By now I expected to be on board ship steering for Al Arish, but the Egyptians (aided and abetted by their paymasters in the US and their uneasy allies in Israel) came up with yet another delaying tactic.
We had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that George Galloway would not be joining us, but were slightly suprised by the list if the 17 banned people announced late on yesterday. Amongst the list of ordinary people was Sheik Ismail, a dear old 83 year old man who wasn't much of a threat to anyone, a named person who wasn't even on the convoy, and my roommate Amena. Amena seems to have been banned because they think she is married to George Galloway. In fact she has never been married at all, and despite being a tireless campaigner for the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in the UK, had been on a previous convoy with absolutely no issues. This quiet but determined woman gave a speech this morning which would chill the hearts of her opponents. Among other things, she said that the UN had labeled the seige of Gaza illegal and that it should be ended, but since the countries of the world were too weak to end it themselves, we were going to do it instead.
The wait does take its toll, and tears were shed by men and women this morning.
This group of 17 banned persons represent an arbitary list of people drawn up by Egypt possibly to demoralise the convoy. In fact all we see is the vengeful and cruel incompetence of the Egyptian administration and the type of decisions which only an inept government could make from a position of weakness. We are far from demoralised.
It is my belief that all the banned people will be on the ship which is due to sail tomorrow morning from the Syrian port of Lattakia- with or without the permission of the Egyptian government, but definitely with the permission of the Egyptian people. To whom do we now answer?
Other events of the morning include a speech from Dr Moussabou Marzouk, the Vice President of Hamas, who reiterated that Hamas was always ready to to speak with other groups and always had been. This is, of course, contrary to what we are told by our own media in the UK, and I heard it today straight from the mouth of this mild mannered and quiet gentleman who properly represents the people of Gaza, who is deeply loved by the Palestinians in exile here in Lattakia and who is regularly misrepresented and demonised by all those who would see further disenfranchisement of the original inhabitants of Palestine who quietly stick to their principles and resist all attempts of Zionist-backed governments (including my own) to force them further into the wilderness