Kia Ora Gaza
20 October 2010
This morning, at 0500 hours NZT, in the Syrian port of Latakia, Roger Fowler’s ambulance was loaded onto the ship Strofades IV bound for Egypt.
“What a fantastic feeling!” said Roger, who’s captain of the six-person Kiwi Team on the international Gaza aid convoy being led by UK charity Viva Palestina. “There’s great jubilation all round me as convoyers begin the last leg of our long journey to Gaza.”
The epic month-long aid mission involves 400 volunteers from 30 countries driving 150 vehicles from England, North Africa and the Arab East all the way to Gaza, where they will deliver NZ$7 million worth of humanitarian supplies.
The Strofades IV is taking all convoy vehicles and 30 of the volunteers, including Roger’s son Hone Fowler, also a member of the Kia Ora Gaza contingent.
Their ship will travel the same waters as the Mavi Marmara whose Gaza-bound humanitarian voyage last May was halted by attacking Israeli commandos, leaving nine aid volunteers dead and 50 more wounded.
Tonight the other 370 convoyers will depart Syria by chartered aircraft. They are flying to Egypt’s port of Al-Arish to reunite with the ship carrying their aid vehicles and 30 comrades.
From Al-Arish it’s just a 19 kilometre drive across Egyptian territory to Rafah, the only land gateway into Gaza not controlled by the Israeli military.
“Egypt agreed to unlock their back door to Gaza after a tense ten-day standoff with the convoy,” said Grant Morgan, an Auckland-based organiser of Kia Ora Gaza. “It’s a great triumph for our humanitarian mission, and a huge defeat for Israel’s inhuman siege of Gaza’s suffering citizens. Our convoy is about to bust the blockade.”
All going well, the convoy could be entering Gaza this Friday. Already the 1.5 million residents of Gaza are getting ready to cheer them into their besieged Palestinian enclave.
“How do you feel?” a Syrian TV reporter asked Chris van Ryn, vice-captain of the Kiwi Team, as he watched his ambulance being loaded onto the Strofades IV.
“Victorious!” replied Chris. “This is a victory for the Palestinians. And we will overcome every obstacle as we have done over the past weeks. We will not surrender, and we will drive our aid vehicles into Gaza.”
D E A R S U P P O R T E R S
A very big Thank You to everyone who has donated to our Gaza Appeal. Your support is sustaining our Kiwi Team as the international aid convoy gets close to Gaza.
We are still in need of contingency funds. To see how to donate, go to kiaoragaza.net
Our website also carries daily updates on convoy progress.
Co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza
021 2544 515