At the end of June, San Rafael resident Regina Carey will sail to the Gaza Strip on a ship with an Obama-esque name, The Audacity of Hope. She joins approximately 50 other Americans, including writer Alice Walker, on a "freedom flotilla," an international delegation of 10 boats. They hope to draw attention to the blockade of Gaza, just a year after occupants of a Turkish flotilla violently clashed with Israeli soldiers, leaving nine protesters dead.
The embargo, which has eased in the past year, was imposed after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and missiles were fired from Gaza at Israeli civilian population centers. The embargo's stated objective is stemming the flow of weapons and weapon-making equipment to Gaza, though it has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza."I am of firm belief that we have to stop using aggression and war and using people as chattel as a way to gain power and gain resources," says Carey. "And this is one of the places right now where this is happening."The flotilla will carry no supplies to Gaza. The cargo will consist simply of letters of support, written by Americans to Palestinians.
With preparations for her flight to Athens beginning this week, Carey says she is only slightly nervous about the risks. "This action is completely peaceful and completely legal. And none of us is in support of any government or any faction," says Carey. "We believe that people have a right to live in peace and have a right to a livelihood where they can continue to be responsible for the land they have, the crops that they grow, the education of their children, and the right to travel."