Gaza Boats Filled With Childhood Hopes and Dreams
Gaza children deliver dreams, hopes to outside world through mini-boats
by Emad Drimly, Saud Abu Ramadan
Around 30 mini cork boats floated on the water of Gaza Strip sea heading to the outside world with local children's messages of their dreams and suffering and calling for ending the Israeli blockade.
Dozens of Gaza children gathered on the beach, holding those mini-boats, each no longer than half meter, and put in the boats scraps of papers explaining their life and dreams under the Israeli blockade which was imposed on the enclave more than three years ago. The organizers of the event are members of "Ishtar", a Gaza-based local association that trains children on arts and acting plays on the stage. They said the Israeli naval gunships won't stop the cork boats in the territorial water.
On May 31, the Israeli naval commandos forces attacked the Gaza aid flotilla that carried aid to the Gaza Strip population and supporters. Nine Turkish activists were killed and dozens injured in the incident. Israel tried to stop any international aid ship to reach Gaza waters.
"This activity is a symbolic step and it is an attempt to convey the voices of Gaza Strip children to the outside world to call for their legitimate rights to live normally as the other children in the world," said Wa'el Afana, the coordinator of the activity and member of Ishtar.
He went on saying that the children of Palestine "had been subjected to a strong and furious Israeli war and they are still living under an unfair siege that deprived them from living a normal life. They send these scraps of papers on these symbolic boats to explain their daily suffering."
Israel has been imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip, since Gaza militants kidnapped the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on June 25, 2006. However, Israel tightened the blockade after Hamas movement seized control of the enclave by force in June 2007.
Meanwhile, Ali Abu Yassin, the director of Ishtar said that this activity "is a pioneer action made by Gaza children in order to raise their voices higher to the world in order to help them ending the Israeli siege." Israel hasn't ended the blockade but eased it after the attack on Gaza flotilla on May 31.
"The number of the participating children in this activity is 33 male and female children," Abu Yassin told Xinhua, adding that they will convene on November 29 with activists that represent 50 countries at the United Nations. It will be the international day to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
Fatima Abu Hashem, one of the participating children said that she sent several messages to the world through her floating little cork boat, adding "these messages included my dreams to live in peace and in freedom and practice a normal life like the world's children."
Abu Hashem, who is a member of an acting troupe on the stage of Ishtar, added that she dreams of becoming a famous actress, " but my dream began to vanish because of the hard situation we are living in the Gaza Strip due to the Israeli siege."
On September 28, the Israeli naval forces intercepted an aid boat organized by Jewish organizations that was sailing to the shores of the Gaza Strip and prevented it from reaching the enclave. http://972mag.com/the-jewish-flotilla-israel-should-listen/. (Url reference is not from this source.)
Source: Xinhua and url is below http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7168739.html