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Gaza Freedom March: Ragini Kistnasamy's Diary Day 1


Sunday 27 December 2009
2 Talaat Harb, Cairo

This morning, delegates from 43 countries participating in the "Gaza Freedom March", had already arrived in Cairo , and we had a co-ordination meeting.
There has been an attempt by the Egyptian government to disrupt the Gaza Freedom March. The 20th December, 2009, the Egyptian government had informed Code Pink that it would deny permission for them to cross the border between Egypt and Gaza . The government announced that this Rafah border would be closed to the public because of the hot situation.
It is true that things have heating up on the border ever since the Egyptian government announced that it is planning to build a wall, from underground up, on the border. Today, Gaza is an open prison with a population of 1.5 million. Israel has blocked all access, its army entering and attacking Gaza whenever it wants to. The aim of the Gaza Freedom March is to witness this human crisis and expose it for the world to see. The Israeli government is the guilty party, with US government backing. Today the Egyptian government is adopting the same politics and has become Israel`s accomplice in Gaza.

Repression and intimidation by the Egyptian government.
The Egyptian government is refusing the Gaza Freedom March entry into Gaza. All halls that were booked for meetings have been "unbooked" by Government Order. It is unclear whether we will be able to get the buses that we were to take tomorrow, Monday, to cross Rafah. The government is saying that buses must obtain special permits from the government. The secret police are tailing the organisers and are sending informers to meetings.

Action Sunday 27th December 2009 in Gaza
1. On the Qasr-el-Nil bridge, Cairo, Gaza Freedom March delegates put up cards and messages on the Qasr-el-Nil bridge in memory of the bombing of Gaza by Israel exactly one year ago, day for day. In memory of all who perished in the massacre at the hands of the Israeli army, and in tribute to the plight of the people of Gaza.This action gave us the opportunity to talk to the media about what we are planning to do in Gaza and to talk to Cairo inhabitants about our action.
There were many cards written by delegates of several countries, attached to the bridge, floating in the breeze on the Nile. I wrote a message for LALIT that said "Break the Siege on Gaza! Break the Silence! For a Free Palestine~.

2. A delegation has gone to meet President Mubarak to ask him to lift the interdiction to cross the border.

3. A delegation has gone to meet a union of journalists to brief them on the Gaza Freedom March action and give them an update.

International pressure to break the Gaza Siege mounts
In the meantime, letters, faxes, emails are pouring in at Egyptian embassies everywhere in the world. Code Pink, the organisers have heard that in some countries, there is such a flood of protests that they don`t know how to deal with it.
We will see what the international media will do this time round. This evening, there will be an action where there will be a demonstration of little boats by the hundreds on the Nile. Little lamps will be floated in the river in memory of those who lost their lives in Gaza.

The March is going ahead
All preparations for the march are continuing. We are starting Monday 28th December 2009. First, we will see how many bus companies will turn up despite the government clampdown, and how many of them will back down. Otherwise. we have thought out an alternative.
Till tomorrow,
Ragini Kistnasamy
Cairo Egypt

It is extraordinary to be here at this very moment when the Egyptian government is having to choose whether it will continue to be an accomplice of the Israel and US governments, or whether it will, together with the great majority of Egyptian people, side with Palestine and a free Gaza. Today, the Egyptian government will have to publicly choose whether to stand up or bow down in treachery with its people looking on, eyes wide open. The aim of the Gaza Freedom March is to break the silence on Gaza - well, it is succeeding.

More news tomorrow.

We will leave for Gaza tomorrow morning. What will happen then? Tomorrow we will see.
English Translation of Ragini Kistnasamy`s original Kreol version