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Ship to Gaza Sweden can look back on an eventful year when we together with our coalition partners in the Freedom Flotilla managed to keep the resistance against the siege of Gaza near the top of the world political agenda. We are now looking forward to the year of 2011 when the siege will be lifted and ended completely and permanently.
Our work, as human beings opposite to those in power, continues around the country continue. We have done and are doing actions in the streets, we spread our flyers and are collecting money.
Sales through our website has begun. We sell seamile certificates and cement, t-shirts and badges as never before. We have produced a book and a CD which is in high demand. We give lectures about Ship to Gaza and participate in debates around the country.
The work on the register of members has finally begun. More information about that will come soon.
On the international level the next Freedom Flotilla is being planned right now which apparently will be considerably larger than the first Freedom Flotilla..
Organizations from many of Europe's major countries, but also from Norway and Switzerland, as well as from the U.S. and Canada, many Latin American and Asian countries are currently in the process of joining. Sofia (or Eleftheria Mesogeios); our beautiful blue boat that we own together with Ship to Gaza-Greece, has been inspected on site in Haifa. Unfortunately, she badly damaged, but will soon to be towed back to Athens, where a festival is planned for her arrival. Because we had insurance on Sofia, the insurance comapny will hopefully pay for her to be towed back and repaired.
The following is a summary of some activities that Ship to Gaza Sweden have had in the past months and a calendar of important coming events in the beginning of the year 2011.
Ship to Gaza in the Socialist Forum:
Saturday 27/11-2010 the following participated at the Socialst Forum at ABF in Stockholm; Mattias Gardell, Ann Ighe, Victoria Strand and Mikael Löfgren.
Mattias and Mikael appeared also on the seminar about Islamophobia and the similarities and differences between today's Palestinian movement, and yesterday's anti-apartheid movement.
The need for an active local union in Stockholm that can be mobilized at these events came to the fore.
The Ship to Gaza book in the Swedish Libraries.
The Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs has decided to give our book "Ship to Gaza. The Background. The journey. The future "state literature support, which means that the book will be purchased to 291 libraries in Sweden.
Ship to Gaza in Swedish TV Chanel in the programme called “Uppdrag Granskning”
A one hour documentary about Ship to Gaza / Freedom Flotilla, with interviews with passengers and unique images that had been smuggled out.
The program clearly showed the brutality of Israeli soldiers used in the attack in international waters.
The entire programme is available on www.svtplay.se, together with extensive bonus features. "Uppdrag Granskning" showed in their extra material that Israel not only tried to gain a monopoly on movies from the events, but also manipulated the sounds and images to the media.
Among the extras are also the autopsies available, for the first time in English, "The autopsy reports showing that the passengers were shot in the head and back, two passengers from a close range and several passengers when they were filming or lying wounded on deck."
Ship to Gaza / Freedom Flotilla is now planning for the next, larger Flotilla in the spring of 2011, since 1.5 million people still are living in an illegal and totally unacceptable politically created humanitarian emergency.
Coalition Meeting in Rome
On behalf of the Committee for Ship to Gaza Sweden, Mikael Löfgren attended a meeting with the coalition's media committee in Rome 10/12-2010, which a pre-meeting to the large coalition meeting. The meeting was preceded by a meeting in London a few weeks ago, which neither we nor the Greeks were invited to.
During the meeting in London the assambled began to outline a Media Centre in London for the next Freedom Flotilla.
The meeting itself was attended by a dozen people, most related to the organisation Free Gaza. The atmosphere was good even if it heated up sometimes. Some accentuated the professionalism of those who will fill the media center while others accentuated the emphasis on the political skills and relationships the Committee.
Steering Group. Of course, Mikael Löfgren made the obvious point that in many ways London is a great choice but that we must first have a flotilla, or ships and cargo to report on, before we establish a media center that will cost a lot of money (about one half million SEK).
Ann Ighe and Dror Feiler participated in the larger meeting with the coalition's committee. The proposal about the media center was, so to speak, nor adopted or rejected.
All the participants agreed that there should be a well-organized, central media operation. But, they wanted to wait to decide if, when and where an office will be established. IHH said they probably have the resources to offer an office, in Istanbul. The office must partly be funded - but it may be at different levels - and it must be controlled by the coalition.
The idea is that all members of the committee now (the larger group) can or should nominate members to the media group. Greek Digital Flotilla (Digitalflotilla.org) becomes the Freedom Flotilla 2.0 's meeting-point on the web.
Witness Gaza is a great and big resource, a kind of a library. Fatih, Vangelis and Amin formed a logistics committee, which will be a resource for all the passengers in the boats. Another meeting, specifically for this purposes - to check the status of the boats and all around - will be held in Athens on January the15th 2011. We need to send someone and this one has to have a proxy, “a power of attorney “, which is valid in Greece, so that our ownership to Sofia to become fully operational.
During Coalition meeting a new group was formed. A group that would deal with and prepare the political campaigns on international level. Coordinate pressures and on the politician, etc.
The Convener of the group is Muhammad M from London and from the International Campaign. We should nominate someone to the group as soon as possble. Knowledge of political institutions nationally and international good - political imagination is required!
Discussions on strategies will continue, for possible futured attacks. We should make some brief points to take with us to these discussions. We have had some discussions with Ship to Gaza-Norway, and many quantities with networking in general!
Release party for Ship to Gaza CD
Finally is the Ship to Gaza's cd collection here! 15 artists attended in this solidarity project in which all money will go to the people of Gaza,
The album contains everything from American campaign songs to Norwegian rap to Swedish hard rock. From Swedish progrock veterans like Jan Hammarlund to younger pop talents such as Billie the Vision and the dancers, Promoe and Håkan Lidbo. The album is sold through Ship to Gaza's website (ww w.shiptogaza.se) for 100 SEK plus postage .
The first release party took place on Thursday 16/12-2010 at Tröls at Karlskronaplan in Malmö, where heavy rocking Apa State Mental and rapper J Da Philosopher performed on stage and Magnus Sveningsson (from The Cardigans) was the DJ.
The event was a success. 80 to 90 people showed up and we sold some Cds.
Advent Activities in Gothenburg
From the sale of candy, books, pins, T-shirts during the weekends in December in the marketplace in Haga, was the amounted to 2750 SEK, which Kina from Gothenburg put in to our account. The collecting box gave us1060 SEK, some are not emptyed yet.
In general, all those who stood in Haga marketplace during these days were happy. Visitors of Haga were curious and sympathetic towards Ship to Gaza.
”A big lighted candle in the dark”
KG Hammar the former Archbishop payed tribute to Ship to Gaza in the Annedal Church in Gothenburg.
On Saturday night, the 18th of December 2010, there was a solidarity concert ”Candles for Gaza ”to favor of Ship to Gaza's work for the trapped population in Gaza in Annedal Church in Gothenburg. Nearly 500 people of all ages had responded to the invitation to light a candle for Gaza.
They listened to songs and music by Trio Samara and Vocal Ensemble Amanda and Sara Bessa who read selected passages from the so called Gaza-monologues. They, the audience, also listened to a dedicated and impassioned speech by former Archbishop KG Hammar.
KG Hammar's speach:
- Tonight we light a candle for Gaza because Gaza is the planet's largest prison. 1.5 million people are living in an area as big as a quarter of Öland (one of Sweden's islands). Trapped with out any chance to get out. He continued:
- The crime is that few among the population of Gaza, because of the imbalance in power and access to natural resources that exist between neighbors, in frustration send off a few rockets over the border. The crime is that the population of a free democratic elections have chosen the wrong government. A crime penalty is awarded. A collective punishment in prison. KG Hammar accentuated the importance of careful language. It is not Jews, northe Israelis in general, who are responsible for the occupation and the blockade policy, but Israel's political leadership.
And:- ”We must be able to criticize the state of Israel's policies without being called anti-semites. ”
KG Hammar drew parallels to South Africa. It is "possible to seek reconciliation means to replace the collective punishment and revenge. He reminded the audience Nelson Mandela's words: ”My freedom is dependent on your freedom. As long as you arenot free, I can never be free.”
K G Hammar ended his speach by paying tribute to Ship to Gaza:
- And tonight, we remember in particular a big lighted candle in the dark. Ship to Gaza. About six months ago the Flotilla sailed based on we all can experience: transnational solidarity, international law and human rights as grounds, and non-violence as roads and resources.
The last proved to be feared by the opposite side. Much energy was spent to show that it was used very little violence, some resistance to legitimize their own use of violence. The one that has all the forces of violence is most afraid of someone who stands up to nonviolence for the disappearance of legitimacy. It is hopeful that we live in a time when we get to experience this. KG Hammar's speech in solidarity concert ”Candles for Gaza” 18th of December2010 in Annedal Church in Gothenburg. We light a candle for Gaza tonight.
"I have lit a candle for you. We have heard it very often. We may also done that now and then. People in our country has often been in a church and lit a candle. I have prayed for you and anyone who says I have thought of you. And it means that you are in my life. You whom I have lit a candle for is part of my life, in my thoughts and in my heartbeat. Tonight we light a candle for the people of Gaza, and especially for all the children of Gaza.. "The light shines in the darkness, the darkness has not overcome it." So it says in of Christmas Bible readings from John (John 1:5). It is a way to describe our situation in life, all human life. The light shines in darkness the darkness has not overcome it. It is not a description of life for some successful, who thinks the sun's shining at all times but it is for us all. Even for those who often feel the darkness. And we all do if we just take in more of our world. If we just light candles for others, who would then become part of our own lives.
Tonight we light candles for Gaza. Why? Because Gaza is our planet's largest prison. 1.5 million people live in an area which is like a quarter of Öland.
Trapped with out any chance to escape. Without the ability to obtain the necessary food, medicine, school equipment, equipment for factories, production, work or rebuild after the war. The war with such a disproportionate destructive force affected the population of Gaza for almost two years ago.
What was the crime in order to collectively condemned to such a sentence?
The crime is the people belonging. Belonging to a people, kind, who, just as neighboring people are historically linked to one country. Where a compromise is necessary. The crime is that few among the population of Gaza, because of the imbalance in power and in access to natural resources that exist between neighbors, in frustration, sending some rockets over the border. The crime is that the population of free, democratic elections have chosen the wrong government. For the crime is penalty awarded: collective punishment in prison.
Reciepts from the concert.
Ship to Gaza-Gothenburg sold pins, books and CDs for over 5000 SEK and in our 2161 SEK collecting boxes
The Collections in Church gave us 23 162 SEK
- It was unusual amounts of coins, said the sexton. The audience almost only gave large notes!
A fantastic result from a fantastic evening.
Many thanks to Conny and Co who made up the nice program!
Two brave members from Ship to Gaza Borås/Sjuhärad
Two brave members of the Ship to Gaza Borås/Sjuhärad went out on Saturday the December 18th 2010, bid defienced to both snow and cold by walking around in the Centre of Borås with collecting boxes. The members are Gunnar Olofsson and Jonas Bergström
They collected 753 SEK and the money will be deposited in to our account.
Ship to Gaza Uppsala
In Uppsala the local group collected 33 335 SEK during November and December 2010. The money has been deposited into Ship to Gaza's account. They have sold 15 Ship to Gaza books. The local TV Uppland featured about theShip to Gaza book. Click on the links below:
Ship to Gaza party in Gotland
Lucinda Andersson from Ship to Gaza Gotland reports that Ship to Gaza Gotland had about 80 paying guests for the party. The Bands played for free and we even got to rent the place for free. The receipts in the bar went to the place while we got the money for the entrance.. Very good mood, happy visitors and excited band members who thought it was great to get play for the Ship to Gaza.
So far this winter, the Ship to Gaza Gotland collected 7802.50 SEK. In this ammount in the following included; the party, sales on the International Day and the Christmas Market. The party gave us two notices in local newspapers, and one major feature and pictures in both newspapers.
Dror Feiler participates as an invited speaker at the repaired Mavi Marmara arrival to Istanbul. Large celebrations are expected.
Victoria Strand has been invited to speak at P1 (Swedish Radio Channel) Monday, 27/12 at 8:00.am
The week after The Holidays (Christmas), the radio show P1 will broadcast short calls during the day reflecting on important events during the year.
Ship to Gaza Uppsala arranges meeting in the centre of Uppsala at the town square between 13-15.pm. They will also have a photo exhibition. Martin Ekström, along with some artists will play and sing about Palestine and Ship to Gaza.
The Coalition's Media Committee are meeting in London.
The Coalition's Logistics Committee are meeting in Athens.
Moa Johansson Länne lectures about Ship to Gaza Stenungsund UN compound in Billströmska College
The Norwegian Medical Doctor Erik Fosse lectures on his experiences from the war in Gaza from his and Mads Gilbert's book, "Tears in Gaza", Wednesday at 6pm. Världskulturmuseet in Gothenburg.
National Ship to Gaza meeting in Borås.
The Coaalition Committee are meeting in Madrid.
Ann Ighe attends the ABF meeting in Gothenburg to talk about the situation in Gaza.
Next Newsletter: 2011-02-10
Ship to Gaza-Sweden
Dror Feiler: +46 702855777
Ann Ighe: +46 709740739
Mikael Löfgren: +46 707983643