Posts Tagged ‘Tahrir’

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Nov. 4, 2011: David Heap, in the wheel house of The Tahrir, in radio contact with Israeli commandos who were preparing to forcibly board the boat.

On November 4, 2011, the Canadian boat, The Tahrir, en route to Gaza bearing medical supplies and solidarity, was boarded on the high seas by the Israeli Navy, as was the Irish vessel, the MV Saoirse. The crews were taken to Ashdod, held in prison for six days, and deported.

David Heap was among those captured, and on May 22, 2012, he was in Winnipeg to recount this gripping story and build support for a new solidarity project, Gaza’s Ark. Harold Shuster and I recorded it for Winnipeg Community TV.

Today, Winnipeg activists responded to the actions of the Greek government to block the Tahrir and other vessels that make up Freedom Flotilla II from sailing for Gaza with an information picket in the city’s Osborne Village neighbourhood.

The Tahrir is the Canadian vessel in the Flotilla. As with all of the other boats and crews, the Tahrir is committed to peace and nonviolence. Its mission is to deliver humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Gaza and to pressure the Israeli government to end its illegal and oppressive blockade of Gaza.

Get informed and take action. These folks can provide both information and opportunities for action.

Canadian Boat to Gaza’s vessel, the Tahrir, is one of several ships attempting peacefully to end Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. Tahrir is a part of Freedom Flotilla II, sponsored by groups from Belgium, Denmark, Australia, United States, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the U.K, Greece, Turkey, Malaysia, and more.  The Flotilla aims to travel to Gaza with approximately 10 vessels including both passenger and cargo ships carrying humanitarian aid.

Greek officials said today that they have banned local and foreign-flagged ships destined for Gaza from leaving the country’s ports. The Greek coast guard has boarded Tahrir in an effort to prevent it from sailing.

We can expect that Canadian solidarity organizations will be mobilizing support for the Canadian Boar to Gaza and Freedom Flotilla II. Please respond when the call goes out.

The following news release provides more information.

The blockade of Gaza reaches the shores of Greece! As it attempts to sail, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir, blockaded in Greece

Greek coast guard are now on board the Tahrir attempting to arrest Sandra Rush, Jewish Canadian member of the Canada boat to Gaza Steering Committee, who is refusing to surrender boat’s registration papers.

Efforts to stop Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human from sailing have included diplomatic pressure and manipulation, economic blackmail, bureaucratic obstacles, baseless and slanderous allegations against the flotilla and the delegates, and sabotage of at least two vessels.

“The world watched as an intensive campaign to prevent the Tahrir and the entire Freedom flotilla II from sailing was underway.  We have been unjustly and duplicitously treated.” said Irene MacInnes of the Tahrir organizing committee. “The government of Israel, shamefully with the tacit support of the Harper government, is doing everything in its power to maintain the blockade. Today, as a result of the concerted efforts of the 4th largest military power in the world and its backers, we have been prevented from sailing to Gaza. Yet we will persevere in our attempts till the blockade is lifted.”

“Israel has in effect extended the illegal blockade of Gaza to Greek ports, using the Greece’s economic difficulties to influence the government’s position”, said David Heap of the organizing committee.

“We remain absolutely clear that the Canadian Boat to Gaza has not been, is not, and has no intention of, breaking any laws. It is the blockade of Gaza that is illegal under international law. We have a legal and moral obligation to challenge the blockade, given the failure of the international community to act”, said Dylan Penner of the organizing committee. “This is why we must continue our attempts to sail to Gaza: to challenge the illegal and immoral blockade and to equally challenge the Canadian federal government’s support for it.”

Meanwhile the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, is at a standoff with the Greek Navy boats, refusing orders to return to shore.

For biographies of delegates aboard the Tahrir visit:

UPDATE: Canadian Boat to Gaza urges supporters to email/fax the governments of Canada, Greece and Israel. More information and sample letters are available here.