The sea no longer yields its generous fruits, there's nothing left of the ripples reflecting the sky, and death was the only dowry left by the war ships plowing through its ghostly liquid. We still try to create routes of salvation, make a breakthrough to this tormented land, now confiscated and imprisoned, every inch of it raped and reduced to a cemetery for a dead without rest. For a few days now, even funerals have become targets of the Israeli air force, as if the murdered Palestinians deserved an additional punishment in death as well.
If a humanitarian passage is struggling to make its way and come in aid of a people at the end of their tether, the "Spirit of Humanity", one of our Free Gaza Movement boats, will be there for them. It sailed from Larnaca, Cyprus just today and will bring tons of medicine (from the European Campaign to End the Siege) to Gaza's port aside from about forty doctors, nurses, journalists, European Parliamentaries, and human rights activists representing 17 different nations in all. Truly human beings, like myself, like many in Italy who vent their indignation, who are ready to risk their lives rather than lounge passively in their living rooms in front of a TV which reveals only a tiny fraction of the massacre being inflicted upon us. (The SPIRIT OF HUMANITY passengers were threatened by the Israeli Navy, told they would be shot and the boat returned to Cyprus this morning.)
On December 27th my friends tried to come with "Dignity", but they were attacked by the Israeli Navy, which tried to sink them. They launched an SOS and had to flee to Lebanon with engine failure and a leak in the hull. On that occasion it was only by pure chance that no one was badly hurt, so we hope human rights as well as the lives of the activists will be spared tomorrow. There are terrifying natural catastrophes in this world, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, which are inevitable. But in Gaza has an unnatural humanitarian catastrophe under way, perpetuated by Israel, damaging a people long reduced to abject poverty and submission. This is a desperate people without bread or milk to feed its children. They no longer shed any tears when mourning, as their eyes are also on a strict, imposed diet. The entire world cannot ignore this tragedy and if they continue to do so, we don't want to be included in this world. Every day we invoke someone above us to stop the genocide, but for tomorrow all we ask is for our small boat to land in Gaza with its cargo of compassion, peace, love and empathy. May the Palestinians also receive the same rights that Isrealis, or any other people on earth enjoy. The sea as anchor of hope, or as a destination of destruction.
According to the Ma'an press agency, with Reuters echoing their statement, the United States are about to ship 3000 tons of weapons to Israel, via cargo ships sailing from Greece. Weapons and enormous amounts of explosives and fuses, and all that's needed to raze thousands of houses to the ground in the Gaza Strip. There are 120 thousand homeless from Gaza to Jabalia already, but most, including many of my friends haven't moved and have nowhere to flee. Journalists, doctors and gravediggers: for 16 days non-stop now, these have been the busiest professions in Gaza. The circling vultures beyond the bomber planes stir up more hatred, especially those seated where the late lamented Arafat used to sit. They now itch to come and take over the throne on Gaza's ashes, or what will remain of it. The death toll is now at 923, with 4,150 wounded, including 255 horrendously butchered Palestinian children. The death toll on the Israeli side is still thankfully at 4. Rumour has it that Olmert had informed his side that hitting the 1,000 civilian death mark was the limit before putting a halt to this brutal attack and infanticide. It's a bit like what happens at the Vucciria markets in Palermo, where beef quarters are hung to drip blood out in the open, and you haggle for the meat - so much per kilo.
Few Palestinians now miss Ismail Haniyeh's appearances on the small screen, here in the Gaza Strip. You can't speak of a truce without simultaneously establishing a stop to the siege in advance. Continuing to keep Gaza under siege now that it's been reduced to a heap of rubble, not allowing the provisions and medicine to come through, preventing the sick and injured from getting out means condemning them to a more prolonged agony. These in brief were the words spoken by Hamas's leader, spoken from an underground bunker God knows where. These words find an echo in Gazan public opinion. This was the speech of a leader who could have fled and taken refuge elsewhere, but who on the contrary decided to risk having a bomb drop on his head like everyone else.
This current prose piece of mine was just interrupted by the usual intimidating phone call ordering us to evacuate the building before a bombing. I find myself in the building where the main international media agencies operate, among others Al Jazeera, Ramattan and Reuters (it was just bombed this morning and one journalist was injured. Israel clearly knew the location of the office provided by Reuters in Jerusalem).
We were forced to unplug our PCs, rush downstairs and crowd the street, where we kept our eyes glued to the sky trying to pick out where the destructive thunder would strike from. There won't be any cameras or reporters around to document the civilian massacre tonight, as we suspect that the innocent victims will be more numerous than usual. Still standing in the street, I stare at Alberto and wink at him; he comes closer and I whisperingly ask him whether he thinks it's plausible that the threatening phone call had been made especially for the two of us, after the discovery of the American website which put a price on our heads: ALERT THE IDF MILITARY TO TARGET ISM
#1 ISM TARGET FOR THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE AND IDF GROUND TROOPS: VITTORIO ARRIGONI IS CURRENTLY IN GAZA ASSISTING HAMAS" The future will pronounce its sentence without appeal: of how hatred like this was the purest of all feelings, and how spite towards what's different fuelled whole armies and was the feeling that brought masses of people together.
There's no need for my enemies and those who wish for my martyrdom to dial that number. The Israeli Army knows exactly where to find me tonight - on the Al Quds hospital ambulances in Gaza City.
Il Manifesto link: http://www.ilmanifesto.it/il-manifesto/ricerca-nel-manifesto/vedi/nocache/1/numero/20090113/pagina/01/pezzo/239269/?tx_manigiornale_pi1%5BshowStringa%5D=collante&cHash=3f87794501