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Anita Silverman Hirsch Z"l

Dude Where is My Flotilla?

Over the past few days, the activist leftist circle in Canada has been buzzing with opinions over the Second Gaza Flotilla. A few boats, have tried to leave Greece to challenge the Israeli blockade and deliver, what they initially called "humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people." However, just yesterday, a Canadian ship was intercepted by the Greek coast guards and turned back to harbour. Some activists on board the flotilla say, the purpose of the flotilla has now transformed from delivering aid to showing solidarity with the Palestinian people. It is symbolic.

One may ask, if the justification for the flotilla is not to provide aid to the people of Gaza then where exactly does the loyalty of the activists lie? Is their loyalty to a humanitarian cause or is it loyalty to only one particular conflict? Are they concerned with showing solidarity or achieving humanitarian goals, addressing poverty, famine, and oppression?

I realize, this is a bold statement to make, one which is likely to recieve criticism from the left-leaning activists involved with the cause, but consider this: The BBC reports today, in its daily news, "Millions of people in the Horn of Africa are facing severe shortages of food as the worst drought in the region for six decades withers crops and kills livestock." East Africa is in a situation of a humanitarian crisis; 35-40% of children under five are malnourished and millions of families have been exposed to the risk of becoming refugees just to be able to survive and they may not be so lucky.

If the idea behind the flotilla was simply to deliver aid in order to provide relief to the people of Gaza from what these activists call a looming "humanitarian crisis", then why not steer the boat to the Horn of Africa where there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis to which the world has generally turned its back. Are people in Africa any less human than those in the middle east? Are we going to just wait and see millions of people perish from the face of this planet, like we have done in the past, because we wanted our efforts to be "symbolic" and not meaningful or impactful in any way?

And, even if the idea behind the flotilla was simply to show solidarity with the people in Gaza, one may wonder why no one on the left is showing solidarity with the people of Somalia and East Africa. What would these activists say to a Somali kid who has every reason to turn to them and ask, "Dude, where is my flotilla?"

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