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Breaking down the barriers

15 December 2009

All sorts of good things to report.

On the media front, the mainstream in Britain may be ignoring us, but, one way and another, we are being heard all the same.

I’ve never had much time for all the ‘broadcast your life’ social networking stuff before, but, on a mission like this, it has really come into its own. A whole network of Twitterers, bloggers and Facebook users are pushing the message out far and wide. And every little plug really does make a difference.

Last night, I gave a short phone interview to the Lebanese Daily Star, who contacted me via Twitter. This morning, the New Internationalist contacted me via this blog asking if I’d write some posts for them too.

And at the Greek-Turkish border just now, as well as getting victory signs from soldiers on both sides, we found an amazing welcome rally had been organised right by the Turkish entrance barrier! In Britain, the police would be setting the dogs and tear gas on us. In Turkey and Greece, the police were joining in. Which is even more significant given the tense relations between the two countries …

Chanting, speeches, TV crews and a generally joyous atmosphere prevailed. There were rumours the convoy made Greek national TV, and it looks like we’ll be reported on Turkish telly too.

The ordinary people of Greece and Turkey have proved extremely eager to demonstrate their support for the convoy, too, offering food and drink, waving, beeping horns and waiting around for hours in the cold to cheer us on.

Heading for Istanbul now, with a police escort all the way and lots of people out to wave us on. We’ll stay for two nights and then leave reinforced by contingents from Malaysia, Turkey, the USA and more, taking us to a grand total of 200 vehicles and 450 people heading for Gaza.

People of Palestine – the world is with you!

More things we have learned:

1. Uploading photos to the internet one by one from a phone is very, VERY slow. Be sure to find free wifi and a friendly caff to sit in.

2. Arriving at a grid layout camp site after dark is not conducive to orientation.

3. When navigating a dark campsite, some kind of bread trail or ball of string may help avoid unnecessary and circular wandering as you first try to find hot water for washing up, then try to get back to your van, and finally try to figure out where you put the very heavy bowl of soapy dishes when all the wandering was getting too much.

4. Wet hair doesn’t dry at night. Reading a book for two hours in the hope that it will only leads to sleep deprivation. You will still have bad hair in the morning. This look is not enhanced by black circles under the eyes.

5. It’s true: a watched kettle really doesn’t boil. Best to blag your hot water from someone who started earlier. And fill up a thermos for later while you’re at it.

6. There is no limit to the number of cups of tea a tired driver can spill or otherwise fail to drink. Even though a nice cup of tea is all that said driver really wants.

7. A minibus cannot race an ambulance. Or any other vehicle. Sometimes, it cannot even race a brisk pedestrian.

8. Contrary to the picture postcard images, Greece and Turkey are extremely cold in winter. Bring thermals. Wear thermals.

9. It is not possible to look cool in thermals and three jumpers. Anyone who appears to offer proof to the contrary has clearly entered into some kind of Satanic pact and will get their comeuppance in the hereafter. Ditto with good hair after 10 days on the road.

10. A camp fire will lift the spirits on the coldest night. Fire + singing + friendly faces = perfect happiness.

11. There is more anticommunism among Labour and trade-union types than among many passionately devout muslims.

12. Sometimes a policeman CAN be on the right side. Extra respect to all the cops and army boys who have given us the victory sign in the last few days.

13. Even the shepherds in Turkey are friends of Palestine.

14. International solidarity is alive and well among the ordinary people of Europe and the Middle East. In our thousands, in our millions, we are ALL Palestinians!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 December 2009 5:23pm

    Bravo!! what you are doing is amazing and inspiring and of course the right thing to do. Hope to join you next time, meanwhile will help you in other ways. Complacency is not an options. We are not roaches and barnacles – we have the responsibility to stand up for our deprived and tortured brothers and sisters of Palestine. We must act – if not now when, if not us who. Viva Palestina

  2. 15 December 2009 10:54pm

    Hiya, can you add our blog amongst your blog list:

  3. Tanya Jane-Patmore permalink
    16 December 2009 11:14am

    Following you all step by step all the way! Cheering you on as best we all can! And doing our best to pass on the information to others, whether interested or not.

  4. 16 December 2009 11:24am

    Tears of joy as I read your news. Have you heard that Livni is afraid to come to London in case she gets arrested for war crimes! Tears of laughter when I read that. Hope the gaz stove is doing its job for you and that you have been able to get refills en route. Sounds as if you need something to keep providing hot drinks. Wish I was with you cold and all!

  5. 17 December 2009 12:13am

    you lift up my heart at what you all are doing, in this terrable world we are living in, were human life means nothing, i pray for you all god bless you..anne

  6. politicaltheatrics permalink
    17 December 2009 12:42am

    Can’t wait to see you in Gaza!
    You have definitely made us proud love.

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