Talk Nation Radio for June 29, 2011
Special series on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Libor Koznar on the Audacity of Hope to Gaza, as Freedom Flotilla Passengers begin their Civil and Human Rights Mission on behalf of Palestinians
Once again peace activists are challenging the Israel stranglehold on Palestinians in Gaza, with ten more ships making their way to Gaza with humanitarian aid. Israel has been threatening to board the ships carrying hundreds of peace activists from many countries. We will be hearing from Connecticut residents on the Gaza flotilla who are traveling on the Audacity of Hope.
Produced by Dori Smith
Download at Pacifica's audioport here or at Radio4all.net and Archive.org
Libor Koznar, joins us to talk about his reasons for making the journey. He is a Central Connecticut State University graduate and co-Founder of Art and Struggle, an artist & activist collective. Koznar will be reporting on the Gaza flotilla for Talk Nation Radio, but he may wind up banned from Israel as a result of his efforts. The Foreign Press Association has accused the Israeli government of using "threats and intimidation" in an effort to try to stop media coverage of the 10-ship flotilla. They say the journalists traveling with the ships will be banned from Israel for ten years. (Artwork from the Art at Art and Struggle web page, work by Abdul Hay Mussalam, Village Celebration, acrylic on wood composite, 27 1/2" x 48 1/2", 1985)
Activists on the ship from Sweden, Greece, and Norway, are alleging deliberate sabotage after its propeller cut off while it sat in the dock in Athens. The group is making repairs. Earlier in the month Israelis tried to claim that the Audacity of Hope was not seaworthy, but the ship is set to sail with the others anyway and organizer Ann Wright said the allegations were a false attempt to detain the vessel and prevent their journey.
As peace activists from all over the world including holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, who is now 86 years old. Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker will be on board the flotilla as well as Global Exchange founder Medea Benjamin.
Nobel Peace Price laureates Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi and Ribogerta Menchu Tum have asked for UN support for the mission. Nine people were killed last May as Israeli commandos boarded one of the previous Gaza flotilla vessels, killing nine people. See this link to PeaceJam.
Israeli Navy commandos have already started conducting drills at sea as they ramp up their military efforts to stop the flotilla. Israel asked for US support and got it as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Gaza freedom flotilla mission was not helpful. US officials reminded the flotilla passengers that the Israeli navy had stopped previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea, resulting in deaths, injuries and arrests.
US and global peace activists say they are deeply troubled by America’s inaction as Israel continues to push Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, then construct illegal settlements. Israel has also been under heavy criticism for use of excessive force to disperse peaceful protesters.