This week, DC activists set sail for Gaza as part of Freedom Flotilla II to bring a message of peace and support to the Palestinian people. This audacious non-violent action challenges the U.S.-backed Israeli blockade on Gaza, which has resulted in extreme poverty in the territory. Deliberate economic oppression is a rudimentary form of injustice. Medea Benjamin writes in this week's featured article "Inflicting collective punishment on civilians is morally wrong and is a gross violation of international humanitarian law..." Passengers suspect that the U.S. government continues to use its sway to threaten Greece with economic retribution if it allows the U.S. ship to join the flotilla.
The struggle for justice in Gaza evokes many of the struggles from freedom and equality at home. Passengers Alice Walker and Ray McGovern liken the Flotilla to the Freedom Riders in the South during the civil rights era. In another stuggle for equality, New Yorkers made gains last week with the passage of same-sex marriage legislation. Congratulations to the people of New York! For many, the "American dream" remains elusive, such as journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who "came out" last week as an undocumented worker. We must recognize that our military interventions in places like Latin America have created the economic conditions for immigration. The Freedom Flotilla forces us to rethink our military interventions in the Middle East.
Though the challenges we face are severe, we want to keep our spirits light. Come out to one of many arts and culture events this week listed on our calendar. The WPC Volunteer Bash is rescheduled for July 13, so RSVP and come see how you can get involved at the Peace Center!