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Welcoming 2011 Belated

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2011 really began for me over the holidays of 2010, when our good friends Laurie and Jenn visited for a week.  They often come to Austin, as Jenn hails from not to far away and Austin is a more hospitable place to stay.  We get to hang, but this year was different.  Laurie wanted to talk to me about the US Boat to Gaza and getting me involved.  The campaign was transitioning from a 6 month fundraising effort with moving international departure dates to a period of intensive implementation.  The campaign has decided to create a Boat Council and I was asked to join as a steadfast- meaning I was recognized to be part of a group of people who were invited to join the boat, even at the last minute.   As we spent hours talking, exploring and visioning about the project and mission.  We discussed the delemas of US laws that want to make humanitarian aid a terrorist act. We talked about the blockade and the impact on the poeple of Gaza.   1.5 million people imprisoned, a form of massive collective punishment while all efforts at livehood are thwarted whether you are a teacher, a fisherman, a merchant or youth.   I remembered a powerful moment from Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March, when a young woman got off the bus to Gaza, her only opportunity to see her family.   The power of occupation and blockades to divide families -to tear apart our basic human connection made this mission critically important.  Through  hours of discussion an idea emerged that we should take letters to Gaza as our cargo and that we could drop some of them in the water in bottles in our efforts to break the Israeli military blockade of Gaza.  These letter, love letters could enable 1000’s of others to be with us on the boat.   Their words would be precious cargo on this dangerous mission of love……

I joined the US Boat Council in January 2011 and coordinated the nonviolence training program for the passengers on the Audacity of Hope.