Gaza Freedom flotilla carried world-renowned names and veteran activists
Author Henning Mankell and Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire among more than 600 passengers
Author Henning Mankell had been due to speak at the Hay festival by satellite link on Saturday, but the connection failed. Photograph: Bertil Ericson/EPA
The largest flotilla launched to challenge the Gaza blockade also carried the most passengers, well over 600 people, believed to include 27 from the UK. Internationally renowned names were on board, among them activists, authors, film-makers, politicians and journalists from Europe, the Middle East, the US and Canada.
Among the most famous is Henning Mankell, author of the best-selling Wallander series of crime novels. Mankell had been scheduled to speak to the Hay festival on Saturday night by live link from the boat, but the connection failed.
One of the best-known international activists is Huwaida Arraf, born in the US to an Israeli Arab father and Palestinian mother, co- founder in 2001 of the International Solidarity Movement, which campaigns against Israel‘s actions in the West Bank and Gaza. He was on the Challenger.
Also on board was the Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, co-founder of Northern Ireland’s Peace People and a veteran of the Gaza flotillas, who was briefly jailed last year when Israel intercepted and towed a flotilla.
The Scottish journalist and documentary film-maker Hassan Ghani, 24 and from Glasgow, was on board the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish vessel attacked by Israeli forces. He was seen broadcasting for PressTV as the commandos took control of the ship. In footage shown on YouTube, Ghani said: “This is the MC Marmara, Hassan Ghani reporting for PressTV. We’ve had several injuries here; one is critical. He has been injured in the head and we think he may die if he doesn’t receive medical treatment urgently. Another person being passed in front of me right now has been seriously injured. We are being hit by tear gas, stun grenades. We’ve navy ships on either side. We’re being attacked from every single side. This is international waters and not Israeli waters, not in the 68-mile exclusion zone. We’re being attacked in international waters completely illegally.”
Read the rest at the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/31/gaza-freedom-flotilla-activists-passengers-israel?CMP=twt_gu