Remembering the Mavi Marmara by Supporting the Gaza Ark

This entry was posted by on Friday, 31 May, 2013 at
Irish Friends of Palestine vigil at Derry's Guildhall Square after attack on Freedom Flotilla & Mavi Marmara

Irish Friends of Palestine vigil at Derry's Guildhall Square after attack on Freedom Flotilla & Mavi Marmara

On the Anniversary of the Mavi Marmara Massacre, Irish Friends of Palestine remember the day when armed military Israeli commandos repelled from choppers onto the deck of a humanitarian aid ship in International waters and proceeded to murder 9 civilians [8 Turks and 1 American.]

We had many friends on board the Freedom Flotilla, several of them were injured during the attack. Afterwards we then became heavily involved with the 2nd Freedom Flotilla. IFOP members Phil McCullough, John Mallon, Charlie McMenamin and Gerry MacLochlainn all were involved in the 2nd Flotilla in Turkey during the sabotage of the MV Saoirse. Later Phil and John went on to sail on the MV Saoirse after the repairs. The boat was ultimately boarded by the Israelis and it’s passengers arrested and taken to Ashdod where they were jailed for a week and given a ten year ban on entering israel. IFOP member Sinead MacLochlainn the former Chair of the now defunct Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign said

“ Today, 3 years on from the attack on the Mavi Marmara and 2 flotillas later, the maritime siege on Gaza continues. Irish Friends of Palestine believe the best way to remember those who died trying to break the siege is to support the new GazaArk project which is run by Palestinians from inside Gaza. You can find them on Facebook HERE and their website can be found HERE, you can order goods HERE. The GazaArk is about trade, not aid, and the organisers are asking internationals to purchase goods from inside Gaza which will be loaded onto the GazaArk which will then set sail from the Gaza seaport to a destination where the goods can then be shipped on to the buyers.” she continued; “During our recent visit with Col Ann Wright of the Free Gaza Movement and Gaza Ark, she discussed with us it’s mission. We also took her to Stormont where she was able to deliver a report on the Gaza Ark to politicians from several Political Parties. Irish Friends of Palestine have promised to work together with others to make a purchase of goods in order to support the Ark. We would ask others to consider supporting the GazaArk, today on the anniversary of the Mavi Marmara, what better way to honour those who first tried to break the siege.”

The night of the 31st of May 2010, this report was filed from Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal on board the Mavi Marmara. He sent the report just before all communications were cut by the Israeli commandos who were nearing the ship and beginning to board it by repelling down from choppers. The memories come flooding back as in the video you can hear the chaos and live firing of weapons form the commandos as they hit the deck of the Mavi Marmara.

From its studio, Aljazeera later reported the following:

“Israeli forces have attacked aid ships attempting to break the blockade of Gaza. Commandos lowered themselves from helicopters and onto the Mavi Marmara – the lead ship in a flotilla of six vessels which are carrying humanitarian aid for the Palestinian territory.Israeli Army Radio said up to 16 people may have been killed in the operation.”

In Ireland, several of our members were up all night following the tweets and messages from people on the Mavi and the other Ships taking part in the Freedom Flotilla. We had friends on several boats including the Mavi Marmara, the 2 Irish boats and the ECESG ship. There were some media reports of up to 16-30 dead at one point! We were horrified at what we were witnessing, a military attack on an aid ship in international waters by a roque armed state! The following morning at 11AM we posted this to our members and supporters:

“We have been up all night following this and watching the live feed from the Turkish Humanitarian ship. Late last night Irish time, about 1AM the flotilla began to be surrounded by Israeli Gunboats while they were in International Waters 100 miles out! later they backed off, but just before dawn our time they returned, reportedly dropping armed commandos onto the ship. You could clearly see them live on the streaming feed from the boat. They the attacked the civilians on the boat, killing between 10-25, some reports say up to 30. Israel has called a news blackout, but videos and reports are emerging anyway.
Irish/Derry Friends of Palestine will be calling a protest and vigil TODAY (at the Guildhall) in solidarity actions with others across the world.”

The city came out in huge numbers to attend the vigil/protest we had quickly organised that morning in order to remember the victims and to show our disgust at the actions of the rogue state of israel.

crowd gathering

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness spotted in the crowd

IFOP Member and Photographer Charlie Mcmenamin

People Gathering for the Vigil

Sinead Mac Lochlainn-Chair, (Derry) Irish friends of Palestine

Eamonn McCann of the Derry Anti War Coalition in attendance

Goretti Horgan-Derry Anti War Coalition/Raytheon Women

Irish Friends of Palestine vigil at Derry's Guildhall Square after attack on Freedom Flotilla & Mavi Marmara

Irish Friends of Palestine vigil at Derry's Guildhall Square after attack on Freedom Flotilla & Mavi Marmara

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