Report from Istanbul

Hello friends who are following the flotilla here!

Istanbul – I spent a day and a half flying and arrived at 3 am. I grabbed four hours of sleep and then walked into the office of the aid agency IHH, only to be whisked into a Flotilla 2 leadership meeting, as I’m the lone Canadian rep in town. That was followed by a press conference with a couple of dozen TV cameras and many more reporters, and I was put on the stage as the (somewhat sleepy) Canadian representative.

The purpose of the meetings and conference is that the Mavi Marmara will not be joining this flotilla to Gaza.  It seems that the damage done by the Israelis (see my photos) coupled with several humanitarian disasters which IHH responded to in Pakistan, Libya, Japan and now on the border with Syria has combined to tax the limits of IHH. Over half a million people apparently applied to sail with the Mavi so there are many people around the world saddened by this news.

Of course, the Flotilla is carrying on with many ships and human rights observers from around the world on board them.  The Israelis were claiming this flotilla was some sort of evil Turkish scheme, so I’m not sure what they are going to say now.

Turkish IHH aid workers, male and female, will be joining the other flotilla ships, possibly including the Canadian boat, so they will still have a strong presence. And the endorsements keep flowing in with the four female Nobel Peace Prize winners all supporting us, which includes Rigoberta Menchu Tum, who I had the pleasure to work with in the distant past.  Angela Davis and Gerry Adams are also standing with us.

But of course without the Mavi I’m left without a ride to Gaza.  As I mentioned there were signs when I visited the Mavi in December that this might happen, so the Canadian Boat to Gaza left a tentative opening for me just in case.  So in a few days I’m flying off to another country to join the CBG with 30 or 40 other Canadians, for two days of non-violent resistance training. IE: how to take a beating and tear gassing politely. How Canadian!

I leave this week. Watch for us sailing to Gaza around the 24th of June.

Thanks for your interest and support.

Good night from Istanbul,

Kevin

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