Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"We Are Unarmed and We Are Sailing."

The U.S. Boat to Gaza is a US Campaign member organization and a US Campaign-endorsed initiative.

On Anniversary of Mavi Marmara Killings, U.S. Boat to Gaza Announces Passenger List
New York, NY-May 31, 2011. Organizers of the U.S. Boat to Gaza announced today that they expect some 50 people will be aboard The Audacity of Hope when it joins the second "freedom flotilla" in late June to break the siege of Gaza.

The announcement came on the year's anniversary of the 2010 Israeli attack on unarmed passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, killing nine, including an 18-year old U.S. citizen of Turkish descent.

Leslie Cagan, coordinator of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, said, "We are sailing-despite threats by the Israeli armed forces to use attack dogs and snipers against us-and despite frantic diplomatic pressure by the Israeli government to prevent other countries from allowing the flotilla to sail." She commented that while Egypt has just opened the Rafah border to Gaza, the maritime blockade and the Israeli siege of Gaza still exist.

So far, 34 passengers and four crewmembers have confirmed that they will be sailing on The Audacity of Hope. They range in age from 22 to 87 years old and live in 14 states in every region of the U.S. All are committed to non-violence. Members of the press will also be on the boat.

Varied occupations are represented by the passengers, including retired film producer, construction worker, retired teacher and engineer, student, author, nurse, EMT, firefighter, activist, jazz musician, retired military personnel, professor social worker and lawyer. More than half the participants are women.

Passengers and crew will gather in Athens on June 21, 2011 in advance of the anticipated sailing date, which will depend on weather conditions and logistics.

The Audacity of Hope will carry as its cargo thousands of letters of friendship and solidarity with the people of Gaza from people throughout our country. Cagan said that inspections of the boat and its passengers prior to departure will prove the non-violent nature of the mission.

Richard Levy, attorney and passenger on The Audacity of Hope, explained that "Because Israel occupies Gaza, and accordingly has obligations under the Geneva Conventions, it cannot legally blockade Gaza." Therefore, he continued, "attempts by the Israeli government to prevent ships from going to Gaza are equally illegal."

A list of confirmed passengers and crew is attached. Short biographical statements from each of them can be found at http://ustogaza.org/passengers-on-the-audacity-of-hope/


Nic Abramson - Woodstock, NY
Johnny Barber - Gallatin Gateway, MT
Medea Benjamin - Washington, DC
Greta Berlin - Los Angeles, CA
Hagit Borer - Los Angeles, CA
Regina Carey - San Rafael, CA
Gale Courey Toensing -Canaan, CT
Erin DeRamus - Portland, OR
Linda Durham - Sante Fe, NM
Debra Ellis - Santa Cruz, CA
Hedy Epstein - St. Louis, MO
Steve Fake - New Orleans, LA
Ridgely Fuller - Waltham, MA
Megan Horan - West Seattle, WA
Kathy Kelly - Chicago, IL
Kit Kittredge - Quilcene, WA
Libor Koznar - New Britain, CT
G. Kaleo Larson - Northern CA
Richard Levy - New York, NY
Richard Lopez - Tumwater, WA
Ken Mayers - Sante Fe, NM
Ray McGovern - Arlington, VA
Gail Miller - New York, NY
Robert Naiman - Urbana, IL
Henry Norr - Berkeley, CA
Ann Petter - New York, NY
Gabe Schivone- Tucson, AZ
Kathy Sheetz - Richmond, CA
Max Suchan - Chicago, IL
Brad Taylor - New York, NY
Len Tsou - New City, NY
Alice Walker - Northern CA
Paki Wieland - Northampton, MA
Ann Wright - Honolulu, HI


John Klusmire, captain
David Smith, engineer
Yonatan Shapira, mate
David Schermerhorn, mate