Breaking the Blockade
By Kevin Neish
In a nutshell, I hate bullies, regardless of size, class, colour, race, religion, or politics. I’ve been a grass roots union and political organiser/shit disturber wherever I’ve worked or lived, and have engaged in human rights and human shield work for years. When called upon, I do a pretty good impersonation of Vladimir Lenin.
I visited Cuba on solidarity/work tours in 1966 and 1990. In 1989 I acted as a human shield for five exiled leaders of the Guatemalan opposition group RUOG, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, when they returned for peace talks. We dealt with paramiliatary death threats and a car bomb.
I was an election observer in El Salvador in 2000 and 2009 and volunteered in 2002 with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) to act as a human rights observer and shield in Bethlehem during Israel’s Easter re-invasion of the West Bank. Israeli forces shot at me on a number of occasions, missing each time. In 2009 and 2010 I worked as a human rights observer in a Colombian prison full of union and peasant leaders and stayed with one of their threatened families as a protective witness.
Regarding Israel’s blockade of Gaza, Israel’s aim is to crush the Palestinian people’s will to resist, thus clearing the way for their complete subjugation. Gazans are being used as an example of what will happen to anyone who stands up against and is opposed to Israeli policy — especially to the Palestinians in the West Bank and neighbouring countries.
By participating in the late May 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, I hoped to help remove the mask from Israeli brutality and oppression and expose Israeli behaviour to the western media. Likewise support for the Israeli government by puppet Arab regimes (e.g. Egypt, Jordan etc).
What is to be done? [as Vladimir Ilyich asked]. Send bigger flotillas to Gaza with more media coverage, in order to expose the blatant racism of the Israeli state in general.
[Editors note: for another account of Israel’s seizure of the Mavi Marmara, read Haaretz’ interview with former U.S. Marine Kenneth O’Keefe]