Friday, June 4, 2010

Flotilla Flotilla Flotilla

I reckon for the duration of my life I've come across the word 'flotilla', on average, thrice a year. If someone had told me I would hear the word 'flotilla' 793 times in one week I'd have said, "In your dreams..." But this past week, the 793 utterances of the word 'flotilla' has occurred. I kept count. I'm going to see if it can reach 1,000 by Sunday, and so, I may insert the word several more times in this post.

Melba wrote yesterday: "Wow, I keep coming over here thinking there might be something about the Israel-Gaza thing. But no. Humpf. Typical, and I don't know why I expected differently, but the silence is deafening. Flotilla."

"Typical"? Are you suggesting Melba that I was displaying some sort of cowardice in not posting on the topic (being TSFKA's unofficial Middle-Eastern correspondant)? In actual fact, I've been away from the flotilla internets for the past few days, and couldn't wait to post something about the flotilla. But I was spending quality nude time over a couple of nights with Ponygirl Flotilla, and I'm afraid that in the battle of Rudeys With Woman I Love vs Posting On TSFKA, rudeys win, flotilla.


This is certainly a PR disaster for Israel. Tazering western journalists and rough-housing unaligned humanitarian volunteers, as well as killing a handful of them, does not look good at all. They acted like gung-ho pirate cowboys, and in International Waters as well, where, in theory, unless there is an actual war, you're not supposed to be firing guns.

There are many around the world who, previously, may have not taken sides in the whole Israel vs Palestine thing, who may now find themselves turning against Israel.
Israel needs all the friends they can get...

I have maintained consistently that Israel should not do one thing to assist Hamas. Hamas is an evil, far-right religious-based organisation that in its own charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews. Israel has every right to starve it of funds, weapons and infrastructure.

However, there's a couple of million people living in Gaza and they need food, electricity and gas, water and medicine. The innocent people of Gaza flotilla should not have to unduly suffer because they happen to be governed by psychotic fascists.

Enter: Free Gaza Movement, and a flotilla of ships.

The Free Gaza movement is a motley collection of genuine and kind-hearted human rights activists, anti-semites, pro-Palestinian agitators, Palestinians, intellectuals, left-leaning cowboys itching for a fight, good people, bad people, brave people and sailors in a flotilla.

In 2008 and 2009 they made a few trips to Gaza, and each time were held up by Israel but eventually let through... though Israel did all they could to worry the activists out of trying it again.

Israel warned them that if they tried it again, there'd be trouble. Flotilla trouble.

And there was. Big trouble. Death and injury trouble.

They knew they were going to get held up, but sailed anyway, and the journalists aboard no doubt were prepared to get involved in a diplomatic standoff, but I'm flotilla guessing they weren't expecting to get bashed, tazered, imprisoned and deported.

But they went head-first into a fight, knowing there would be one. Personally, I wouldn't goad Mike Tyson in a pub. Yes, Israel have fucked up here, monumentally, but in the same way that Mike Tyson would have fucked up if he belted me in a pub after I goaded him.

I fully appreciate that Israel hate Hamas, and are nervy about the chance of Hamas gaining access to cash and weapons (and for good reason), but why the hell couldn't they have just stopped the flotilla, searched the ships top to bottom, and then got the hell off the ships?


I tell you this though: If there was just ONE gun in the flotilla being shipped to Gaza, we need to turn our attentions to Free Gaza Movement. And if it comes to light that Free Gaza shot first (as Israel claims), we must also re-evealuate the situation, slightly (it still won't validate the killings and bashings).

It must have been tense on the ships. The Israeli soldiers are just people after all. They are ordered onto the flotilla, the situation gets tense, they are out-numbered, they panic, they shoot. It's a story repeated throughout history, unfortunately.

Surely both sides could have negotiated some 'process' in advance.

I shall continue to support Israel and its right to exist and defend itself. I shall continue to agree that it should not help Hamas in any way, shape or form. But as a good ol' Lefty, I shall also fully support the delivery of food and medicine to Gaza, and hope that the Free Gaza Movement can concentrate solely on that task, and avoid any form of political grand-standing.

And next time, Free Gaza Movement, how about negotiating passage with Israel in advance, perhaps with an inventory of freight, rather than just flotillaring towards their waters? If you really, really want the Gazans to have food and medicine, wouldn't it make sense to clear your oceanic pathways first?

Diplomacy... it's often ignored by people trying to make a point.


One other observation... I'm sick of hearing people say that Isarel should have not stopped the flotilla at all. That's ridiculous. All nations on the planet have a right to stop boats entering their waters.

Israel should have waited until they got right into their waters (instead of stopping them in International Waters), but my point remains.


Melba said...

Thank you Perseus. I wasn't suggesting cowardice, just maybe you had an aversion to getting started AGAIN on the topic.

Glad to hear you were rooting, it's an acceptable excuse.

And you've written in a balanced way on this one. Wow. Who woulda thought? No sign of Mr Kneejerk here.

I just want to say that it's not a coincidence that the ship at the centre of the storm, so to speak, is Turkish. I concede they would have been itching for a fight, and yes there would have been provocation, and all the rest of it. Not saying that's right either.

So what do you think about the blockade Israel has over Gaza, preventing all sorts of things from being shipped in. I'm talking lentils, not fertiliser.

Perseus said...

Just to unbalance a little, Melba: When Hamas send suicide bombers into Israel and kill equal amounts of innocent people, I wish everyone made as much fuss.

Amongst the far-left and far-right though, suicide bombers are excused for some reason.

OOh, it's an act of desperation by a desperate groupe of people."

No it's not, it's a religios zealot murdering people.

wari lasi said...

So now you're up to 814. If you include "flotillaring".

I'll of course agree with Melba. And perhaps add that the journalists were ONLY there because they knew Israel was being goaded and might (would most likely) overreact.

You're right too, fighting Hamas, who use suicide bombers, is impossible using traditional western "polite" methods.

squib said...

I have to go through all my poems and take out the word flotilla now

Perseus said...

I did that too, Squib.

But to keep the rhythm going, I replaced the word with Tortilla.

"I Bring You A Tortilla Of Love" has taken on a whole new aspect.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Flotilla Flat?

Perseus said...

Also, if you change the word to 'gorilla' in the articles, they are more fun to read.

"...the Free Gaza Gorilla rejected a demand radioed by the Israeli Navy: change course away from the Gaza Strip or be confronted with lethal force."

"There were conflicting accounts of the first commando's landing - some activists said he was injured and was being carried inside the ship for treatment by the gorilla doctors"

Melba said...


Too much to hope for, I guess, that you would answer my question about the blockade.

I'll give you one more chance, Perseus. And don't mention Hamas. Forget Hamas for one moment. Just focus on the humanitarian part of my question.

BTW we both know there's a chance Hamas sends bombers into Israel as a response to something Israel's done, and so on and so on. Chicken and egg, maybe. But for a state who is crying that they are being targeted for annihilation, they are doing a pretty good job of standing up for themselves. All I ask is that be considered and acknowledged. But you won't. You can't. I agree that Israel has a right to exist and to defend itself. But you won't budge an inch. Not one. You just keep faffing about Hamas this and Hamas that, and their constitution.

What about the people?

If you don't answer, I'll just assume your having sex, shall I?

Perseus said...

I don't believe Israel should block the supply of food or medicine to Gaza.

I thought I said that in my post.

In fact, I did.

I am quite happy for Israel to blockade Gaza though. I just want them to let food and medicine through, but I am happy for them to search all ships coming in.

If they did not blockade Gaza, there would be weapons coming in daily.

Are you propsing they say, "Oh hi everyone... yes, by all means deliver whatever you want to Gaza?"

Get your hand off it Daryl.

"they are doing a pretty good job of standing up for themselves."

Yes. Yes they are. Your point?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

So, you're not having sex then?

Perseus said...

Yes, but I'm typing with my toes.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

That's what I call multi-tasking.

RandomGit said...

May we join you?

Perseus said...

Random: You can watch us live at

patchouligirl said...

All nations on the planet have a right to stop boats entering their waters

Maybe we should give the Japanese whalers the same reception.

Alex said...

All things considered, I'm mostly just relieved that the body count wasn't higher. I guess that no matter what people's intentions are, when you've got individuals that have demonised each other all their lives, there's bound to be high tension and a shortage of rational behaviour in these kinds of situations.

As a point of clarification, though: I know that rights are things that governments grant to people who are within their territory, so that a person in Australia has rights that are different to a person in Belgium or Saudi Arabian, for example; but countries have been formed and dissolved fairly constantly over the course of history, and I wasn't aware that any particular country possessed a 'right to exist'. Melba and Perseus, when you talk about Israel's right to exist, are you just making a statement of personal support, or are you referring to something more literal to which I'm not aware?

Melba said...

I don't know Alex. I guess, to break it down, for me it is a statement of personal support, and the state was established in 1948, legally, so like any state, country etc. I would support its right to exist. Somehow though it's connected with the right of the Jewish people to exist, despite the best efforts of various groups over the years to get rid of them.

Perseus came up with it first, in the context of Hamas wanting to completely annihilate and destroy all Jews and therefore Israel. I just borrowed P's expression. I don't have a problem with it.

So that's my answer.

Perseus must be having sex otherwise I'm sure he'd answer. Or maybe he's just had enough of this topic. As have I now.

Alex said...

Thanks Melba.

the state was established in 1948, legally, so like any state, country etc. I would support its right to exist.

Yeah, that's the concept that has me wondering. I mean, the way I've always thought about it, nations (all nations) exist only in the sense that they recognise themselves and are recognised by others - regardless of their history and how they came to be formed. I didn't realise there was a question of rights involved.