By Roger Fowler
Captain of the Kiwi Team to Gaza
27 September 2010
Passing me in the passageway of our ferry to Greece, Viva Palestina project director Nicci Enchmarch speaks two simple sentences which echo in my mind.
Pointing towards the stern of the ship, she says: “I can’t go back there. It reminds me of the Mavi.”
Smiling without humour, Nicci walks on. For the first time I can see the trauma she has suffered after experiencing the Israeli military assault on the humanitarian ship Mavi Marmara which killed nine of her fellow aid volunteers.
I turn and catch up with Nicci. I want to know something. I ask: “Why on earth would you come back again?”
“Because every day people in Gaza go through the same and more,” she replies. “We must stay focused, reminding ourselves of the trauma these people suffer every day.”
Countless thousands of Gaza’s civilians have been killed and maimed by the Israeli military. 80,000 homes have been destroyed. Basic infrastructure, like water, sewage and power, is crumbling or collapsed. Devastated hospitals cannot get vital medicines and equipment.
Israel is still blockading all exports from Gaza, stopping the free movement of its people, and restricting or banning imports essential to healthcare and rebuilding. Israel’s bombs and missiles rain down on Gaza so often that the world media hardly notices. A ruinous collective punishment has been imposed on even the babies of Gaza.
Staffing our Gaza aid convoy are volunteers from five continents who represent the best instincts of people the world over.
Our Kia Ora Gaza team represent all “fair go” Kiwis. Many of you have already donated to our $100,000 Gaza Appeal.
Now our Kiwi volunteers need a little more of your help. We still have $10,000 to go to reach our $100,000 fundraising target.
This last $10,000 is vital to cover unbudgeted costs on the road. And to get a little bit in the bank to meet emergencies as we close in on Gaza.
The Kiwi Team is playing a major role in making our humanitarian mission a success. But we need a bit more help from folks at home to bankroll our work in the field.
Together we can help Gaza. Please donate now.