Retired University professor Marilyn Porter of Saint John’s Newfoundland is one of three Canadian women who will form part of a “Women’s Boat to Gaza”. CTIP asks professor Porter why she is doing it. Read more and watch her short video interview.
Three Canadian women have announced that they will participate in the “Women’s Boat to Gaza”, another effort to make a humanitarian link with Palestinians trapped in Gaza by Israel’s blockade. Several previous efforts have been blocked by the Israeli navy. In 2010, Israeli military stormed one of the boats and killed several participants. Israel was subsequently obliged to apologise and pay compensation to the families of the victims.
This new effort will have an all female list of participants, which organizers hope will emphasize the peaceful nature of the flotilla and make it more difficult for Israel to use force against them.
Crew member Marilyn Porter is a retired university faculty member who worked for many years as an activist/academic, focusing on women’s rights, especially in the developing world. She has served on many Boards, both locally and nationally, including Oxfam and the Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Women. She is currently co-chair of the Social Justice Co-op, which works in the areas of environmental and tax justice. She is also working with a refugee group in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Marilyn is an experienced sailor, having cruised and raced mostly off the UK and eastern Canadian coasts, as well as in the Mediterranean.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine caught up with Marilyn only a few days before her departure for Rome. We asked her why she is undertaking what might well be a dangerous mission.
The Canadian contingent also includes Eva Manly, a documentary maker and photographer, whose work has been shown nationally and internationally and is distributed by VTape (Toronto) and VIVO (Vancouver). Eva devotes time to work for Truth and Reconciliation and to refugee sponsorships on Vancouver Island.
The third Canadian woman is Wendy Goldsmith, a mother of three, a social worker and an advocate for justice who lives with her family in London, Ontario. As a social worker, she has supported many survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, including within First Nations communities. As a mom, she identifies with the suffering that Palestinian women feel as they endure the injustice of supporting their families under an illegal blockade and within an open-air prison, constantly under threat of attacks by the occupier. (CTIP interviewed Wendy last April as the project was being launched.)
The three will be joined by noteworthy international participants such as Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MacGuire (Northern Ireland), Marama Davidson, Green Party MP (New Zealand/Aortearoa), Naomi Wallace, screenwriter and playwright (USA), Gerd von der Lippe, professional athlete and academic (Norway), and Çiğdem Topçuoğlu, professional athlete and coach (Turkey), who sailed on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and whose husband was among the 10 people from that voyage killed by Israeli Occupation Forces. Names of more participants will be released over the coming weeks.
The freedom flotilla website lists 107 organizations from around the world which have endorsed the Women’s boat to Gaza. Instructions on how to make a financial contribution to the Canadian Boat to Gaza appear on its website.
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