Friday, May 20, 2011

Canadian Boat, the 'Tahrir', poised to make history – with your continuing support

Dear Canadian Boat to Gaza Supporters,

After an amazing collective Canadian effort we are almost ready for our boat to join the international Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human, of which we are a core member. We are due to sail in the last third of June, with your ongoing help and generous support. We have purchased our Canadian boat and selected the nameTahrir (Liberation in Arabic) from the many names submitted by our supporters. Our delegates are now selected and will shortly be making their arrangements to go.  As well, we have opened a new website under the boat name
The Tahrir is a 25-metre boat which will carry 50 people including activists, journalists both from mainstream and alternative media, as well as a few of the many high profile Canadians that have endorsed our campaign. The Canadian campaign has partnered with other countries and will also carry a small number of delegates from Belgium, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. Tahrir will be joined in the Flotilla by vessels from France, USA, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, Greece and Turkey among others.
Incredibly, and thanks to the hard work of so many of you, we have now reached our original target of $300,000. However, there are still some expenses that need to be covered, such as an extra life craft and communication equipment for safety and media coverage. With a larger boat than originally planned, we also need to purchase more medical supplies than initially projected for the people of Gaza. With one final fund-raising effort from all of us, we feel confident that this money can be raised before we sail. Will you please consider making a contribution now, and asking your friends and contacts to do the same?
On the eve of the second Freedom Flotilla, the Israeli government is busy developing an atmosphere of hostility and even threatening to attack the flotilla as it did the Mavi Marmara last May. It needs to be very clear that the Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign will in no way engage in the hostility. Our delegates will participate in non-violence training before sailing. We will give the Israelis no excuse to treat anyone violently or abuse the delegates in any way should they board Tahrir. Furthermore, we are inviting the inspection of the Tahrir by a neutral independent body. Thus we are demanding that the Canadian government takes concrete steps to guarantee the safety of the humanitarians headed to Gaza, and as we will be carrying exports from Gaza we also demand that the Canadian government takes concrete steps to ensure our safety on our return voyage.
Despite the proposed plan by Egypt to open its Rafah border crossing, the Palestinians of Gaza are still welcoming the Flotilla as the siege persists by land on the Israeli  side, and by air and by sea. These blockades by Israel remain a major obstacle to Gaza’s right to import, export and travel freely. It is the only port on the Mediterranean which is closed to shipping and the only coastal area in the world which cannot access its own territorial waters. The flotillas will not stop until the Palestinians of Gaza regain their full right to travel freely and trade with the world.
Thank you for being part of Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign 2011. Together, we can end the blockade!
In solidarity,
the Canadian Boat to Gaza team

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