Hi everyone, have just arrived at a sports centre in the suburbs of a town called KONYA, near the Syrian border. We've been driving all day since 9.00n a.m with about an hour break and this is the second day we have really been pushing the pace. Last night we were driving till 4 in the morning and had to get up at 7, but the Turkish welcome has been extraordinary as we drove along last night there were people in the rain waving flags and waving at 3 am in the rain. We have had formal political welcomes in every city we have been in and a delegation was received in parliament. We are told there3 has been wall to wall media coverage here, and also whilst we were here Hosni Mubarak, the head of state of Egypt has been on a state visit, and the coverage for him has been eclipsed by ours - we think thismay change the balance of forces around our entry into Egypt in our favour as Egypt is seeking closer ties with Turkey currently as Turkeys relationship with Syria improves........ plus ca change !!!!
You may have heard about the fact that we have lost one of the Gloucester vehicles! Abi and I were in the sprinter coming down a hill when the vehicle in front of us braked suddenly, so we had to brake as well, and were rear ended by a 20 ton cement lorry, which took about 2 feet of the end, rammed the drive shaft forward and split the engine block - kaput. Bit shocked but the 'F Group' (our imme3ditate vehicle family) worked like clockwork. Aid redistributed to other vehicles, deal struck with local garage, on the road again within 3.5 hours. Sad to lose the vehicle, but we will get the insurance which can go into the funds for next
We have heard the news about the arrest warrant issued in the English courts for Tzipi Livni,to answer we assume a prima facie case for war crimes against the inhabitants of GAZA, and were all encouraged by this. WE also understand that the government has appealed - presumably on the grounds that international law shouldn't apply to serving minsters of national governments. The whole convoy seems clear on this point that the Israeli state has to be internationally isolated in any way possible to stop the normalisation of the ethnic cleansing that is underway.
There are still fantastic conversations going on all over the place - my favourites include ' a horse walks into a bar and the barman says 'why the long face?', and my friend Yousuf from Dewsbury explaining why it was really important that we all understand that the religious, ethnic and gender diversity of the convoy is its primary strength, and that we all stand to learn from each other, and how unacceptable it is that a few of the sistsers on the convoy who are muslims have been pressured to cover their hair by unnaqmed persons.
Mustafa has left us to go back to England. His daughter has bene ill and he has an exam to revise for. WE are really sad to see him go and hope his baba gets over her chest infection..... One really really nice guy with a dry sense of humour - Jeadly misses him and the constant banter - now he hasd to make do with me.......One really really nice guy with a dry sense of humour - Headley misses him and the constant banter - now he dash to make do with me.......
We are tired and must go to bed soon - this connection is very slow and I am going to try to upload a couple of photos but not completely confident of the bandwidth(Brian - where are you?). Apparently Hadley is on the VP website - Hope they got his best side. Abi well and Ahmed (known as the doctor by everyone also........
All love to everyone and remember - the UK, EU, USA and others are all complicit in the actions of the Zionist state in GAZA - remember David Milliband's refusal to condemn instantly the use of illegal weapons against civilians,or Blair's refusal to condemn the attack on Lebanon, or the USA's £4bn a year to the Isreali military and oher state institutions, or the EU's refusal to recognise and engage with the democratically elected HAMAS government ( a refusal that directly ( and deliberately) lead tot he current impasse in palestinian society and the divide and rule approach now being adopted by the Isreali's. We all need to ask ourselves about what is done in our names.....This situation is no more intractable than South Africa or N Ireland- but external actors need to pull out and broker open ended negotiations. Stop the aid to Isreal and they'd be at the table overnight.
Rant over its time to go to ZED land