The New York Times, responding to a coordinated call for their editors to cover the story of the Gaza Freedom March, has done so. The Washington Post has responded to a similar call by posting a more generic and sanitized Reuters version, but there’s more comprehensive coverage from Democracy Now (including an exclusive interview with Roger Waters – Code Pink meets Pink Floyd!) and Dandelion Salad, who in addition with Democracy Now have broken the story in the US that 100 marchers will be allowed access into Gaza. The marchers categorically rejected this deal as a group and insist that the entire group of 1362 activists be allowed to enter Gaza, although it was left up to individuals whether to proceed into Gaza, and some did so. Medea Benjamin clarifies:
The deal that we made with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to send a 100-person delegation found itself on rapidly shifting ground this morning. While last night the Steering Committee approved of the plan, by the early hours of the morning it had determined by a majority vote that it did not think the smaller group was a good idea. The buses went ahead with loading, but during the process word came that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry had announced to the press a very different version of the deal. Their characterization was that they had “selected” the 100 people because they were the only truly peaceful members of the delegation, which was entirely false – the group was selected on short notice to represent all nations and affinity groups as proportionately as possible. Some people got off the bus, others did not.
The buses went ahead, carrying individuals who felt compelled to travel to Gaza. The Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee encourages everyone to follow their hearts and act in good faith and love toward one another in these trying times. We will march, as coalition of nations worldwide, tomorrow here in Cairo.
Jewish Voice for Peace states that Hedy Epstein, the 85 year old Holocaust survivor and peace activist, announced that she is beginning a hunger strike in Cairo today as a response to the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the Gaza Freedom March participants into Gaza. Democracy Now has a short interview with Hedy in their coverage of the story. She is also featured in the NY Times photo.
Raw video from the protesters is available here.
photo: Nancy Mancias
The primary march/action is scheduled for tomorrow. The increased scrutiny from the world community is moving things in a positive direction, but the marchers aren’t all the way there yet. KEEP THE PRESSURE ON! KEEP CALLING AND FAXING!
Egyptian Embassy in Cairo:
Egyptian Embassy in Washington DC:
Main phone: 202.895.5400
Press & Information office phone: 202.667.3402