About Freedom Flotilla II
In May 2010, the first Freedom Flotilla sent seven vessels to Gaza carrying nearly 700 passengers from 36 different countries. Israeli commandos attacked the boats, shot and killed nine passengers, injured over 50 and imprisoned all aboard.
Undeterred, Freedom Flotilla II, including the Turkish-flagged vessel, Mavi Marmara, is returning. Organised by 14 national groups and international coalitions, and carrying approximately 1000 'freedom riders' we are determined to break Israel's ongoing collectively punishing blockade.
Turkey, Spain, Greece, Norway, Sweden, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Denmark and the USA own vessels either singularly or in coalition with others.
In September, 2010, Canada officially became a part of the Freedom Flotilla II. Early in 2011 we began meeting monthly with representatives from all the national groups in cities across Europe. Each meeting was followed with a press conference with representatives from as many of our National groups as possible. The reason for the press conferences is to clearly state our purpose and our commitment to a peaceful mission to bring International attention to the illegal siege on Gaza and the humanitarian crisis that exists there.
Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian activist and volunteer was murdered in April, 2011 in Gaza. The steering committee of the Freedom Flotilla II agreed that the flotilla will now be named FREEDOM FLOTILLA – STAY HUMAN the name of the book he was in the process of writing. “Vik,” 36, was a passenger on the first small flotilla that broke the siege in 2008, and had lived and volunteered in the blockaded region off and on ever since. Arrigoni sailed on the first small boat to enter Gaza in the summer of 2008, one of 44 activists protesting the illegal blockade imposed by Israel against the 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza. He returned to Gaza in February of 2010.
In May the Freedom Flotilla Steering Committee met in Paris and followed the meeting with a visit to the European parliament in Strasbourg, France. The Flotilla partners met with many Members of the European Parliament and held an open presentation with a question and answer period followed by a press conference. At the end of May the Flotilla partners will travel to the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium to meet with more parliamentarians. In Canada and in the United States representatives of the Freedom Flotilla are meeting with their government leaders as well. Flotilla partners insist that their governments take preemptive action to assure that Israel will not use force to interfere with this peaceful international effort to secure Palestinian human rights, human dignity and humanitarian assistance.
The Steering committee represents so many different nationalities, so many different opinions but the message that unites everyone is the commitment to nonviolent action and an end to the illegal siege on Gaza.