Socialist Worker

Diary 7 - Viva Palestina convoy reaches Gaza!

by Jim Nichol
Issue No. 2224

Jim Nichol—Viva Palestina convoy driver

Jim Nichol—Viva Palestina convoy driver


The fifth Viva Palestina convoy from Britain has reached Gaza. Socialist Worker sends its sincere congratulations to all who have taken part.

Human rights lawyer and socialist Jim Nichol reports from the convoy on the last few tense days:

Wednesday: Plan B. Stalemate with the captain and/or the Egyptian authorities.

The 17 will definitely not go, including George. An absolute disgrace.

The vehicles have now left separately on the ship with a small number of security and representatives from the convoy. There are still over 300 of us here in Syria to be transported to Egypt.

We have hired a plane to shuttle everyone to Al-Arish (we are nothing if not resourceful). Although time in the air is only 45 minutes the shuttle back and forth will take a minimum of eight hours.

The real concern is to ensure that that we are married up with our vehicles at the port in Al-Arish. The intention is to be there before the ship.

The ship left in the early hours of this morning. We drove in convoy to the port.

Flags flew. The band played 'Ode to Joy'. People swarmed. Young men climbed on the roofs of the vehicles.

I drove my ambulance into the bowels of the ship.

Locked up. Walked off. Sad.

No tents. Everything is in the vehicles. Luggage, strict orders, is a toothbrush.

Sleep under the stars with the mosquitoes.

Al-Arish, EgyptThursday 21 October, 1.30am

The journey here – you really don't want to know so let's skip that and get on with the business of getting to Gaza: Has anyone seen my ambulance?

9am: Three hours in the airport. Passports taken away. Small hours of the morning. Put into buses. Compulsory. Driven away. To a five-star hotel.

Dinner served at 3am. Three to a room. 150 US Dollars a room. I sleep on foam on the floor.

Hey – who's complaining – first hot shower for weeks.

I'm back on my blackberry so more short missives. In Syria the President and all his men do not like blackberry.

Now – just waiting. The police have the passports!

Thursday: Gaza-Gaza-Viva-Viva-Palestina. We are here.

Driver, ambulance and passport safe and well. At reception on border, will soon move to Gaza City

For updates, details (and a video featuring Jim Nichol) go to www.vivapalestina.org


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