Leigh-Ann Naidoo’s diary on the Women’s Boat to Gaza: Day 6

Sunday, 2 October (Day 11, Sea Day 6) 

Today watching the sun rise ahead of us a few things have become clearer to me. I have settled into the 4am-8am watch, which means my day begins watching the sun rise in the East, which is the direction we are sailing to Gaza. As i write this i am overwhelmed and grateful for what this mission has afforded me. Mostly this has to do, i think, with solidarity and its relation to the continued role of women in the struggles of the world. I have learned so much from my Maori, Green Party New Zealand, parliamentarian comrade on the boat around the struggles related to land dispossession, violence, racism and the difficult but important question of how to deal with oppression, violence and resistance.

There have been conversations with the grannies on the boat who have worked for decades in very violent contexts setting up peace processes in Northern Ireland, and resigning from the US government and army to build a movement for peace. The Swedish parliamentarian who was exiled from her home country, Chile and the Spanish activist photographer from the Basque areas. The captain has been a green peace activist and undertaken the most amazing direct actions at sea. The Malaysian gynaecologist who has started three hospitals and does medical operations and raises funds to reduce the waiting time of Palestinians who need life saving operations. The Algerian parliamentarian who is on this mission even as Algeria has no diplomatic relations with Israel, where we are all likely to spend some time in detention in the next few days, and she in particular will have a difficult time getting help.

It is too soon for me to write about all the things that are clarifying. Some of this has to do with the importance of creating, even as it is difficult, opportunities to talk, think, disagree and learn together. That these remain crucial to inform decisive and direct action to resist oppressive situations. And that solidarity, for me, is the ability to struggle with those who are oppressed in one way or another, even if the struggle does not directly affect ones own life. The struggle for the freedom of Palestine may not directly affect many of you reading this, but it does affect us indirectly. Was it MLK who said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”? Gaza, where we hope to arrive in the next few days, is a serious injustice. An open air prison under an illegal blockade.

We have another group meeting to discuss the programme for the next 3 days. We also discuss the ideas and practices of non-violence. There are a diversity of experiences and views on the topic but we are clear that the mission we have undertaken is a peaceful one. I wonder how one of the most well funded military forces in the world will respond to a peaceful boat with 13 women on board. Guesses on board are that they will treat us like previous flotillas and stop us when we get 100 miles from Gaza. They will treat us like the terrorists they believe we are. They will come with military boats and big guns. Trained young soldiers to force our boat off course. They will search us and look for weapons that they think we must have. They will interrogate us to try and find out who else was involved in planning this peaceful direct action. They will detain us. And when they are ready, they will deport us.

Those amongst us who have been through this before describe in detail their experiences so we can prepare and be as ready as possible. Or, maybe, they will let us go to Gaza so we can take a message of solidarity.

This post originally appeared on Media Review Network

Featured image via Twitter.

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