GALLOWAY, George. Decent UK MP leads Aid Convoy into Gaza Concentration Camp via Egypt

George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a UK politician,  author, broadcaster, anti-war activist and human rights activists  who has been a British MP since 1987.  He was formerly a Labour MP for Glasgow Hillhead and then for Glasgow Kelvin,  before his expulsion from the Labour Party in October 2003. He became a  founding member of RESPECT and since 2005 has represented Bethnal Green and Bow. He has been courageous and outspoken in his opposition to the violent occupation of Muslim countries, notably Occupied Palestine, Occupied Iraq and Occupied Afghanistan. in March 2012 he was elected as the Respect MP for Bradford West in a by-election in which he trounced his Labour opponent  (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Galloway and http://www.georgegalloway.com/ ).  

 

George Galloway on the Aid Convoy to Gaza (2009): “Yes, fifty-five [Aid convoy members] , in fact, were injured, some of them quite severely. Ten of them had to go to hospital. All of them entered Gaza with us, but we have a collection of broken heads and plaster casts and bloodied faces and clothes. It’s quite a testimony to the role that the government of Egypt is playing in this siege that you have just admirably described. It was entirely unprovoked. It was an attack on unarmed civilian people. And it was very frightening and brutal. And, of course, it was of a piece with the way that the Gaza Freedom Marchers were treated in the center of Cairo in the middle of the tourist season just days before… Well, the good news is that nobody watches the Egyptian media in Egypt. All of them watch the pan-Arabic stations like Al Jazeera, satellite stations, which have broken the censorship walls of the dictatorships in the Arab world. And so, everybody in Egypt knows what happened in that little port of Al-Arish, and the vast majority of them, I’m sure, completely disapprove of it, indeed denounce it. The Egyptian people are entirely behind the Palestinians under siege. Unfortunately, they are ill-served by a government that is playing a quite despicable role, actually, just few yards from where I am now. The Egyptians are building what we call the wall of shame, which is being done in conjunction with the United States military, to try and choke off the tunnels, which are the only other means of bringing life into Gaza, in which sheep and chickens and petrol and gas and the other means of staying alive, other than medicine—because if I may correct something you did say in the introduction, you said we were bringing food and medicine, but we were only bringing medicine, because food is actually not allowed to come through the Rafah gate from Egypt into Gaza. Food must pass through the Israeli lines, because, of course, they say they are concerned about the safety of the food. They don’t want to cause any food poisoning in Gaza, you understand… It’s desperate. If I give you a tiny example only to give you an example, I’m here in quite a nice hotel, except there is no food in the hotel. There’s no food for breakfast, there’s no food for lunch. Now I make that point only to illustrate that if there’s no food in the best hotel in Gaza, imagine what the people are suffering. I’ve watched with my own eyes Palestinian women and girls in the early morning mists on top of garbage heaps, combing through the garbage heaps looking for food. In an Arab Muslim country in 2009 and ’10, it’s a absolutely scandalous situation. And, Amy, remember why and how it came about. It’s been imposed by men. It’s not a natural disaster. It’s been imposed by men to punish the people of Palestine for voting for a party in a free election that the big powers, including yours and mine and Israel, don’t like. Now, I myself would not have voted for them; I’m not a Hamas supporter. But the only people entitled to choose the leadership of the Palestinians are the Palestinians themselves… Well, I’m glad to say that at every stage we insisted on all of our convoy entering Gaza, and we refused to leave Al-Arish without our prisoners, six people who were being held prisoner by the Egyptian government’s forces. And we refused to accept the exclusion from Egypt of some of our convoy members, all of whom were initially excluded, but all, in the end, were let in and are with me in Gaza. So, in terms of solidarity, I’m proud of what we have achieved. No, there’s no explanation from the Egyptian regime at all. How could there be, in a way? How do you explain to anyone that Egypt, once the heart of the Arab world, is now playing a part in building an iron wall of shame around a suffering people who are being effectively starved, they hope, into surrender, but if not into surrender, then into death?” [1].

[1]. George Galloway interviews by Amy Goodman, “Viva Palestina Aid Convoy arrives in Gaza, George Galloway describes “desperate” situation”, Democracy Now, 7 January 2010: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/7/viva_palestina_aid_convoy_arrives_in .

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