Mike Levinson’s reflections on the Gaza Freedom March




Cairo and the Gaza Freedom March: Building a Community of Resistance

Reflections from Mike Levinson

 

When the three of us from WESPAC joined with 1,300 other activists from 43 countries and protested in the streets of Cairo, Egypt, for seven days in support of the Palestinian People of Gaza (Dec/Jan 2010), we were building a community of resistance.  Our plans were to join with thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and participate in the Gaza Freedom March, an attempt to protest and break the Israeli siege against Gaza.  We made it only to Cairo, because the Egyptian authorities, under pressure from Israel and the United States, closed the border into Gaza.  The street actions we organized in Cairo, however, were a phenomenal success!

 

We live in a violent, hate-filled world, and there is a tremendous amount of injustice, not just for Palestinians.  If one is to drop out of mainstream society and become a revolutionary for peace, one cannot do it alone.  You must become part of a community of resistance – you must join together with other activists and work to turn the world right side-up.   That is exactly what we did in Cairo, as part of the Gaza Freedom March.  We were over one thousand activists from all over the world, going up against the war machine.

 

Despite the attempts by the Egyptians, Israeli and U.S. governments to disrupt our plans, which they did do to a great extent, we persevered and brought our protests to downtown Cairo where the authorities as well as thousands of local Egyptians witnessed us practicing nonviolent action non-stop in the streets and on the sidewalks, calling attention to the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza.  The protests were dynamic, theatrical, colorful and politically provocative, and included a short march, die-ins, vigils, picketing, a hunger-strike and singing and dancing.   The entire population of Cairo caught a glimpse of us and the media coverage was universal.  The authorities’ attempt to silence us, by way of police violence and disrupting our plans to hold meetings, was ultimately a great failure.

 

Although we were not permitted to travel all the way to Gaza, the activists there and in other places like the famous village of Bil’in, West Bank, watched and sent greetings as we showed the world that a strong international campaign to isolate those behind the occupation of Palestine is growing.  In fact, the climax to many of the protesters in Cairo was the proclamation of support for the campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, initiated by the activist delegation from South Africa.  To learn more about the Cairo Declaration and the BDS campaign, visit: http://www.gazafreedommarch.org/article.php?id=5269  and http://www.bdsmovement.net/