The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

We are NOT the "Story", It's Not Just Our 21 Kidnapped Passengers


On June 30th 2009 Israeli Occupation Forces forcibly boarded the Free
Gaza boat, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, and kidnapped 21 human rights workers
and journalists who were on their way to deliver much needed
humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to besieged Gaza. Those
abducted by Israel include Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire
and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

Since their kidnapping, tens-of-thousands of people around the
world have mobilized to demand their immediate and unconditional
release. The Free Gaza Movement would like to thank everyone who has
made a phone call, sent a fax or email, written a letter, or organized
a demonstration on behalf of our 21 imprisoned friends.

With respect, it is not enough. We are not the story. Since its
founding in 1948 the State of Israel has regularly kidnapped and
tortured Palestinians, throwing them into forgotten prisons where they
can languish for years. Today, over 11,000 Palestinian political
prisoners without benefit of due process, some never even charged -
men, women, and children - endure torture and isolation in Israeli
jails, outdoor prison camps, and secret black sites. They come from all
walks of life: doctors, journalists, parliamentarians, workers,
resistance fighters, homemakers, students and others. They are our
sisters and brothers.

The 21 passengers aboard the Spirit of Humanity have been illegally
incarcerated for their solidarity work with Palestine. 11,000 other
members of our common human family are already imprisoned simply for
being Palestinian.

The Siege of Palestine is not simply the physical blockade against
Gaza. The Siege includes the hundreds of checkpoints throughout the
West Bank that separate families and communities and shatter any
prospect for a viable Palestinian state. The Siege includes the
millions of Palestinians in Diaspora, many of them dumped in squalid
refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere. The Siege is
ever-present throughout all aspects of Palestinian life.

This Siege is only strengthened when we pay more attention to the
injustice done to 21 international solidarity workers than we do to the
much greater injustices already being committed against millions of

We in the Free Gaza Movement implore all the good people around the
world who have working so hard to secure the release of our friends to
"adopt" a Palestinian prisoner. We ask you to learn about the crisis
and take on the cause of an individual prisoner as your own.

Break the Siege! Reach out to Palestine!

For more information, please visit, as well as the following prisoner information websites:

Free Gaza is a human rights group founded in 2006. Our mission is to break the Israel's illegal siege on Gaza's 1.8 million civilians, since it inflicts collective punishment on the Palestinians who live there and has destroyed its economy. Free Gaza believes in direct action in confronting Israel's abuse of Palestinians using non-violent means and has found these voyages to be one of the most effective ways to alert the world to the prison-like conditions of Gaza. Ultimately, there is no better example of direct action than Free Gaza's sustained attempts to break the siege on Gaza which Israel claims it no longer occupies