PPJPC pair returns from GFM. NBD?

The Colorado Springs peace envoys to the 2009 Gaza Freedom March in Palestine flew back to town last week with absolutely no fanfare, no media reception, no press releases, no coordination by organizers to make an event of their attempted peace mission. They will report on their adventure to the PPJPC at the end of January, but that’s the extent of what those who contributed funds to the project will get for their money.

It’s a furious criticism I maintain against the local Justice and Peace group. They have a paid staff, yet that staff won’t handle press releases nor promote actions. The best they can do is answer when the TV reporters call, to explain the little they know, and throw confusion into the actions of others. It’s despicable, and the sooner the donors and members figure out their best efforts are being sabotaged from within, the sooner that organization can get back on the ball.

Here they had a delegation to Egypt, part of a well planned action to bring attention to Gaza, and the staff can’t even promote it here. Elsewhere travelers coming and going gave interviews as part of events. When they raised funds to do it, I’m sure the benefactors had in mind that the money would go to more than providing a vacation, or pilgrimage, for two to the holy land.

Of course, the Gaza march didn’t build to critical mass, despite the convergence of 1,400 activists on Cairo. The anticipated climactic march through Gaza didn’t gel and thus the media spotlight couldn’t be drawn the way organizers had hoped, irresistible in spite of the blackout imposed by Israeli interests. Even the Viva Palestina aid convoy didn’t get media attention, even with the riveting confrontations and ultimate riot. That procession of predominantly European activists did ultimately reach the Gazans, but still the coverage was throttled.

Who knows what success the march might have found, if it had been permitted to leave Cairo. But the action’s only hope was to pressure the Egyptian government with the strength of all the internationals demonstrating in the streets. The many activists who struck out on their own didn’t help that effort a lick. They justified their decisions based on seeking out compromises to accomplish good, to pursue their own individual aid projects, instead of sticking to the GFM and no guarantee of success. The the goal of bringing public pressure was not helped by the PPJPC ambassadors who opted against team-playing.

Who am I to judge? It’s easy to see where the do-good in small steps can lead. For example, I’m certain that the same ethos would justify rescuing an inmate from Gaza, one by one, if circumstances permitted. No doubt it would be counted a miracle of one by one, all the Gazans were granted asylum somewhere far from the reaches of the IDF guns. In total, however, that would accomplish Israel’s goal, wouldn’t it? Pacifism goes hand in iron glove with tyranny. The Gazans needed unity from the freedom marchers, not peace tourists sneaking around doing quiet good deeds like sponging Christ’s wounds.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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