Thursday, August 11, 2011

Once More to Tahrir by Miles Howe

Originally posted on July 15, 2011 by the Halifax Media Coop at

Once more I return to Tahrir Square to further my education in peaceful revolution. If there is one lesson to take home from this night, it is in the making of space for different expressions of the same over-arching goal.

There are rock concerts and political rallies, side by side. There are hunger strikers, and those who sit in quiet contemplation, and those who cannot wait to be hoisted onto the shoulders of friends, megaphone in hand. The mothers and families of those martyred in the Square are there, as is the aspiring politician and his family. Some are painted. Some wave flags.

Some ask me why they see images of people burning Korans in America. I have no answer.

Some ask me my thoughts on Palestine. For that, I let a picture speak a thousand words. I show them tiny photos of the Tahrir's Palestinian's flag, flapping in the wind against the backdrop of a Greek coastguard cutter. We understand each other.

I meet Soha Kneen in the evening cool of the Tahrir tent town. Kneen and I have shared a brief, but powerful, life experience aboard the Tahrir. Readers may remember Kneen as one of the brave 'Kayaktivists'. We speak of the boat, and the Flotilla, which as of writing still had one boat sailing onwards to Gaza. The Diginte-Karama, from France, continues onwards, and Stephan Coriveau, of the Canadian Boat to Gaza steering committee, is now aboard.

"(Although the Tahrir didn't make it to Gaza) I think we won the public relations battle," says Kneen. "We got an incredible amount of media attention, globally speaking, onto Gaza. So we didn't make it to Gaza. We'll make it next year."

Kneen continues. "I think it was incredibly important that the truth was widely broadcast. That the blockade had been outsourced to Greece. That Greece had essentially been blackmailed into doing what they were doing. The Greek people stood behind us, the Greek government took actions that were, shall we say, questionable. I come out of this very positive. Because we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, in part. The information is out there. Now we just need to break the blockade."

Our thoughts go out to the people of Gaza, the crew aboard the Dignite-Karama, to those in Tahrir Square, and wherever peaceful revolution is strong, and vibrant.

Check out Miles' coverage of the Canadian Boat to Gaza's journey on Dispatches from the Tahrir.

~ reposted by Sofia Smith

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