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Freedom Flotilla volunteers undergo intense training

by Zahid Jadwat

Volunteers participating in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FCC) mission to deliver aid to Gaza were trained for any eventuality ahead of departure from Istanbul, Turkey. [Picture: Yasin AKGUL / AFP]


Volunteers from around the world prepared for any eventuality as D-day for the Freedom Flotilla 2.0 approached. Led by a Turkish humanitarian organisation, IHH, those aboard the fleet of three vessels will in coming days attempt to break the blockade on Gaza, Palestine.

“Even if our passenger ship has to be turned back, the aid will proceed and enter Gaza,” said a resolute Dr Fauziah Hassan, an activist and member of the organising committee of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FCC). “We have to ensure that this aid will go to the people of Gaza.”

The more than 1 000 volunteers, aboard a separate vessel from that of the 5 500 tonnes of aid, were trained for different possible scenarios. They were trained to peacefully resist, even if it turned violent – like it did in 2010, when 10 people were killed.


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“The non-violence training to join the Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s ships to Gaza has been intense,” wrote Medea Benjamin on Peoples Dispatch on Tuesday. “As hundreds of us from 32 countries gathered in Istanbul, we were briefed about what we might encounter on this voyage,” she added.

The co-founder of CODEPINK for Peace said the training came full with “deafening booms of gunfire and exploding percussion grenades”. Masked, yelling “soldiers” were also on the scene.

Besides the intense training the volunteers have had to undergo, Benjamin also wrote about the diversity aboard the Akdeniz, currently docked in Istanbul.

“The incredible breadth of participants is evident in our nightly meetings, where you can hear clusters of groups chatting away in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Malay, French, Italian, and English in diverse accents from Australian to Welsh. The ages range from students in their 20s to an 86-year-old Argentine medical doctor,” she added.

href=”https://soundcloud.com/salaamedia” title=”Salaamedia” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Salaamedia · Solidarity Sail: Aid Flotilla for Gaza’s Relief.

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