July 6, 2011 Update
Following the Tahrir’s recent attempt to sail to Gaza, and the Greek Coast Guard’s forceful blocking of it, two Canadians and one Australian were detained. However, Sandra Ruch, Soha Kneen and Micheal Coleman will not have any time to serve: they have just received a light suspended sentence.
We thank you for your continued solidarity and action. We, all together, have made significant steps in raising the issue of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza on the world stage. We know that we have more work to do – but we will keep going until the blockade is ended. Free Gaza, Free Palestine, human rights for all.
In this update we have three requests, for each, please find below templates for your actions:
1. That you write to CBC’s the Current and tell them of your concern with their recent show which aired July 5 (link to audio included below).
2. Write to the Greek Ambassador to Canada (template below). This letter should be your priority
3. Write letters to the Canadian Ambassador to Greece and Canada’s Minister and critics for foreign affairs (template below)
4. Contact and other info.
Keep planning and doing as many actions and activities as you can (and let us know about them). It is important that the Greek authorities know the world is watching their actions that have brought the blockade to the shores of Greece. We must demand that they let the Tahrir sail to Gaza along with all the other boats of the flotilla.
1. Contact CBC’s The Current
CBC’s The Current provided a distorted and obtuse report on the Canada Boat to Gaza and The Freedom Flotilla. They missed the point of the Flotilla and they only interviewed Israelis – there was no one to speak for the Flotilla. After you listen to the segment, maybe you will want to write The Current with your comments and/or concerns.
2. Letter to Greek Ambassador
Template and contact information
His Excellency Eleftherios Anghelopoulos
Greek ambassador to Canada
80 Rue MacLaren
Ottawa, ON K2P 0K6
Re: The Canada Boat to Gaza – The Tahrir and the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human
His Excellency Eleftherios Anghelopoulos,
On July 4th 2011 the Greek Coast Guard forcibly stopped the Tahrir, a Canadian boat on a humanitarian mission to Gaza, from leaving the port of Aghios Nikolaos on the island of Crete. While this mission does indeed constitute a direct challenge to the illegal blockade of Gaza by the state of Israel, the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human is a legal, legitimate and morally necessary initiative.
The decision by the Hellenic authorities to impose a ban on all ships travelling from Greece to Gaza was a politically motivated scheme based on Israeli pressure. It is this decision that is the problem, not the rejection of it by the people on board the Tahrir and other Freedom Flotilla boats.
I respectfully request that any damage caused by the interception and towing of the Tahrir be repaired at the expense of the Greek state.
Finally, I request that the Tahrir and all the other ships participating in the Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human be permitted to leave Greek territorial waters.
I thank you for transmitting this request to the Greek government which you serve.
[your contact information]
3. Letter to Canada’s Ambassador to Greece and to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and copy the NDP and Liberal critics
Please help us to continue to press the point to Canadian officials of their need to follow international conventions and law. All contact information is below letter.
I am writing to you to let you know that I am watching very closely for the well being of Canadian citizens who are participants on the Canadian Boat to Gaza – the Tahrir, currently held by the Coast Guard and Navy of Greece.
Further, I am appalled that despite the crew and boat’s compliance with all legal expectations, the Canadian government and Canada’s Ambassador to Greece has done nothing to provide support for the Tahrir’s protection and departure to sail to Gaza.
I am writing to ensure that the Canadian Government uphold its responsibility for the safety and the administration of consular services to Canadians on the Tahrir. That the obligations are clearly established in international law and, more specifically, under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations , to which Canada is a signatory.
The Freedom Flotilla is an international initiative with the goal of challenging the illegal blockade of Gaza, and bringing humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza in the spirit of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009). The Canadian Boat to Gaza seeks to carry much needed medical supplies. All delegates on the Tahrir are committed to peaceful and non-violent action. The Flotilla and the Tahrir are not breaking the law but are actively upholding international law.
I look forward to your response confirming what steps you will take to ensure that the government of Canada acts to protect its citizens on the flotilla.
[your contact information]
4. Contact & other info: Canadian Embassy contact information
Embassy of Canada to Greece in Athens
Address, Telephone, Fax, Email
4, Ioannou Ghennadiou Street,
115 21 Athens, Greece
Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday 08:00 – 16:00
The Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, fax (613) 992-9880; Email: email@example.com
Mr. Paul Dewar, NDP Opposition Foreign Affairs critic; fax: (613)996-5323; Email: Paul.Dewar@parl.gc.ca
Mr. Dominic Leblanc, Liberal Party Foreign Affairs critic; fax (613) 992-3053; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (specific: Article 5, clauses i, l, m