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Culture > Blogs > Freedom Flotilla Ship forced to pull into Agia Pelagia.

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submitted by Anna Cominos on 13.07.2011

Freedom Flotilla Ship forced to pull into Agia Pelagia.

Thursday 7 July 2011 / Agia Pelagia Kythera Greece

A James Bond like sea chase was played out on Thursday afternoon as a Freedom Flotilla ship was aggressively ‘escorted’ into the sleepy harbour of Kythera’s northern port of Agia Pelagia. Looking on from the comfort of the beach cafes and hotel verandas, locals and tourists alike presumed that the ‘chase’ and the ensuing search of the ship would reveal a world’s most wanted fugitive. But the chase and search were actually part of a European Union strategy to keep the Freedom Flotilla ships out of International waters.

The Freedom Flotilla is an International initiative that is a worldwide effort made up of 40 member countries including Australia and Greece, which are sailing to Gaza to draw international attention to the blockade by Israel and in order to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Over 1000 people are participating in the global action for Gaza, with the 12 member crew and passenger on the Kythera-trapped-ship the Juiano, including a Swedish MP, a founding member of an international social justice group, two Norwegians and 8 Greeks.

The Juliano, is named in honour of Palestinian/Jewish actor Juliano Mer-Khamis, who starred in Julian Schnabel’s 2010 film Miral and was fatally shot at point bank by a masked gunman in front of his pregnant wife. The actor was the target of constant death threats for his opposition to Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank. Actor and activist, Mir-Khamis founded a drama centre in a Palestinian refugee camp and is efforts are honoured by the Freedom Flotilla.

It is hard to comprehend that 30 years ago, the Andreas Papandreou PASOK government directly reflected the Greek people’s deep compassion for the Palestinian Cause lending support to Palestinian fighters. In 2010, Prime Minister George Papandreou fell to his knees and signed a unilateral agreement with the Israeli Government to ensure loans. There has been a complete Greek media embargo of the Freedom Flotilla’s efforts, highlighting the lack of independent journalism in this troubled nation.

While the Juliano set off Friday afternoon and the maritime escort continues onto Crete, the hard face of the Global police state reared its ugly medusa head in Kythera, witnessed by hundreds on the beach of Agia Pelagia. But as Greek-Egyptian activist explained ‘we have hope! We hope that we will get to Gaza, that Greeks do not really want this situation and that we are many. It is with HOPE that things can change.’

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