Sunday, 13 December 2009

Thessaloniki - December 13th

now its the Sunday 13th. We've been in Thessalonian for a day. Greek society is very pro Palestinian so we were welcomed last night by the mayor of the suburb where we are staying, two agree MP's, and a Greek MEP, and a Palestinian community leader. We are staying in a huge basketball court in a working class suburb, so there was this 70's feel to the whole event - a platform at the front of the room, with all the speakers sitting in a line, and that very formal leftist protocol that I last came across when I was a member of the ligue communiste revolutionnaire in France in the 70's ! WE went out for a coffee last night and chatted to people who were all very supportive and seemed to have some knowledge of the situation in the Palestinian territories. This morning we had a police escort to drive all 100 vehicles into the centre of the city and rallied on the sea front. Lots of ambulance sirens, lights flashing, noise, people waving and all.......

There are lots of conversations everywhere - political, theological, discussions about the rights of women, the role of marriage and I have made some friends I think. The Gloucester group are in good form and everyone getting on well and we are all really sad that Mustafa has to come bail from Istanbul. He's got an exam, but also feels as an Algerian that going to Egypt is a bit of a risk at the moment (something to do with football apparently!) He's one seriously nice geezer. Some of us are beginning to talk about what happens after the convoy and how we all keep in touch afterwards for political support and to keep ourselves active to repay the investment that the People of GAZA will be making by hosting us. We have to keep active raising consciousness about the issue. At the rally this morning, Kevin, the convoy leader made refere3nce to the fact that where were were there had been a massacre of the Jewish population of the city in 1943 under the Nazis. What a thread of abuse! The holocaust was most savage expression of racism that Europe has ever seen, and it is commonly used as an excuse or explanation for the actions of a racist Israeli state - The Palestinians have been paying the price for Europe's racism for 60 years and we are all responsible for doing what we can to bring about an equitable solution in the region. Rant over. Love from Abi, Bob, Mustafa, HEadley and Ahmed. Will next communicate from Istanbul

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