Mavi Marmara incident "changed the Arab power equation"
Mavi Marmara incident "changed the Arab power equation" with its message of defiance, strength and blood
by Julie Webb-Pullman
This morning in Gaza City, Mohammad Kaya, representative of the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH) joined with the Gaza Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ghazi Hamad, and the Mayor of Gaza City Rafiq Mekki, to pay tribute to the members of the Freedom Flotilla and the nine Turkish citizens massacred by Israeli forces in an unprovoked attack in international on the aid ship Mavi Marmara two years ago.
The event was also attended by a large contingent of people from the Islamic Jihad faction, one of whom, Mohammad Hendi, also addressed the gathering.
Osama Abdo from IHH also sent a video message for the people of New Zealand, in recognition of the contribution far-off countries made with the presence of people such as NZer Nicci Enchmarch in the flotilla.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ghazi Hamad expressed the Palestinian peoples’ gratitude for those who came from all over the world to send a clear and strong message of rejection to the Israeli occupation, and one of solidarity and unity with the people of Gaza.
“Those heroes who came by sea to Gaza knew they would be confronted by a strong power. They became a symbol of sacrifice, dignity and unity for people in Arab states,” he said, adding that the image presented by the Freedom Flotilla changed the power equation and inspired all Arab people with its message of defiance, strength, and blood.
“On behalf of the government, mercy be upon all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Jerusalem, the homeland, and our Palestinian cause. You drew the map for the Arab Spring with your blood.”
He concluded by paying tribute to the people of Turkey.
Mohammad Kaya, representative of IHH, thanked all of those who participated in the Freedom Flotilla, and paid tribute to the martyrs. He noted that there will be commemorative events in more than twenty countries, and that the massacre was a historical turning point which resulted in the exposure of Israeli brutality to the international community, and the opening of the Rafah Crossing.
“We confirm two facts,” he said, beginning by referring to the Israeli compensation offer rejected by the families and the Turkish Government. “We will not leave the Zionists to commit such acts with impunity, and we will pursue proceedings relating to the Mavi Marmara in international forums. Secondly, we will support Palestine until they achieve freedom, self-determination, and justice, and we will make continuing efforts until they do."
Mayor Rafiq Mekki observed that in coming to try to end injustice and suffering in the besieged Gaza Strip, nine Turkish citizens sacrificed their lives. “People in Gaza appreciate their sacrifice, and feel that the siege will fall because of their selfless actions.”
Mekki said that today the present connects to the past, and Gazans remember not only this group of martyrs but the thousands more Turkish people “...whose blood has watered the land of Palestine.”
“This act [the Freedom Flotilla] was in order to give Palestine land back to our nation,” he said. “Our brothers here feel and experience what the Turkish people do for the sake of Palestine and our holy places.”
Flowers were placed on the memorial erected last year in the Port of Gaza.
Mohammad Hendi of the Islamic Jihad then addressed the gathering, saying,
“Those free people rejected a history of humiliation. They came to Gaza to remind us of our nation of dignity, of the unity of our nation.”
He said that although Gaza did not receive them, paradise became their dwelling.
“All free people in the world received them. The history of a nation received them,” he added.
“Israel tried to drop their souls in the sea, but they achieved their freedom in the heavens of Palestine, and exposed the Israeli lies.”
He extended greetings to the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla, saying the blood of the dead will not be in vain.
“The souls of the martyrs shadow us.
We will stay faithful to them until we meet Allah with pure
hearts. Peace be upon you,” he