Statement from the Canadian Boat to Gaza:
French boat Dignité of the Freedom Flotilla II leaves Greece
The French boat “Dignité/Karama” (Dignity) left the Greek island Kastellorizo around 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday July 16, 2011, heading south. The ten passengers onboard view themselves as representatives of the whole Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human. The rest of the Flotilla’s ships have been detained in different Greek ports, through bureaucratic obstruction, sabotage, sudden restrictions and withdrawals of flags.
The Dignité, sailing under a French flag, left Corsica on June 25, and has, over the past weeks, been in Greek waters. It has now left — so far without being followed by the Greek coast guard or Navy.
Among the delegates on board is Stephan Corriveau of the Canadian Boat to Gaza, as well as representatives of the French, Greek and Swedish initiatives within Freedom Flotilla II. Onboard the Dignité are also renowned Israeli journalist Amira Hass, reporting for Haaretz, and a team from Al-Jazeera TV.
Kastellorizo, in the far east of the Greek archipelago, is only miles from Turkish mainland. A substantial part of Kastellorizo’s population fled during the second World War to Gaza, where they stayed for years. The present mayor of the island, Paul Panigiris, was born in Gaza, and feels strongly, as do many other people from Kastellorizo, for a population that once hosted them and is now under siege.
The action of Dignité is not a mini-version of Freedom Flotilla 2, but a first wave that will be followed by others. It is a message to the Israeli government, to the international community and to the besieged people of Gaza: The Canadian Boat to Gaza and Freedom Flotilla II are not giving up, until the inhumane and illegitimate blockade of Gaza is lifted.
Gaza, we are coming!