Gaza fishers united

Well I finally got out onto the salt chuck today as part of a 55 boat protest flotilla of Gazan fishers.  I’ll let the captions fill in the details and perhaps check out an earlier blog entry I made regarding one particular fisher family’s dilemma.

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After a year of harassment, shootings, kidnappings, torture and 36 boat hijackings by the IDF, the Gazan fishers decide to protest en masse, heading out of Gaza Port north to the Israeli border.

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Young and old looking for justice and support from the international community.  They want their boats returned and an end to the cease fire breaking, IDF attacks.

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Even these smaller craft are worth upwards of $7000 CAN, so when the Israelis steal them, it destroys the livelihood and future for three or more families, and Gazans get less of this much needed food production.  The Israelis always attempt to convince the captured fishers to become collaborators, which appears to be the whole purpose of these kidnappings and boat thefts.

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Everyone is in high spirits with flags flying high (and boats too).

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We all gather at the Israeli border and wait to see what the IDF will do.  But they do not show up, which may be just as well, as these folks were in a very defiant mood.

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Of particular interest to me, being from a fisher family, was the presence of a female fisher skipper, Madleen Kolab.  It seems her father became too crippled to handle the boat, so she stepped into his shoes and into a very male dominated trade, like the B.C. industry several decades ago.

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Pull starting a 40 horsepower outboard is no easy task for anyone but she obviously knows what she’s doing.  The Arab media took great interest in her, which seemed to amuse her.

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Madleen deftly mends nets with a net needle exactly as my father once did, except she uses her hands and her feet!  She kindly offered to take me out for a day of fishing, an offer which I very much hope to take her up on. In so many ways Palestinian women are at the forefront of their nation’s struggle for freedom.  Something you don’t see or hear about in our Western media.

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