Relief convoy to bring media Armada


What this Freedom Flotilla has over previous relief efforts like the Viva Palestina caravans is a momentum building in the international press. It’s the big ship effect that works for gunship diplomacy, brought to bear this time to enforce social justice, too big to ignore.
(Update 5/24: Australia’s Sidney Morning Herald has three articles: 1. the Turkish sendoff 2. Elvis Costello honoring the BDS cultural boycott, and 3. an in-depth story featuring the trademarked media logo BUSTING THE BLOCKADE!)

Admittedly America’s is a Zionist media. That’s where I suppose the social media campaign must wag the Zionist dog, to mix pun with metaphor. It’s going to help no doubt that the Israeli press is already awash with anticipation.

Where the last Viva Palestina humanitarian convoy crossed continents before the BBC begrudged it coverage, the 2010 Freedom Flotilla, including ShiptoGaza and the Free Gaza Movement have already hit BBC radar. The IHH efforts are being joined by a cargo ship which just left Algiers.

Here are the latest photos from Turkey, a Convoy to Gaza blog being updated by UK activist Lorbital, and Tox’s notes about DAY ONE of relief convoy, day 1075 of Gaza Siege.

With Israel vowing to stop them, and the Freedom Flotilla determined to push through, the showdown will have Western media outlets unable to maintain their news blackout. This will be no USS Liberty pummeled by sneak attack with no witnesses permitted to break the story. The Gaza relief convoy numbers nine ships, with more adventurers joining the escort no doubt, a measure of supporters’ anticipation of an inevitable catharsis for the siege.

The inertia looks good to me. Press releases are flying announcing who’s joining the convoy (now a USS Liberty survivor), and European diplomats are issuing statements that they expect Israel to give the convoy safe passage. Wait until the ships are making the final crossing from Cyprus for heavyweight supporters such as George Galloway or Hugo Chavez to weigh in.

Israeli welcome flotillaThe Israeli press is already running circles. A fleet of Israeli sailboats from the Herziliya Marina is preparing to greet the relief convoy with banners that say HAMAS SUCKS to counter whatever humanitarian message they worry the “peace activists” might score. There’s some speculation that Israel would fare better PR by letting the aid through.

A fortuitous coincidence places White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Israel when the blockade-runners are due to arrive. By Israel, I actually mean the Occupied Territories. Emanuel was trying to book the Western Wall for his son’s barmitzvah. Plans were changed due either to threats from the ultra-right because of US criticisms of continuing settlement building, or because US officials are prohibited from conducting personal business outside of Israel’s Green Line.

Algerian relif convoy shipThe cargo ship which sailed from Algeria today is the al-Jazair. More info on this ship as we find it.

ShiptoGaza Sweden has uploaded more pictures of the loading of the charming Sofia in Athens.

Turkey’s third convoy vessel has been identified as the massive cargo ship Defne Y (IMO: 7725518), loading in Istanbul and due to join the Gazze and Mavi Marmara in Cyprus.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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