Sunday, 6 June 2010

Free Palestine, Edinburgh Demonstration against Israel

Yesterday I attended the demonstration in Edinburgh to free Palestine, decry the killings aboard the aid flotilla, and request an international boycott of Israel.

My week started with an awareness of limited knowledge on the situation, and has since concluded with hopefully a much more educated understanding.

When the time came at the end of the march and demonstration - a massive turnout of 5000 people - for significant speakers to say a few words, I had to agree with most of what was said. Certain valuable points were met with roars of approval from the crowd of demonstrators, however their lack of voice to support one impassioned speaker with his hope to retaliate to Israel's recent act by returning in increased numbers of ships but with lethal intent. 'We will Kill You!' was met with silence from the listeners which though still spoke measures, should have been peppered with disagreements.

I do not believe in 'getting even' which is what another speaker suggested, but the overall message rang true - Israel needs to accept talks with the democratically elected Hamas to heal the fractured state of Palestine and work on a solution of communal living in peace. South Africa managed it, Northern Ireland managed it, and as much as Britain and the USA have played their part in the mess in the first place, and though the atrocities committed by both sides must not be forgotten, they now need to assist in persuading Israel that it is a necessary action for the peace and well-being of these two states.

The aim behind the aid flotilla was to gain international attention and focus on the totally unjust situation Palestine is in, and work towards ending the blockade.
As Henning Mankell put it (the Swedish writer of Wallander and one of the peace protesters on board the aid flotilla) -

"So as not to lose sight of the goal, which is to lift the brutal blockade of Gaza. That will happen.

Beyond that goal, others are waiting. Demolishing a system of apartheid takes time. But not an eternity."

Henning Mankell.

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