the Turkish relief organisation IHH.

So it was when she heard that IHH was planning another convoy, this time by ship as well as land, she decided to join in.

With a friend she drove a 7.5-ton truck from this country to Istanbul, where supplies were repackaged and loaded onto ships.

Turkish customs gave all their aid a completely clean bill of health. She then boarded the Mavi Marmara, which was the main passenger ship of the flotilla. It was carrying, among other things, toys for the children of Gaza. The ship set out for Cyprus, where it was joined by other ships from Greece to make up a flotilla of three passenger ships and three cargo vessels.

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