Cruisin’ Gaza

Another flotilla of of blockade busters is on its way to Gaza. Of course, the trip has been announced with great fanfare, given its symbolism and gravitas. We’ll be drawn to stay tuned as the highlights of this trip play out.

Despite warnings by, among others, the Canadian government, to leave relief efforts to accredited relief agencies, there are many earnest furrowed brows that just can’t resist the lure of direct participation. (The ‘personal delivery’ aspect of relief adds to the “dignity” of the Palestinians, I’ve just read.) I don’t know, but perhaps the Israeli military forces are getting a little tired of this? We’ll see.

What really struck me in today’s newspaper was a photo of the vessel that is intended to be the centerpiece of this P.R. exercise. Think we’re talking about some old reclaimed rust bucket? Nope; it’s an out-and-out cruise ship (perhaps with a capital ‘C’). It’s called the Mavi Marmara and it belongs to (get this) “an Istanbul-based Islamic charity”.

That strikes me as sort of incongruous, really; an Islamic charity owning and running a gaudy oceanic cruise ship? WHY? Do they take some of the unfortunates under their wing to the Azones for occasional respite from their otherwise unendurable lives? Are they resettling wayward Muslims in Monaco? I’d guess not.

Perhaps the real reason for this vessel is a nascent tourism angle for these Gaza jaunts – you know, as a step beyond those now mundane ‘eco’ tours and whale watching sojourns?

(Voice over:)

“Want to see the Middle East up close right at the front door of the IDF? Have we got a tour for you – Gaga for Gaza. Of course, there’s no need to accept proletarian accommodation while getting a view of some potentially fatal theater – cruise in the same luxury as Royal Caribbean, but with a whole bunch better stories (if you survive).”

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