Many of you have been asking us what has happened to the kidnapped passengers and our boat, The SPIRIT OF HUMANITY. Here then is our current update.
All 21 passengers have now left. Huwaida and Lubna were freed right away, because they hold Israeli citizenship.
Many passengers did not get all of their belongings back, many computers were stolen, some that were returned had their hard drives completely erased. Many of the pieces of camera equipment were not given back as well, and, of course, none of the tapes of the boarding, roughing up or incarceration of the 21 people who have been returned.
However, all passengers are already in their country or origin or are returning tonight. The London 6 had a press conference last night, the Bahraini 5 had a press conference in Bahrain over the weekend, and the Irish 2 are being feted tonight with a massive rally at Dublin airport. There will be a big reception and press conference there.
The two men from Al Jazeera have both been returned to Jordan through the Allenby bridge.
That leaves the three Americans… Cynthia McKinney, Kathy Sheetz and Adam Shapiro. We hear little from the American media about these three brave passengers, and it will be up to the Americans to express their outrage over their treatment. If they had been kidnapped by the military from Irah or Venezuela, their stories would have been all over the media. Because they were kidnapped by a ‘friendly’ nation, few in the U.S. have opened their mouths.
As far as Israel is concerned, we will demand that our boat be returned, that our equipment and tapes be returned, and they cease and desist their interference with our human rights trips to Gaza. Because we are going back. Israel can ram our boat, threaten us with bodily harm, shoot at us, board and confiscate the boat, shuttle us off to prison, and we will still return.
The outrage in many countries over what happened is muted by the fact that 11,000 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails, many without benefit of trial, many languishing for years without being able to see their families.
And this fact is something we must all remember. We came from countries around the world. We attempted to break Israel’s draconian siege of 1.5 million Palestinians. Even when arrested, the Israelis treated us with kid gloves, afraid of the consequences from governments, activists and human rights organizations. Who will stand up for the Palestinians and do the same thing?
Please go and watch, if you have not already, our video of our incarceration and the incarceration of Palestinian men, woman and children.
With grateful thanks from all of us to all of you.