24.07.2011 22.Tammus, 5771
Flotilla activists still have much to learn about Gaza siege
The activists who sailed to Gaza are determined and enthusiastic, but they still have something to learn about the siege that began in 1991.
The glittering lights of the magical Greek island of Kastelorizo, from which we had distanced ourselves only two to three hours earlier, once again came into sight on Saturday night, July 16. For the 12 passengers on board the Karama – including crew and journalists whose presence the coast guard had permitted – the boat was too small. The French delegation in the flotilla had bought a pleasure yacht, called it "Dignite" (karame, dignity ) and turned it into a floating situation room, a sauna full of stale cigarette smoke, with eight sleeping berths without water for showering, a deafening motor and poisonous diesel fumes.
Another four "clandestine" passengers were supposed to join those officially registered, and to participate in the group experience of becoming adjusted to discomfort as an act of political rebellion. Three had jumped into the boat the moment it moved away from the pier, without the coast guard noticing. Or to be more exact – pretending not to notice. The only one remaining was the sociologist, the Greek professor Vangelis Pissias, who for mysterious reasons didn't get his new passport on time, and had only a passport that had expired four days earlier….