Viva Palestina Email Alert
17.00 (GMT) Wednesday 11th March 2009
Many were in tears, some of them inconsolable at having to leave their new-found family. Today, a large number of the convoy members and the activists who joined them in Gaza made their way to the infamous Rafah crossing to leave Palestine and head home.
George Galloway, who met with Prime minister Ismael Hania last night, was due to leave today too. It was a warm meeting where the PM thanked Viva Palestina for breaking the siege and, by doing so, gave a moral boost to the people of Gaza and hope to every Palestinian child.
Prime Minister Hania handed George his personal Prime Minister’s passport as a symbolic gesture of gratitude and appreciation for his stance with the Palestinian people. Other gifts and souvenirs were handed to members of Viva Palestina.
About twenty stayed behind today to tour the area and to meet with various bodies and officials – in order to assess and evaluate the urgent needs of the Gaza population.
Talat Ali, the only convoy leader who decided to stay behind, visited an orphanage housing between 100 to 150 orphans. They listened to harrowing accounts of the slaughter that took away the lives of their loved ones.
Some children are so traumatised after spending days and nights under the rubble of their demolished homes, with the bodies of their parents, that they cannot speak.
Then, the Viva Palestina members visited an area where tents were erected to house the destitute who lost their homes after the bombings. Each tent has a capacity of between 10-15 people. In These extreme weather conditions, whole families sleep on hard ground, struggling to keep themselves warm in the freezing nights.
Last night, F16s bombed Gaza again making martyrs of eight souls. An activist told me that one of the bombs exploded only 200 yards from where they were sleeping. She said ‘ I went back to sleep ‘.
That is the measure of Viva Palestina and the measure of the people of Gaza, who daily say to Israel, “Your bombs do not scare us and they will NEVER defeat us!”
Prepared and translated by Farid Arada