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Freedom Flotilla 2 – Are you with us – A letter to my Mum

Sinead MacLochlainn, Chair of Derry Friends of Palestine

There will be many Irish people on the next Flotilla to break the siege on Gaza. And as many of you already know, I will be travelling and representing Derry on the next Freedom Flotilla to break the siege on Gaza’s seaport. I hope the people of Derry and beyond will support us and follow us, as we make our journey at the end of October. Although I have been to Gaza I have never been on a flotilla to Gaza and after what happened on the last flotilla I had been worried about telling my Mum that I will be part of the next flotilla. When I told her, she of course was very worried, given the aggression and lack of respect for human rights by Israel in the last flotilla. The fact that they boarded ships in international water like pirates and murdered 9 people. She said to me “But why do YOU have to go?” After much thought, and with the time nearing, I thought I should give her my 10 reasons for going on the Freedom Flotilla and I will share those reasons with all of our supporters in Derry and beyond.

Dear Mum,

Do you remember when I was very young and I asked you why black people in America were not allowed to ride on a bus, or go to school with white people, or to eat alongside white people in a restaurant? You told me this was racism and it was wrong, that we are all created equal in God’s eyes no matter where we come from. You taught me to accept all people and to be blind to colour and race.
This is why I am going

Do you remember when I saw a disabled man in a wheelchair struggling to get into a shop on his own. There were many people in front of the shop who ignored him as he struggled to get in, but you said we should help him. You told me that I should always offer my help to those who were struggling.
This is why I am going

And do you remember the first time I saw someone who had been burned in a fire, their face twisted, distorted and frightening. I wanted to run away and hide my eyes. But you told me to look past what I see on the outside, you said it was like wearing a mask, you said a beautiful person was behind that mask and if I looked hard enough I would see this. You taught me to see that being different can be beautiful.
This is why I am going.

Do you remember when I was only small and it was Christmas time and there was a campaign for poor families who had no gifts for their children. You asked me if I wanted to give them one of my own gifts that you had bought for me. At first I didn’t want to, I was selfish, but you told me that if I did I would get a better gift in return, the gift of compassion. And you were right.You taught me compassion
This is why I am going

Do you remember when I was learning to ride my bike. I kept falling off, over and over again and all the kids were laughing at me. I said I would never be able to do it and wanted to give up. You told me I could do anything if I put my mind to it, you said I should always try until I succeed. You taught me to be persistent.
This is why I am going.

Do you remember when we were walking down the street and I saw a man drop his wallet. I picked it up and you looked at me and said I should return it. I ran up and returned it to the man, he gave me a reward for being honest. You taught me there are rewards for doing the right thing.
This is why I am going.

Do you remember when I was little and I was afraid of the dark? You said “what is it you fear?” I said I feared what I could not see. You told me there was nothing in the dark that was not there in the light. You taught me to overcome my fears.
This is why I am going

Do you remember when I found our wee cat outside after it was hit by a car? The neighbours said I should just leave it alone that it was going to die anyway. But you said we should try and help her. You told me to have hope, and that miracles can happen . She survived. You taught me to have hope and to believe in miracles.
This is why I am going

Do you remember when I asked why Irish people were treated so badly in the North, why were they being shot, jailed and beaten. You told me there were soldiers who had stolen our land and were occupying our country and oppressing our people. You said this was wrong. You taught me to always resist injustice.
This is why I am going.

And lastly, do you remember when I read the “Diary of Anne Frank” and I asked you why people would do such a thing to innocent people. You told me that brave people risked their own lives to shelter Anne Frank from the Nazi’s who blamed the Jews for all their woes, you said good people must always do what they can against evil. You said this type of hatred should never happen again, to anyone.
This is why I am going

So Mum, to answer your question, I am going to help Free Palestine. I am going because of everything you taught me growing up, because you made me the person I am today.

Why am I going? I am going because of you….

So, I am asking mothers and women everywhere to support your fellow women who are going on the Freedom Flotilla 2 as we sail to deliver our message of solidarity and support for the women of Gaza. Please support the Freedom Flotilla 2, Women4Gaza and Irish Ship to Gaza. Find Women4Gaza on Facebook HERE and join our group. Or visit the Women4Gaza page as part of the ECESG Freedom Flotilla 2HERE For information on the Irish Ship to Gaza you can go HEREKeep checking this website for news on how you can read our updates directly from the Flotilla.
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