Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In The Spirit of Humanity

Just a few hours ago, a ship carrying food, medicine, and toys was sailing for Gaza to deliver humanitarian relief to the people languishing under blockade. It was a Greek vessel, the Arion, which for this trip was dubbed The Spirit of Humanity. Its crew (including a former member of our Congress) were peace activists with no interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict except to feed starving people, to deliver supplies for first aid, and toys for children who are hungry and cannot move freely about their world.

While in international waters today, the ship was surrounded by the Israeli navy, boarded, and forced to an Israeli port. That does not even sound legal to me.

In just a few minutes, I was able to call the offices of both my United States Senators and Congressman Harry Teague, asking to speak with the Legislative Aide for international affairs, and making a specific request: that the Senators and Congressman call the Israeli embassy and/or our State Department, and ask that the ship, crew, and cargo all be released. A further request: let the Spirit of Humanity dock in Gaza long enough to unload its cargo, and then leave. The distribution would likely have to be left to the Gazans; one can pray they have a network set up to receive and distribute.

The humanitarian concern transcends the political dispute. The blockade on Gaza is an ongoing humanitarian crisis. It was bad even before the appalling military attack in January that amounted to shooting people trapped in a box; with the blockade still in force, funds for reconstruction cannot get into Gaza. What is the state of their infrastructure? How sound are the buildings and homes? How much clean-up of rubble and ammunition is left to do? No good is coming of this.

The blockade is sheer anger. It is an act of rage, and it will breed successive generations of rage and violence. I could not read this news and simply cluck in dismay. I went for the phone immediately.

Would you like to do the same?

Look up your senators' phone numbers here.

Look up your Congressional rep's phone number here.

If you don't know who they are, it is time you found out.

If you do make these phone calls, or even just one of them, we here at the Burning House praise and thank you.

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