Just in case you’re still subscribed, I wanted to let you know I’m heading back to Gaza for approx June 2015, and I will post a new blog direction here when I have one…
This website is no longer live, but an archive you are welcome to use. Its main focus was live daily journaling from Gaza during and after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, and it has been adapted into the book Gaza: Beneath the Bombs. The authors may well be available for talks etc… just leave a message, or have a look at the calendar of events. We would also love to see Gaza: Beneath the Bombs translated into other languages in paper or electronic format, with any profits going to a solidarity project, so get in touch if you can translate.
You don’t need me to tell you what a battle is going on for this flotilla…and I am doing little but watch from amongst my textbooks and stethoscopes. I am sorry I have not given you my usual updates, but I know you will do perfectly well without me. I think I am just still at sea (ha) in many ways, and watching is all I can manage.
Speaking of which.
Al Jazeera made a documentary about Vik and ISM’s Gaza work, and Adie has just told me that you can watch it here, where you can also see the times it is on the telly this week, if you get Al Jazeera.
Vik had two dreams: to become a writer and to get back to Palestine after Israel refused him entry. He achieved both, and no matter how impossible it is for me to believe I will never share an evening of shisha and mojito with him again, I do actually see his life as complete.
As all our hearts follow the 2011 flotilla, named “Stay Human” in his memory, I want to give you my own translation of the first words Vik posted to his Italian blog after he and I and our comrades arrived to Gaza on our two little boats on August 23, 2008.
“History is us.
History is not cowardly governments
with their loyalty to whoever has the strongest military
History is made by ordinary people
everyday people, with family at home and a regular job
who are committed to peace as a great ideal
to the rights of all
to staying human.
History is us
who risked our lives
to bring utopia within reach
to offer a dream, a hope, to hundreds of thousands of people
Who cried with us
as we reached the port of Gaza
…Our message of peace
is a call to action
for other ordinary people like ourselves
not to hand over your lives
to whatever puppeteer is in charge this time round
But to take responsibility for the revolution
First, the inner revolution
to give love, to give empathy
It is this that will change the world
We have shown that peace is not an impossible utopia
Or perhaps we have shown that sometimes
utopia can be possible
Stand firm against intimidation, fear, and despair
And simply remain human.”
– Vittorio Arrigoni
In the words of Vik’s mother, Egidia Beretta:
“This lost child of mine is more alive than ever before, like the grain that has fallen to the ground and died to bring forth a plentiful harvest. I see it and hear it already in the words of his friends, above all the younger among them, some closer, some from afar…we were a long way from Vittorio, but now we are closer than ever, with his living presence magnified at every passing hour, like a wind from Gaza, from his beloved Mediterranean, blowing fierily to deliver the message of his hope and of his love for those without a voice, for the weak and the oppressed, passing the baton.”
Aren’t we lucky to have a vision that is worth all we can give it – even our lives?
Thank you Eva for writing what I can’t; a goodbye for Vik. Last night, my friend Kathleen drew this copyleft image. We always thought Vik had a bit of a Che look about him; he makes a good icon, doesn’t he. For some reason, my Skype contacts have a “call me!” message from Vik stuck permanently under “today” – which appears every day. This makes me laugh – even today – because he hated answering the phone above all things and would spend some time swearing at it before picking it up. I think I’ll leave the message there, just to give me the idea that somehow, if I really wanted to, I could.