‘I felt the pain of Gaza’

2010-06-05 00:00

CAPE TOWN — “Even though we didn’t make it to Gaza, I can still feel the pain and oppression the people in the area are experiencing.”

This is how Gadija Davids (25), a journalist with Cape Town’s Radio 786, described her experience at a special news conference yesterday following her arrest during the Israeli attack on an emergency aid convoy off the Gaza coast earlier this week.

She arrived back in South Africa yesterday.

Davids, the only South African on the ship, described the circumstances of her detention, as well as the attack on their ship.

“We realised there would be intimidation from the Israelis. When the attacks began I could not reach the media room in time and was trapped below decks with the rest of the women.”

Davids said they twice heard voices over the intercom.

“A voice coming over the intercom said, ‘Stop attacking us. We are not armed’.

“The second time the voice said, ‘Brothers, stop resisting. Too many people have already got hurt’.”

Davids said it was quite unpleasant to hear that, since they didn’t know what was going on.

Upon her arrest, she said, the Israelis “told us we should feel fortunate because it is a new prison”.

“During the questioning they asked random questions and if they didn’t like an answer, they wrote down their own answers.”

Davids said she was told she couldn’t speak to the Turkish embassy. When she asked to speak to a lawyer, they said, “You can’t speak to a lawyer. This is Israel, not Europe.”

“Conditions in the prison were the least of our problems after what had happened on the boat.”

Despite all this, Davids said she would do it again,given the opportunity, adding that through the whole experience she “saw and experienced how the people in Gaza live and are treated.

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