Speaking truth to power

Here is a letter Helaine Meisler wrote to the Woodstock Times (Woodstock, NY):

During Hitler’s rise to power, as small group of Germans, the White Rose, published and distributed pamphlets. Their goal was to create resistance to Hitler among German citizens. They insisted that the German people wake up and take a stand against injustice. Their motto was “We Shall Not Be Silent.”

Fast forward to the present day.

A number of us just returned from participating, either as passengers or as members of the land support team, in Freedom Flotilla II–Stay Human. We are a group that organized the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope. Our goals were to educate and motivate–to shed light upon the realities on the ground for the people of Gaza.

There is something dreadfully wrong when 1.5 million people are held captive in a small piece of land, when 45 percent of those people are unemployed, when 80 percent of them are aid-dependent, and when children suffer from malnutrition. There is something wrong when people cannot enter or leave this area at will to attend school, to sell products, to receive health care, and to visit family and friends. This is the reality on the ground in Gaza due to Israel’s illegal blockade and to Occupation Cast Lead, 2008-2009, in which the IDF killed over 1400 Palestinians and destroyed the infrastructure of the Gazan society, including hospitals, water treatment plants, schools, and over ten thousand homes. Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. aid, did this with our tax dollars and our support.

Having grown up in a Zionist home, I was taught about the horrors of the oppression of the Jewish people. I firmly believed in “Never Again.” Yes, this meant Never Again to anyone. Thus began my days as an activist.

The U.S. Boat was part of an international flotilla to help break the illegal blockade of Gaza. Its cargo, thousands of letters, To Gaza with Love, offered support to the people of Gaza–to let them know that they are not alone. Our goal, to educate people about the situation in Gaza, was accomplished through tremendous media coverage. Our work now continues through giving report-backs, writing articles, speaking at conferences, hosting living-room discussions, protesting, marching…

The bottom line remains the same as it was during World War II. We Shall Not Be Silent.

Helaine Meisler
Shady, NY

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