Gaza help not over

2015-07-03 07:48
Pietermaritzburg lecturer and activist Clint Le Bruyns is on the Freedom Flotilla III ship to Gaza.

Pietermaritzburg lecturer and activist Clint Le Bruyns is on the Freedom Flotilla III ship to Gaza. (Supplied)

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Durban - University of KwaZulu-Natal academic, theologian and activist Clint le Bruyns says the mission to Gaza is not over and the delays have only made him more determined and stronger.

Le Bruyns is part of a team of activists from around the world who are attempting to bring aid to the people of Gaza.

He was sent by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) of South Africa to board the Freedom Flotilla III to Gaza, however Le Bruyns’s ship never left the docks in Greece.

In the early hours of Monday, one of the four boats making up the Freedom Flotilla III, was seized by the Israeli military for attempting to break the blockade of Gaza. Le Bruyns was not on the vessel and has now returned to South Africa.

Le Bruyns said the boat which was seized, the Marianne, was carrying activist and musician Dror Feiler, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, an Israeli citizen and media workers from Al Jazeera.

On his visit to Pietermaritzburg last month, Feiler told The Witness that for his mission to Gaza he needed the support of Pietermaritzburg and the world.

In an open dialogue held at the Nizamia School, Feiler said, “Next month I will either be in Gaza or in prison, but either way we need your support.”

Currently, Feiler and other crew members and activists are detained at the Givon prison in Israel.

“We are concerned about them, but some of us have experienced this before so we are hopeful that like the previous occasions, they will be released in a few days and deported. What we do know is that they are undergoing intense interrogation,” said Le Bruyns.

Based in the Greek islands, Athens and Crete, Le Bruyns said he was scheduled to board the fifth ship to Gaza.

“For our plan to work, every one had to be on time and in sync. The Marianne was the first to leave and were out at sea for a few weeks.”

However due to alleged sabotage attempts and major opposition from the Greek port authorities, their voyage was delayed.

Due to the delays, the Marianne had to continue on their journey without the fifth boat leaving Greece.

Le Bruyns returned to South Africa on Wednesday after the “humbling experience”.

“This experience took a lot of personal decision making and courage. One thing I learnt is not to underestimate the intelligence of activists. These are people dedicating their whole life to human rights and equality and I am so grateful to have been a part of their community. It was an absolute learning experience,” said Le Bruyns.

The mission, he says, is not reduced to one aspect.

“Some things in our mission have been accomplished, some are being accomplished and more will be accomplished. The people of Gaza have been preparing welcoming ceremonies and they sit on the shores just looking out at sea waiting for help.

“This renews our strength and determination in our mission,” said Le Bruyns.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  gaza

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