Free Gaza Movement
I first heard about the Free Gaza Movement via an email from a friend who sends me such info from his email list. The first moment I read about it I had the utmost respect and I decided right away that I would endorse the action and volunteer my services if they were desired. So I sent off an email and within a few days I had a response, the immediate answer was not to be however, the organizers of the action were committed to allowing only those who had direct experience with the organizers or others close to the action in other direct actions… my respect grew stronger. My experience with the Human Shield Movement I created in 2002 made painfully clear that “volunteers” are all too often agents of the enemies of justice, specifically working for the CIA, MI6 and other such government agencies who deal in the business of deception masqueraded as “national security”. So I supplied all the information requested and although my name has been stained to a degree by those within the Human Shield Movement who consider me the devil incarnate, my record of activism and thoughtful response won out and I was accepted as a volunteer for the Free Gaza Movement.
It became clear that my experiences as a boat captain and as a U.S. Marine were most valuable for the mission and the needs it required so I was charged with security issues and possible service as a boat captain. The action was scheduled to set off from Cyprus on August 5 and I was asked to set off early to Greece (Athens), where the vessels had been purchased and preparation for the journey to Cyprus was needed. I arrived in Greece on July 22, one day after my birthday. There I met two of the primary organizers, Paul and Bella. I was excited to meet all of the people, especially the organizers as I had considered their organizational intelligence to be of a very high standard. As per usual I found much in common with them, and our Greek hosts were all an absolute joy. At the same time I found some disagreement with strategic direction in a couple of key areas and as always I expressed my alternate view. At the end of the day however I did not come as an organizer and I fully appreciated the fact that I was not a decision maker, I myself had done the hard work for Human Shields which they were doing for Free Gaza. I have experienced first hand those who think simply showing up to the action warrants equal say in the strategic decision making process. I was not going to do as had been done to me, I was there to work for the boat preparation and journey to Cyprus and I was happy to do just that.
It was apparent however that the workload for the person who was leading virtually the entire boat prep and all the enormous political hurdles it involved had not the time to provide the tools and materials needed for the others who were to work with me in the preparations so I asked my wife and soon to be mother of my child Fadwa to join me in Greece, a place she had already visited six times and loved very much. This was a great blessing as the one thing wrong with the Free Gaza Movement for me was the timing for me personally (child on the way). I am very sad to not be there for the woman I love during this pregnancy, her first, and my first time as a father. I can only thank her thank her for supporting my commitment to this cause. The down time I had with boat work allowed for some consolation as I was able to swim in the Mediterranean Sea with my lady and have some truly quality time.
But our time was short and the hard work of preparing the boats and setting off for Cyprus was upon us. To be continued.