Delegates on board Tahrir June-July 2011
Lyn Adamson has been a lifelong activist for peace and justice and a Quaker. She is representing Canadian Voice of Women for Peace on the Tahrir. In Toronto, Lyn is co-coordinator of PeaceWorks, which offers training in non violent social transformation and activism. Experience as a human rights observer in the West Bank in 2004 left Lyn with a strong desire to do more to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and to support human rights in the region.
Sue Breeze is a small business owner living in B.C. who has been involved in struggles for peace and justice for 30 years. Sue has been involved in the Palestinian struggles since the early 1980’s when she became aware of the colonization and illegal occupation of Palestine and the suffering of the Palestinian people. She carries with her the voices of her family and the many Canadians who are speaking loudly and clearly to end the illegal siege of Gaza.
Stéphan Corriveau is a Montreal based activist and a founding member of Alternatives. For 30 years he's been advocating on behalf of social justice issues in Canada; poverty reduction, housing rights, and rights of First Nations. He's also been active at the international level including the struggle against South African apartheid, supporting Palestinian rights and anti-war campaigns.
Karen DeVito writes “reading, research and writing about peacemaking in divided societies have brought me to the Canada Boat to Gaza project. I have participated in social justice movements most of my life. As a delegate on the Tahrir, I will join a collective effort to help our world recognize the tragic predicament of the people of Gaza, and to acknowledge that ordinary people everywhere deserve to live in peace.
Bachar Elsolh is a physician and activist involved in local and national Muslim civil actions. He co-authored and promoted CPJME’s 'Human Drama in Gaza' exhibition, and is a member of the Canadian Muslim Federation. True to his principles of non violence, Bachar says “participation in this humanitarian mission is supporting Palestinians under Israeli blockade,
John Greyson is a Toronto filmmaker/artist, whose features include Zero Patience, Lilies, Proteus and Fig Trees. For three decades, he has created fiction, documentary and experimental works in solidarity with social justice movements, including the struggle against apartheid in both South Africa and Israel. He teaches film at York University, and is active in the BDS movement, in solidarity with Palestinian civil society.
Muhammed Hamou was born and raised in London, Ontario. As a husband, father, educator, youth mentor and Muslim Chaplain at the University of Western Ontario in London. Muhammed sees this experience as an investment. “We are a developing community that needs to learn how to articulate our convictions into action. There is a lot we can do for Palestine. InshaAllah this is the start of a lasting freedom.”
David Heap is a parent of two and a University of Western Ontario faculty member (French & linguistics). He has been active in peace and social justice causes, including Latin American solidarity and the labour movement, for as long as he can remember. He participated in the Gaza Freedom March in December 2009 and hopes to help foster people-to-people links that build lasting solidarity with Palestine.
Miles Howe is a peace activist and a journalist living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is also a sociologist, a caterer, and a musician. Miles says … “hundreds of thousands of Canadian voices have been raised, demanding an end to the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla is a global expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people, and it is with a true voice that the world is demanding freedom and liberty for all.”
Soha Kneen began as a student activist with Greenpeace in the 90s and progressed to labour activism, anti logging campaigns, anti GMO campaigns and anti war campaigns and local social justice issues. Active in the social networking arena, Soha has close to 2000 followers on Twitter (@SmithSofia) and runs a blog : Palestine Solidarity Demo Information Centre which can be found at http://psdic.blogspot.com/
Mary Hughes-Thompson is a writer, human rights activist and co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement. Mary has visited the West Bank six times and was on board the Free Gaza that broke the siege of Gaza in August 2008. Mary participated in the attempt to reach Gaza with the Code Pink Gaza Freedom March in Cairo in December 2009/January 2010 and was part of the first Freedom Flotilla in May 2010.
Robert Lovelace is a former Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and professor of Indigenous Studies at Queen's University. Robert has been an activist for Indigenous rights has been involved in speaking up for Palestine for many years.
Irene MacInnes is a peace activist based in Vancouver. She was a founder of the movement in Canada against sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s, and of the Canada-Cuba friend-shipments, which challenged the U.S. blockade. In 2003, she was awarded the City of Vancouver Peace Citizen of the Year. She is a co-founder and former co-chair of Vancouver's StopWar.ca Coalition and a former co-chair of the World Peace Forum held in 2006.
Manon Massé has been a social justice activist for 30 years, working on housing, poverty, homophobia, women's and minority rights and peace. She is co-founder of the World March of Women. Manon has been a member of the Québec Solidaire political party since 2006 and has stood for election three times.
David Milne is a retired social worker living in Belleville, Ontario. As a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, David has worked on their Iraq and Aboriginal Justice Teams. David says “ I have joined the Canada Boat to Gaza because I want the people of Gaza, and all human beings, to enjoy all the benefits which I have enjoyed – peace, plenty of food, clean water, a warm and dry house, schools with books and dedicated teachers, hospitals with good equipment and medicines, and opportunities to earn a good living.”
Kevin Neish is a retired marine engineer and life-long human rights advocate. He first visited Cuba in 1966 and returned in 1990 for solidarity/work tours. In 1989, he acted as a human shield for five exiled leaders of the Guatemalan opposition group RUOG, including Rigoberta Menchu, during peace talks. He faced paramilitary death threats and a car bomb attempt. Kevin worked as an official observer in elections in El Salvador in 2000 and 2009. During the Easter 2002 invasion of the West Bank, he volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement as a human rights observer and shield. More recently, Kevin served as a human rights observer in a Colombian prison where union and peasant leaders were held, and stayed with one of their threatened families as a protective witness. Last year Kevin was aboard the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked by the Israeli army.
Dylan Penner is a steering committee member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) and the Canadian Boat to Gaza. He has volunteered and worked for a broad range of environmental, social justice, human rights, anti-war and anti-poverty organizations and coalitions. Penner is a cofounder of IJV, the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, the Ottawa Peace Assembly, the Ottawa Palestine Solidarity Network, and People for Postal Workers.
Marie-Eve Rancourt is a lawyer specializing in international law and international politics. On Freedom Flotilla Two, she represent the League for Rights and Freedoms and her mandate is to observe and document any violation of intenrational law and human rights which may be committed by Israel. The International Human Rights Federation, of which the League for Rights and Freedoms is a member, also supports the mission of the Flotilla. Marie-Eve’s participation is an extension of her commitment to social justice, in Canada and elsewhere. Without justice, there can never be peace in Palestine.
Harmeet Singh Sooden is a Kashmiri Sikh, Indo-Zambian, a Canadian and New Zealand citizen. He was kidnapped in Iraq in 2005 and held for 4 months, along with Canadian James Loney while participating in an international Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation. Harmeet has joined this flotilla to raise public awareness about the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Jase Tanner is an independent film maker and editor whose activism with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was triggered by Cast Lead. Initially denied entry to Gaza, Jase was able to enter Gaza later that year as part of the Canadian MP delegation that traveled to Palestine in August of 2009 and produced a half hour film documenting that trip.
Kate Wilson is a Toronto book publisher and children’s mental health activist. Experiencing apartheid in South Africa while living in Botswana for three years and talking to Palestinians in Jordan led Kate to the Palestinian cause. In December ‘09 she joined Code Pink’s Gaza Freedom March and has twice demonstrated in Bi’lin, West Bank. Kate brings the support of her husband, children and grandchildren to Gaza.
Josy Dubié Former senator, war correspondent for more than 20 years, he wants to force the international community to oblige Israel to respect international human rights and left the blockade on Gaza, to respect the Geneva convention and the UN resolutions. To him the Palestinian issue is the result that Israel is not respecting the international law, and therefore international communities should force Israel to do so.” We will use the power of the right against the power of violence".
Guido Gorissens is a doctor and is proud to represent the Belgian society on the Tahrir and help the suffering population of Gaza. Since he became a doctor he participated to several medical missions with international organizations to support the struggle for liberation in Lebanon (Sabra and Chatila), just after the 1982 massacre. In 1985 he was in the Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli Lebanon and he was also in the west bank in 2002,in de camp of Jenine. To him it was logical to show his support to the Palestinians in Gaza by participating to the flotilla." No matter what the Israelis will do to us, the Palestinians will win their freedom soon".
Yannick Van Onckelen As a nurse and a union trade member, she feels she have the obligation to do what her government is not doing, forcing Israel to respect the international human rights and the Geneva convention. The situation in Gaza is very preoccupying, no medical supplies nor materiel supplies for everyone; she can't be inactive in front of the Israeli violations toward the population of Gaza as a Belgian citizen. Because she is a trade union member she wants the human rights for all to be respected, therefore, Israel has no right to keep the blockade on Gaza and on its innocent civilians, especially those who are weak, especially children, women and old people.
Asmaa El Mourabiti is a Photographer-Artist. Last year she could enter Gaza and could witness with her camera the disastrous situation of the children in Khan Yunus, the destroyed houses and schools. After the "Cast lead operation" that killed more than 450 children, most of the children lost a parent or a family member and the psychological damages was what she could witness the most. After she came back to Belgium she could plan several exhibitions of the pictures taken and was invited to participate to the European Parliament’s Palestine issue Day in Strasbourg to show them. One of the pictures was chosen by the Unrwa for its program to sensibelize the international community on the children's situation. She was very honored when asked by the Belgian Delegation to participate to this extraordinary non-violent action and show her support as a Belgian artist to the population of Gaza. This action to her is also a way to raise awareness on the European communities that still stay silenced on the illegal and immoral blockade on Gaza that has to be stopped for the sake of justice, peace and dignity in our World. From her trip to Gaza, she will never forget a phrase of an 8 years old girl; "it's not because they destroy our schools that we will stop learning".
Vivienne Porzsolt was born in New Zealand in 1941 into a secular Jewish family from Czechoslovakia. They had got out of Prague the day Hitler marched in. From this secular Jewish culture she absorbed the values of social justice and the possibility of building a better world.
Over the years, she has been engaged in a range of social justice work: the trade union movement, feminism, anti-racism including anti-apartheid and more recently over the last 20 years, in working for a just peace in Israel-Palestine where Jews and Palestinians can live side by side in mutual respect and equality. She says "I cannot abide what Israel is doing in my name and in that of all Jews. As a Jew I feel a special obligation to oppose it in the traditions of Jewish ethics abandoned by Israel and its Zionist supporters.
I am sailing on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza to help pose a real challenge to the cruel illegal imprisonment of the people of Gaza and to make it visible to the world. We hope to shame all those governments who are complicit with this injustice and lawlessness. Ordinary people must act when their governments won’t."
Sylvia Hale was born and raised in Sydney and is a graduate in Arts from the University of Sydney and in Law from the University of New South Wales. After teaching for several years in NSW secondary schools, she changed careers. The bulk of her working life was spent as managing publisher of Hale & Iremonger, an Australian publishing company which she, Roger Barnes, and John Iremonger founded in 1976, and as a director of a book printing company, Southwood Press. As a student she was actively engaged in campus and radical politics. She was an active participant in the anti-apartheid, women's liberation and Vietnam moratorium movements and has maintained a life-long interest in Australian and international politics. From 1995 until 2004 she was a councillor on Marrickville Council. In 2003, Sylvia was elected as a Greens member of the Legislative Council of the NSW parliament, retiring in 2010. She was a co-convenor of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Palestine. In that capacity she participated in an APHEDA tour of the Occupied Territories and Gaza in July-August 2010. That experience strengthened her resolve to do what she could to draw attention to the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people and has been a significant factor in her decision to join Freedom Flotilla 2, which seeks to break the naval blockade of Gaza. Sylvia has two children and four grandchildren. She lives in Sydney and focuses her activities on Greens, refugee and human rights issues.
Nick Wallwork is a recent graduate from the University of Western Australia. He has travelled to Palestine twice; the West Bank in January 2010 and more recently as part of the Viva Palestina 5 Convoy that made it successfully to Gaza last October. He has spent time with Amnesty International in Perth and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions in Jerusalem.
Michael Coleman has a keen commitment to social justice which is evidenced by his work in the youth services sector in Sydney over the last decade. He has been employed as a life skills educator, case worker, and community development worker and is currently coordinating the EMPATHY Program - a program designed to increase social inclusion for young people that are at risk of homelessness. Michael has also done some voluntary work in Nablus in the West Bank of Palestine for Project Hope, teaching English and music production. In addition to this, he is currently working towards establishing a non-profit incorporated association called ‘Music for the Dark Corners’ to support strategies to challenge the occupation that are based on the principles of non-violent direct action. See an interview with Michael . Watch a video of Michael talking at the Green Left farewell 15 June 2011. Follow Michael's blog.
Charlotte Lund is a journalist covering the flotilla for the Danish newsportal Modkraft.dk. Her articles can be read here http://modkraft.dk/blogs/charlotte-lund/
Anna Tarding has previously been working with International Solidarity Movement on the West Bank and is now the coordinator of Free Gaza Denmark on Tahrir.
Gunna Starck is a former Mayor of city planning in Copenhagen and after that, 8 years a member of the city council. She has been an feminist, environment and traffic activist for years and are today a member of the Red and Green Alliance in Denmark, where she now is heading for Parliament. She has 3 children and two grand children. Link: http://arbejderen.dk/artikel/2011-06-24/dagbog-fra-gaza-flotille-p-vej
John Ekebjærg-Jakobsen is the Chairman of the Scaffold Industry Workers' Club in Copenhagen and a member of the Construction Workers Union, 3F. “I have been involved in international union solidarity work for more than 25 years. In Denmark, trade unions were active in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The Danish trade union movement helped to do solidarity work legitimate. They carry on this tradition in many countries. I participate in this flotilla, because I am convinced that it is needed to bring the solidarity to the people of Palestine in Gaza. I am on the boat with my wife, Annette.” http://modkraft.dk/blogs/john-ekebjaerg-jakobsen/
Annette Ekebjærg-Jakobsen. “I am an active member of the union, 3F - LPSF in Copenhagen and a member of the International Committee of this union. For the last 8 years I’ve been personally engaged in the work against the Israeli occupation. For me in any time, and any case people are first. I participate in this flotilla because I’ve seen the consequences of Israel's blockade. How the blockade affects the Palestinian children - the children of Gaza. As a mother and grandmother, I know how important it is that our children have a future. I am on the boat with my husband and soul mate, John.”
Demır Inal Turkish national, retired economist-banker, father of one. "I strongly believe that Palestinians have been enduring unlimited and unjustified injustice since the occupation of their land. I also belıeve that there seems to be no end to this unfortunate predicament unless some of the other peoples or groups of the world with conviction in humanitarian affairs get involved in thıs subject. The sad Mavi Marmara affair of 2010 and the preparations for the second Freedom Flotilla has encouraged me to join the trip to show the people of the world that there is a horrible crime taking place in Gaza and the rest of Palestine in front of the whole world and not enough people are conscious of it due to the almost complete dominance of the world press by the Zionist entity."