DAYS 25-26: Damascus to Lattakia

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NEWS FROM THE ROAD...

Day 26 – Thursday Dec 31 ’09

Convoy arriving in Lattakia

If it were needed, another “WHY?”:

At beach with bonfire at a pal refugee camp in Al-Ladhaqiya. Partial lunar eclipse. Pal leadership giving rousing talks. Nice company…

A broken, dispossessed people living in the squalor of a refugee camp set up 40yrs ago r our gracious hosts tonight. What more can i say?

@Zhat (Thank you.)

CONFUSED? NEWS! Bernama: Viva Palestina Convoy Continues Journey To Tartus Port

TIP O’THE DAY! When on the ship: NO FISHING…


Gaza’s Shrinking Borders…

9pm:

Ship likely 2 sail on Sat or Sun. Last 4 tweets fr notes fr Geo Galloway’s phone in with convoy organiser (sorry missed name)… Obvious concern re ship with only vehicles & aid. Sailing very wide of Israel, but precedent 4 Israeli interference in international waters… Some drivers etc have 2 take return flights, new drivers arriving, frustration cos all of them wont see it thru. Huge expense (press tv) @YorktoGaza

At syrian port of Latakia. Will send vehicles and some people to Al Arish, Egypt, by boat on saturday. Rest of us by plane. @Pal_S_Campaign

6pm:

Just arrived Lattakia port. Sleeping 5 to room. On way saw mighty Crac de Chevalieers @YorktoGaza

4pm: Arriving in Lattakia…

Arriving in Lattakia where we will put vehicles onto cargo ships. Driving thru Palestinian refugee camp – great enthusiasm! @Joti2Gaza

SHOCK! 9am: BBC covers journey from Aleppo to Aqaba thru Crac de Chevaliers, Damascus, Amman, Wadi Rum, Aqaba & even Lattakia

Oh, wait… not our Convoy… it’s Alexi Sayle… on a train… in 1996. UK readers can watch Great Railway Journeys here… everyone else, it’s on YouTubeactually, the last section is worth watching, you can see where our Convoy spent Xmas and Sayle’s conclusion still holds true, 13 14 years later.

NEWS! Al Jazeera: Egypt’s FM on Egypt’s controversial Gaza policy

1pm: Watching PressTV online

Press TV report just said ferries unlikely to leave before Sunday cos of bad weather at sea. Poss people flying while vehicles sail. This will cost abt $.5M – Turkish govt and Malaysian aid contingency helping. Worth the cost – symbolic convoy – must open the gates of Gaza… Police in Cairo taking action against international Gaza Freedom marchers,especially the Americans among them. Hedy Epstein featured @YorktoGaza

NEWS! BBCN: Red tape ties up aid convoy…

Dec 31: Batley & Birstall News – click for PDF (thx C&A@BBN)

9am:

Like yesterday we all getting into our vehicles. Let’s pray this time we get to port. Happy New Year to all. @juanajaafar

COMMENT! Mondoweiss: Cairo meets the movement, with tears and chaos and exaltation…

… those who take the Palestinian side will find that they share somewhat in the Palestinian experience. They will experience isolation, division, bitterness, failure, contempt, manipulation.” – read more…

TV! Two reports from Damascus… PressTV, BBC, CH4 & AJE:


Hassan’s latest Press TV report

Al Jazeera report – spot your Convoyer!

4am: Peter2Gaza nails it… (don’t miss his 2 new blog posts below)

Worst is when I hear people begging to join us on the convoy so that they can see their dying fathers so that they can donate their livers or to give bone marrow to save a child. What injustice is this that denies these souls to reunite, what powers are that allow this injustice to continue and how blind humanity is to not see this injustice. May we become aware and dare to change the status quo. @Peter2Gaza

BLOG! Peter2Gaza… Dec 28: Back where we came from but onto Gaza we go! & Dec 29: May we become aware and dare to change the status quo

RADIO! ABC Australia, AM: Activists fall victim to Gaza blockade

NEWS! Malaysia’s Bernama: Palestina Convoy To Use Tartus Port To Get To Gaza

1am: Next stop Lattakia Tartus

Today’s plan fell thru. Now we expect 2 put vehicles onto 2 boats at Lattakia 2moro. Still not clear how ppl will travel tho. @Joti2Gaza

PICTURES! from Joti2Gaza…

BLOG! Nick from YorktoGaza has an update…

LEGAL! National Lawyers Guild Urges Government of Egypt to Heed International Law Obligations and Allow Safe Passage to Gaza for Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina Convoy Members

Day 25 – Wednesday Dec 30 ’09

11pm: Damascus…

Irish folk here said Bob G. gonna join us in EGY. wondering if they joking @juanajaafar

Been in Damascus since last night, waiting for confirmation on our ferries. Will head to Tartus as soon as we get it. @Pal_S_Campaign

PICTURES! @Peter2Gaza: TrainConvoySpotting…

NEWS! Galloway and VP announce agreement with Egypt to allows Convoy to enter Gaza:

COMMENT! We Must Learn to Stress Borderless Acts of Goodness

NEWS! Gaza Freedom Marchers Reject Egyptian Offer To Let Just 100 Enter Gaza & Al Jazeera: Activists reject Egypt’s Gaza offer & Report from Israel Embassy Vigil in London…

PRESS RELEASE! Viva Palestina’s Rebuttal to Egypt’s ‘blunder’ claims…

SMEAR #1! GG & the Y-front bomber… & SHMEAR #2! Israeli ‘farmers’…

7pm:

Back in Syria, set sail for Egypt 2moro we hope. Thanks to all for putting pressure on the Egyptian government! @CorktoGaza

NEWS! Irish Examiner: Irish aid convoy stranded for days after Gaza entry denied & Jordan Times: The Gaza war did not end

Back in Damascus. Egypt is trying everything to prevent our humanitarian aid convoy from reaching Gaza. But we won’t let them stop us! Soon to be heading off to port in Syria to sail over to Egypt… Really hope Egypt does not stand in our way – Gaza needs our aid!! @Fio_edwards

PICTURES! Cork out in support of the Convoy…

5pm: Some on the road, others still in Damascus…

Impromptu stop a Craq des Chevalliers just as the sun sets behind the hills. Awsome sight! @Zhat

TUR gov subsidising our sail and PGPO subsidising 30,000 Brit pounds too. Even then members have to pay nominal fee… Tho we may be able to sail via Med Sea to EGY, don’t mean they won’t further delay us once we land at Elarish. Just have to pray. Hmm. We still haven’t moved from hotel. Apparently SYR gov helping with ports. Lots of paperwork. Team leaders preparing vehicle specs etc It’s cold is Damascus. Not much sun today too. To think we’ve been in tshirts in Aqaba just yesterday. Oh well. Some of us have Re-checked into hotel to rest. At lunch a member was giving out stuffed toys. Some have brought toys for Gaza kids but heard maybe toys Won’t be allowed in. So redistributing to individuals to carry as hand luggage. Toys make kids happy and Israel don’t want Gaza kids happy. If anything they prob want them dead. But f ’em we’re carrying teddy bears in our backpacks. I got me a palm size dalmation. Hope I can make 1 kid’s day. InsyaAllah. Interesting the difference betyeen the NGO and gov types. Very different… The men here are fantastic. They wanna be ahead in everything. Overtake you on the road, check in first so they get rooms, push and shove To get into dining hall first. No sign Islamic chvalry whatsoever. Quite amusing. Losers. Last night a whole bunch of women no rooms Other women with rooms adopted them. Sisterhood rocks. @juanajaafar

COMMENT! ‘Israel is the persecutor,’ says Holocaust survivor on hunger strike for Gaza & GFM Pam: Gaza’s border must be opened NOW…

10am:

Leaving Damascus now for Tartus. Ferry probably tomorrow… Egyptian tweet – “I don’t get it when I read reports saying shame on Egyptians. It should be shame on the Egyptian govt! WE ARE WITH YOU”. @YorktoGaza

NEWS!

Common Dreams: UK US Press Ignores Egyptian Suppression of Gaza Freedom March

China’s Xinhua: Humanitarian convoy to leave for Gaza from Syria’s Lattakia

Israel’s Ha’aretz: Gaza is waiting for Shalit

Online Journal: Cruel onslaught on Gaza

India’s Asianet: Egypt to open Gaza border if Shalit deal succeeds

World Bulletin: Egypt deadline poses new challenge to Viva Palestina convoy

Malaysia’s Bernama: Palestina Convoy Makes Stop Over In Damascus

Turkey’s Today’s Zaman: Turkish FM Davutoğlu renews call for ending Gaza’s blockade

ei: Egypt blocks travel of Gaza Freedom March activists

Ireland’s RTE: Aid convoy struggles to reach Gaza

ACTION! Irish PSC Picket at Egyptian Embassy

11am:

Warm welcome/lovely meal at restaurant in Damascus. Off to hotel now. Great people/city but mixed feelings about being back… Negotiations w Egypt still ongoing. On our way this aft 2 Tartoush where we will take 3 boats to Al-Arish and see what’s what. @Joti2Gaza

we have come back to damascus, now to drive to a syrian port hopefully we get a ferry to al arish soonest – @PGPOrg

Just finished meeting. Convoy leavcing Damascus at noon for port! Yay! @juanajaafar

8am:

Spent whole day n much of last nite travelling. Carried extra pasngr – good company by Jomana from USA. In Dmscs again, onto Al-Ladhaqiy @Zhat

NEWS! EGYPT ALLOWS 100 GFM MARCHERS TO PROCEED…

but… VP paperwork blunder(?!) reason for Convoy delays…?

UPDATE: In his Dec 29 AJE interview, GG mentions a further letter dated Dec 21 with conditions that would “.. be extremely embarrassing to Egypt…” if announced – why wasn’t that released by the Egyptians? @5m14s:

Here are two letters the Egyptian’s released yesterday dated Nov 10 and Dec 10: (click for transcripts)

NEWS!

#GFM / UK’s Norwich Evening News: Norwich councillor in Gaza house arrest

Al Jazeera Arabic has a Convoy ‘map’ also… – our boat is way cooler than there’s 😉

Digital Journal: Palestinian humanitarian aid convoy on the move again

IMEMC: Viva Palestina convoy re-routed through Syria

Turkey’s Zaman: Palestine: A turning point? – mentions @juanjaafar & @ramgk

Malaysia’s Malay Mail: Viva Palestina Convoy Takes Another Route To Gaza

Ma’an: Egypt: Viva Palestina must obey our rules

Syria’s Al Watan: Gaza Convoy heads for Lattakia & Al Watan Online…

Jordan Times: Gaza aid convoy leaves for Syria

Petra.gov.jo: Organizers of “Viva Palestina” thank Jordan

Turkey’s Hurriyet: Gaza aid convoy to take longer route after hold-up in Egypt

NEWS! Jordan Times front page: Gaza aid convoy leaves for Syria

Dec 30: Jordan Times – click for PDF

Why? “Met Galloway in person. Passion convinced me to stay w Viva Palestina convoy”@UWSDoc

BLOG! TheSitch… Miles From Gaza: Part 3Part 2Part 1

1am: On familiar ground…

Back in Damascus at 12.30 after 14 HOUR DRIVE. Tired but in good spirits… where I joined the convoy 8 days ago! Tomorrow the ferry we hope @YorktoGaza


Dejavu. we’re back at the hotel we stayed at in Damascus. thanx to EGY monkeying for Israel, we’ve had to do a roundabout. what’s nice is hotel people still giving us warm welcome despite 2nd time visiting and mission still not accomplished. we’re all absolutely beat. drove for 12 hours today from Aqaba to Damascus. people still checking in. unlikely to know details re sailing till tomorrow. we can either sail from SYR or LEB. so we’ll see. it’s really, really sad how the biggest losers in all this are the PLEs. we got all these medicine that need to get delivered, some have expiry dates. so sad. so so sad… friends here bitching, can’t get onto Facebook. SYR blocks Facebook and Blogspot i mean Blogger @juanajaafar

NEWS! Reaching the Gates of Hell is not so easy – Egyptian ruler Mubarak torpedoes international voluntary aid to Gaza…

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Day 23-24: Aqaba to Damascus »

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