Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic parliamentarian for The Movement, is the first MP from any country to visit the Gaza Freedom Flotilla this year.
She went aboard a ship called ‘The Audacity of Hope’ — which was turned round and sent back to port on Saturday by an armed Greek coastguard patrol. The ship is docked in Athens, where Birgitta Jonsdottir is currently visiting, Visir.is reports.
The ship was on its way to the Gaza strip hoping to distribute aid in defiance of the Israeli blockade.
Jonsdottir released a statement on her website encouraging her political colleagues all across Europe to travel to Greece, where civil unrest continues over the country’s severe economic problems. She also called upon the Greek foreign minister to stand up to Israel.
Jonsdottir says that the ship’s crew had been rather frightened at being forcibly turned back to port by armed personnel.
The Freedom Flotilla this year is similar to the one last year which was attacked by the Israeli military. 14 civilian crew members died during the military operations last time round. Among the people travelling with the flotilla last year was the Swedish crime fiction writer Henning Mankell.
Birgitta Jonsdottir’s website post is in English and can be seen here.
Responding to an anonymous online critic who claimed she should stop travelling the world seeking the spotlight and instead get on with the work in Iceland she is paid to do, Birgitta Jonsdottir responded that she is in Greece on holiday and showing support for the flotilla was a personal wish and not a cry for publicity — except perhaps for the flotilla itself.
(Photo: Birgitta Jónsdóttir)