11th March, 2009
Gaza woke up this morning not to the sounds of F16s and the awful smells and white smoke of phosphorous bombs, but to the amazing sights of those ‘angels’ who have defied the odds to be with them in this time of great need.
Today Gaza is in celebration, you can see for the first time in a long while a smile on the faces of traumatised young children who cannot fathom what is going on around them.
It was a day also for George Galloway, the leader of Viva Palestina who addressed a rally in the centre of Gaza City. He reiterated that Ismael Hania is the only and legitimate elected leader of the Palestinian people.
George also said that there is a crisis in the Arab regimes, because their people and some of their officials, their officers at border controls all despise the siege on the people of Palestine.
He added that he would like to thank the Palestinians for the reception Viva Palestina received and for the opportunity to kiss this sacred land on the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet (PBUH).
Then he addressed the members of the convoy saying that, “You have now become heroes and legends. No one will ever forget you in Palestine. Your children and brothers will value your actions and will be proud of you.”
”My son Zein Eddine who is two, can see me now on TV from London and he is saying ‘LONG LIVE PALESTINE’ When he is a grown man, he will remember that his father decided to get to Palestine and that one day he will, with his own son, come back to Palestine and its capital Jerusalem.”
The convoy has been split into groups to allow them to move around war torn Gaza. They have seen at first hand the destruction of hospitals, schools, ministries and official buildings. They visited El salam neighbourhood, El Wafa hospital, the Islamic University and various sites.
They will tour the strip and assess what is urgently needed so that plans to follow on with further aid work can be considered on their return.
Last night, some members benefited from the hospitality of the Foreign minister. Everyone is overwhelmed by the welcome and generosity of the Palestinians considering they have been left with so little.
I am told that a large number of the Convoy will start leaving Gaza tomorrow. Apparently, the Egyptians have told them that the border may close and that therefore they may be stuck in Gaza for days.
Will keep you posted.
Prepared and translated by Farid Arada
More pictures have been uploaded on the website.
A day in Gaza – pictures from 10th March HERE