Citizens of Israel, we are Italian citizens but, as you are and as all the people from any other country are, we are also citizens of the world. And as citizens of the world we want to address you. Geographical boundaries may be necessary but they also hinder us from identifying ourselves as human beings, with common feelings, and our own individual fears, weaknesses, and dreams. There's an adage in Italy that goes: “We are all in the same boat”. Maybe it's because of this image that we feel so bonded to the Freedom Flotilla. You've certainly heard of it. Maybe you've been told that its passengers are bad people, terrorists, that they want your demise. This is not true! The people who embarked on those ships believe that all the citizens of the world should live free from sieges and fears, and should decide for themselves how their country is ruled. They think that no “reason of state” may be invoked as a justification to deprive anybody of their freedom and dignity. “Dignity” is also the name of a small ship that sailed this morning, bound for Gaza. Your Government blocked it with military boats and forced its passengers to go to Ashdod port. Before saying more, let us bring your attention to some details: last year your Government attacked the Mavi Marmara ship, which was part of the first Freedom Flotilla, killing 9 people and injuring many more. Critical voices came from almost all the governments in the world. Even the UN condemned this action, and declared it illegal, both because it took place in international waters, and because of its brutality. This year, your Government hasn't needed to kill anyone, but simply bribed other Governments (ours included). Some were bribed with monetary rewards, others with political favors. The outcome is the same. Can you imagine what this means for a Citizen of the World? It means that if tomorrow whatever country were able to bribe other governments, none of us would any longer be free to go around. Neither us nor you. Your Government boarded the small Dignité and took its passengers to Ashdod port, where either they will be interrogated and sent back to their own countries or they will be put on trial for “illegally entering Israel”. We can assure you that the Dignité passengers had no intention of entering Israel. Their destination was Gaza, as it has always been declared by them and reported by mass media all over the world. After all, isn't this what Israel has been trying so hard to prevent, by announcing to the World that nobody will ever be allowed to enter Gaza by sea and that it would use any means to stop those who tried? So, doesn't it sound schizophrenic to force people headed for Gaza to go to Ashdod and then incriminate them for entering Israel illegally? Your Government justifies all its actions as measures of self-defense. It keeps on bombing Gaza, taking off that people's means of support, by preventing fishermen to fish and farmers to farm their fields. To reach its aim it isn't backward about shooting at defenseless people. And it bombards you, its people, with its propaganda about a conspiracy to destroy you. You are all terrified, both Palestinians and Israelis, for one reason or another. You are all trapped inside the wall that your Government built around your and your Palestinian brothers' dignity. We ask you: if your Government is so frightened that it forbids even unarmed people from expressing their dissent and acting against the rules that world leaders are imposing on us – ignoring national and international laws that are the outcome of our fathers' civil struggles in the past decades – how can we, common citizens of the worlds, save ourselves from being reduced to slavery again? The new anti-boycott law is gagging you. Can't you feel that gag on your mouths and souls? You're not free, we're not free. Get indignant, as we are. These Governments, your Government and our Government, are not afraid of weapons, in which they do a roaring trade, incidentally. They are afraid only of one thing: public opinion. They use the fears they instill on purpose to make us weak and afraid to take action Let's make them understand, instead, that we're not impressed by their propaganda. Let's get indignant together! Let's tell all the world that our peoples are better than our leaders and that we want to live together, sharing our emotions, our needs, our fears, our weaknesses, our dreams Let's tell them that we feel we are all in the same boat.
Egypt says verdict in Al-Jazeera case expected Saturday (AP)
from the article: Sailing on a bucket, surrounded by commandos