Şeza Berakat Bint Abdullatif, one of the passengers of Mavi Marmara, was born in Syria in 1965. She studied Arabic Language and Literature at Damascus University. She has been teaching Arabic for more than two decades and is currently the manager of the Al Maaref Academy which offers courses on foreign languages and computer skills. Şeza Berakat is also a writer who have written story books for kids.
There is an interview with Şeza Berakat in the book titled, “Freedom Flotilla Through Language of the Global Conscience: Interviews with Passengers.” The book was prepared by Zahide Tuba Kor and published by the IHH Book. Here are excerpts from Şeza’s accounts from the ship:
There was an atmosphere of brotherhood and love among the passengers of the ship who were all from different religions and nations. Individuals from 36 countries joined the flotilla and we were together with Jews, Muslims, Christians and Atheists. We came together for a cause that interests the entire humanity. A group of people were living under a blockade. Every day, Israel was threatening them with bombs, missiles and death. Israel was ravaging their agricultural fields and was preventing them from working and travelling freely. The people in Palestine were deprived of even their basic needs and the lowest life standards. They did not have the right to lead an independent and dignified life. We were all thinking about them aboard the Mavi Marmara. Gaza took us there and became a source of pride for us.
We were told that there was need for medical assistance. From among the women, doctors, nurses and those who could help the injured were called to the upper deck.
I went out to help. When I walked up to the upper decks, I noticed that walls and stairs were mired in blood. There was a chaos in the narrow corridor. Two or three wounded people were lying on the floor and a group of young people were trying to bring them back to life. When I entered the men’s hall, I saw that there were wounded people everywhere. All these took place within less than 15 minutes. There was an unprecedented massacre. Considering the fact that there was only humanitarian aid on board the ship and no guns, I could not understand how that room could be filled with so many injured people! (In the meantime, I saw two Israeli soldiers who were taken hostage by the youth on the ship. They had been brought to the room of the injured for medical treatment.) There was a serious fracture in the right arm of one of the injured lying on the ground and even his bone was visible. I tried to wrap his arm. I took the cardboards of the empty medicine boxes and tried to get some paperboard to use as a wrapping. With the help of one of the sisters, I wrapped the broken arm temporarily.
I can never forget the moment when they brought the bodies of the martyrs and placed them in front of us. I felt them as if they were my own children and brothers. One of them was at the age of my father. I sat in front of them. I pulled the cloth on the faces of the two and began crying. “Have you seen that the promise of Allah for the martyrs has come true?” I asked the people there and added: “Thanks Allah, you have left this cruel world and gone to heaven, Allah willing.”
When you are experiencing feelings of absolute love and independence on the Freedom Flotilla, your hands are handcuffed and you are taken hostage all of a sudden. You are even banned from going to WC. You are given neither food nor drink. You are even banned from speaking. At that moment, I thought about Palestinian women who are hostages at the hands of Israel. I tried to understand how they were bearing all that pain.
One of the soldiers stepped on a life jacket on the ground and the phosphorus line on the jacket was blown up. They ran saying, “Bomb, bomb.” While a female officer was searching my body, she took out a pen and threw it away with screams. Can you think how afraid they were?