Independent Media Centre Ireland

SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty break the siege of Gaza

category galway | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Sunday August 24, 2008 16:34author by TD - Free Palestine Campaign

“The world has not forgotten the people of this land. Today, we are all from Gaza”

Despite all odds, with scrambled radio and jammed phones courtesy of dirty tricks, a seasick passenger, in rough waves with a storm brewing, the small boats, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, successfully landed in Gaza early yesterday evening, breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.They left Cyprus on Thursday morning, sailing over 350 kilometers through choppy seas. They made the journey despite threats that the Israeli government would use force to stop them. They continued sailing although they lost almost all communications and navigation systems due to outside jamming by some unknown party. They arrived in Gaza to the cheers and joyful tears of hundreds of Palestinians who came out to the beaches to welcome them.
Cartoon by the Brazilian artist;  Carlos Latuff
Cartoon by the Brazilian artist; Carlos Latuff

Two small boats, 42 determined human rights workers, one simple message: “The world has not forgotten the people of this land. Today, we are all from Gaza.”

The boats carried a consignment of 200 hearing aids for Gazan children whose hearing was damaged by the sonic booms deliberately created by low-flying israeli F-16 fighter jets breaking the sound barrier, "creating thunderous shock waves which shake buildings, break windows, blow off doors, and cause widespread panic, fear, and hysteria" (see Related Link), this collective punishment starting in late September 2005 after the withdrawal of Israeli colonising "settlers" from Gaza

Back then, Eyad Sarraj, a Palestinian psychiatrist, described the attacks as terrorising the population and resulting in an array of psychosomatic effects ranging from anxiety attacks, seizures and nausea to nosebleeds and miscarriages.

"Although it is not lethal, it can lead to death indirectly, of unborn children, it can lead to highly traumatising effects on children particularly, and adults too.Repeated attacks of that kind have resulted in widespread bedwetting and behavioural changes, depression and anxiety symptoms, in both children and adults. I have seen children who have changed completely after being subjected to sonic booms, from sociable to clingy and anxious, crying all the time. Some of them do not eat or sleep as they used to. Older children have difficulty concentrating, while others became violent."

The Palestinian Ministry of Health says there was a 30-40% increase in the number of spontaneous miscarriages during the period 27-29 October, 2005, when the use of the sonic boom was at its peak.

Dr Mauia Hassanayn of the Palestinian Ministry of Health added that 77 people, mainly children and elderly women, were taken to the hospital in December 2005 suffering from nausea and shock. Some of the more serious cases involved internal bleeding in the brain and five pregnant women aborting their babies. (Related Link).

Far from the Israeli created hell that is Gaza, yesterday afternoon, Ireland's gay community with commendable SWP participation, paraded in strength and panache through Galway in their annual parade, this time highly politicized in comparison with previous parades.

For videos of the two boats arriving in Gaza (you need QuickTime to watch them), see

Related Link:



Sylvia and Elena (with baby)
Sylvia and Elena (with baby)


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