Meeting Report

April 18, 2010

Paul Larudee

Flight from a Ship with a
Load of Medicines and Foods

Most people who support a movement do so by writing an occasional check, or pressing family or friends to write checks, or maybe even staffing a phone bank once in a while. Some people, though, go much further, to the point of engaging the authorities in other countries with passive resistance, working to get US Government officials involved, and even physically moving supplies to the victims of the oppression they oppose—or even spending time in a foreign prison.

Dr. Larudee is definitely a member of the last group. He presented a slide show and speech on the efforts of his group, the Free Palestine Movement, to take food and medical supplies to the people of Gaza, around or through the Israeli government’s blockade. After pointing out the difficulty the Gaza residents have in getting anything by truck through the Israeli and Egyptian checkpoints, he related how the group managed to sail a boat from international waters, through the Israeli Navy blockade, to dock and unload supplies directly into Gaza.

It was, he said, the first vessel to do this in forty-one years—a feat that earned him and several colleagues a special “Gaza Port” stamp in his passport.

Dr. Larudee’s wry sense of humor came across well, as he punctuated his presentation with pithy asides such as, “Congress is an Israeli-occupied territory.” This reference, of course, illustrates the difficulty of obtaining balanced treatment of Gaza, given our government’s seemingly unbending support for Israel.

But he believes the tide is shifting. The latest action the Free Palestine Movement is planning is to sail a flotilla of ships into Gaza Port in May. In accordance with the movement’s policy of transparency—considered vital to the safety of its participants—the event is clearly publicized on the Free Palestine Movement Web site. Check it out.

Report prepared by Roger Zabkie

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