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Diary 2 – Companions on the Viva Palestina convoy and arriving in Istanbul

This article is over 11 years, 3 months old
The fifth Viva Palestina convoy from Britain left London on Saturday 18 September. Hundreds of activists will join it to carry medical aid to Gaza and break the Israeli siege. Human rights lawyer and socialist Jim Nichol is one of the drivers and sends
Issue 2221
Jim Nichol
Jim Nichol

Wednesday: Yusef Patel from Batley is a HGV truck driver and a man of the mosque. That is where he organised his collection from an estimated 18,000 people in West Yorkshire.

He is driving a 7.5 tonne truck with two X-ray machines, bought by a dentist who lives in Scotch Corner.

John Quinn from Belfast is a bricklayer and a man of the Catholic church. He asked the priest to let him address the congregation after mass—and collected £1,300.

Francis is a part-time youth worker also from Belfast. He organised a £10 a head cabaret. Some 600 people came. He set up a skype link on a large screen with the Al Awda hospital in Gaza. Their contribution to the cabaret was to perform a Palestinian dance.


Thursday: Istanbul—Five shy high school young women giggle outside the ambulance. Sharp competition for the most stunning headscarf. They cannot go to Gaza but want to go on the convoy around Istanbul. They sit bolt upright squeezed together along the stretcher that occupies the central aisle of the vehicle.

In the back they make a little handwritten poster in Arabic which they are learning at school. Could we put it on the ambulance, they ask. ‘Patience Gaza- God will provide-Jerusalem is ours—Aisha, Zuleikha, Dhilikha, Douba and Zoutha from Istanbul’.

It’s on the front window.

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