Monday 6 July 2009


Commentary by Chippy Dee,
Photos by Bud Korotzer
July 3, 2009
On Friday evening, July 3, ‘09, the House of the Lord Church on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn hosted a high spirited send-off for the 200 members of the Viva Palestina humanitarian aid convoy led by MP George Galloway and Ron Kovic, VietNam veteran and peace activist.

They will be bringing about 100 truckloads of medical equipment and medicine, through Egypt, to the people of Gaza who are in very desperate need because of the Israeli attack last winter and the 2 year Israeli blockade that is strangling them.

Rev. Daughtry welcomed everyone to his packed church and said that the church has always been at the center of human rights struggles. He is deeply affected by the dimensions of the humanitarian problems in Gaza and called for peace in the area. He hopes all there would soon live as members of a human family.

Some of the organizers of the convoy praised Rev. Daughtry for giving then full reign in his church. The downstairs area is full of wheelchairs, walkers and other medical necessities. They believe this is a very historic moment. Civil rights workers here are supporting the people of Gaza and the people there are aware of their support here.

They have seen the huge demonstrations against the Israeli attacks on their TVs and they are hoping that public opinion will change public policy. Several rabbis are part of the convoy because of their belief in justice. The U.S. consul in Cairo has been invited to meet the 200 Americans delivering the aid because, after all, Obama has said that aid should be sent to Gaza.

There will be a 2nd US convoy at the end of this year, it will go through France and North Africa and is scheduled to arrive in Gaza on December 27th, the anniversary of the Israeli attack.

NYC Councilman Charles Barron spoke with his wife, NYC Assemblywoman Inez D. Barron, at his side. He said it was easier to do the right thing than to be spineless and that he is not a politician, he is an “elected revolutionary”. He will be part of the convoy and intensely hopes that there will be no interference with them delivering the essential aid.

Inez Barron agreed and said that she wished she was able to go. A recording of a phone conversation with Cynthia McKinney from her Zionist prison cell was played. She said that there are 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Many are children and many are being tortured.

Rev. Lucius Walker of Pastors for Peace was the next speaker. His group allowed the Viva Palestina aid organizers to use their financial set-up, their sponsorship, to raise funds since people have been made to feel nervous about contributing. He said that the US government has been complicit in destroying the hopes of the Palestinian people. The government’s silence was very loud when Israel attacked Gaza.

We must find ways to creatively resist injustice. He quoted Fidel saying that “A better world is possible.” The convoy, he continued, is bringing love, justice, and the hope of peace. It is telling the people of Gaza that they aren’t alone, people stand with them. Rev. Walker couldn’t be part of the convoy because he is going to Cuba with the Pastors for Peace to bring aid there. However, he will be part of the next Viva Palestina convoy bring aid at the end of the year.

The next speaker was Daniel Meyers, N.Y. President of the National Lawyers Guild, the oldest and largest human rights bar organization in the country. He said the NLG supports the caravan and the liberation of the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupiers had violated international law by committing crimes against humanity intentionally targeting civilians when using drones and white phosphorus.

Stopping a power that will do anything to destroy a population is difficult. He then warned the participants about conspiracy laws and told them they must be very careful to be truthful and accurate when speaking to any public official. He also assured them that, should they face any legal problems when they return, the NLG will be there to support them.

Fr. Luis Barrios, the next speaker, recently spent 2 months incarcerated in a federal prison for participating in civil disobedience at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning because torture is taught there. It is “a symbol of US despotism towards our Latin American countries”. He said that people who make history are those that “cross the line”. We can create a miracle ~ we can stop Israeli crimes.

Brenda Stokley, organizer of the Million Worker March, said that we have to build a united front in our country, not just get together to deal with individual crises. We have to tell the mayor and Obama to stop being on the side of oppression. Black people are going to Gaza, she added, they are revolutionaries, always aware of the ugly underbelly of imperialism wherever it is.

The final speaker was one of the convoy organizers in N.Y., Lamis Jamal Deek. She sees this event as the beginning of a major movement that will support the Palestinian right of self-determination and opposition to Zionist colonialism.
Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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