10 March 2009

Tears of joy on the Via Maris

The vanguard of the Viva Palestina entered Gaza yesterday. Others wait on the Egyptian side to be 'processed'. But there is great joy.

Viva Palestina Email Alert 00.00 (GMT) Tuesday 10 March 2009


The Viva Palestina convoy drove slowly along the Salah Eddine road leading to Gaza City taking in the atmosphere around them and savouring the moment of history they had just created.

Along the way, thousands of Palestinians, the other heroes of this beautiful story of resistance, defiance and hope approached every vehicle kissing, touching, hugging the bravest of Britain. They handed their babies, their young children, to the convoy members so that they could be embraced, as if the angels were in town. Drenched in flowers, tears were flowing on both sides.

Further up the road, they could see people coming out of their tents and the ruins of their destroyed homes running towards them, rubbing their eyes in disbelief that the siege has been broken and they were not alone.

In Gaza City, it was jubilations and celebrations tonight where the guests of honour did not want to be considered as guests - but as part of the ever-growing Gaza family. The Gaza authorities have organised a rally in honour of Viva Palestina and a program of activities that includes a tour of the damaged areas including schools, hospitals and other amenities.

Some support members of Viva Palestina who managed to cross on foot after a ten-hour wait at the border are staying at Rafah tonight as guests of the Gaza governing authorities. Unfortunately, some other members are still awaiting permission to cross. They are hoping that the Egyptians will allow them to join their friends tomorrow.

An eventful day, with a roller-coaster of emotions, is drawing to an close. Tomorrow Viva Palestina will tour Gaza to see, at first hand, the plight of one and half million people in the densest concentration of people per square kilometre on the globe.

They will report on the scale of the calamity in what, in reality, is the world’s biggest concentration camp, where people have endured a never-ending siege and where they have nowhere to run when the F16s decide to play their deadly game with the children of Gaza.

Farid Arada