Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sailing for Freedom. The Gaza Yacht race

Could this be the work of the crack PR team hired by the Palestinians to market their cause? Are they attempting to "rebrand" Gaza, perhaps to market it to the luxury traveller? Its certainly feasible, with the recent construction boom. Or are they simply trying to fill up those 5 star luxury resorts?
No, its not a Latma parody. Its not a joke. Its…. (drum roll please)
The Yacht Race to Gaza
(well, they call it "Sailing to Freedom")

Their website describes the event:

In the light of my participation in the Flotille de la Liberté 2011 (Freedom Fleet 2011) and following the events that occurred during the 2010 Fleet, I have imagined an action which will contribute to the efforts made by so many throughout the World to try to break the blockade of Gaza. To counter the Israeli argument that humanitarian convoys may well permit the importation of armaments and of terrorists, we have thought of creating a sporting event, a sailing race.

This race, “Sailing for Freedom”,
would take the sailboats from Marseille to Gaza in 4 stages :
Marseilles – Tunis,
Tunis – Antalya,
Antalya – Alexandria,
Alexandria – Gaza.
The start will be given in Marseille on 9th September 2012.
The arrival in Gaza is planned for 2nd October.

After the 2010 and 2011 Fleets, should the creation of a 2012 Fleet be attempted? Israel argues that the cargos of humanitarian aid can hide arms and “terrorists”.
This reflexion, and discussions with other members of the crew of the “Dignité Al Karama”, have led to me imagining a different way of expressing our solidarity and support.Having spent most of my life sailing the seven seas, I have imagined the creation of a sailing race.
To go to Gaza not with cargo boats which will always be suspect in the eyes of the Israelis who will justify their boardings in the name of their security
but with sailboats, in the framework of a purely sporting regatta.
No cargo, no arms, no “terrorists".
Sportsmen and women on sailboats.
The idea of “Sailing for Freedom” was born this way.
The presentation of “Sailing for Freedom” will have a definite impact throughout the entire world including Israel which will find it difficult to explain that a sporting event would be a danger to its security. That said, we are obliged to consider the possibility that Israel may prevent the arrival of the boats in Gaza.
So we cannot ask for private yachts to participate, as they may well be boarded by Israel and probably returned in poor condition after an unpredictable delay.
Thus the idea is to reserve the participation in this first edition of “Sailing for Freedom” to the groups and associations that have already led an action at the time of the 2010 and 2011 Fleets.
16 countries are concerned:
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA, to which should be added the project that included Asian countries.

So "Sailing for Freedom", in a nutshell are the same people who organized the flotillas, trying the same tactic with luxury sailing yacts. At least they've completely dropped the pretence that this has anything to do with bringing in "essential humaniatrian supplies"

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Since you published this, the organizers have taken down much of their website. Could it be coincidence? Maybe they realized how ridiculous an idea it was. (Personally, I think it was just a way to collect money to finance these people's Mediterranean vacations.)