Gaza aid convoy, named “Return to Gaza,” is attending various events in the Syrian capital Damascus. It has attracted extensive interest from Syrians.
Each person in the convoy has an interesting story.
“Whoever has Palestine in his heart is a Palestinian” they all say though few of them are actually of Palestinian origin.
Şakir Yıldırım, 40, bought an ambulance on his own in Bristol and managed to take it to Gaza overland last year. He is now taking a trailer to Gaza along the convoy. Yıldırım set up an association in Bristol called Gazze Link. He and his friends purchased a trailer and four vehicles with the money they raised.
“Intention is very important. I am sure about this now,” he said as he was talking about the trip to Gaza.
Yusuf, a Palestinian, set off from Texas, the United States, to go to Gaza. With the money he collected in Texas he will buy a vehicle and relief materials in Egypt and take them to Palestine, where he was born. The Israeli occupation forced him to leave his country and move to Lebanon and to the US. He flew to Istanbul and joined the convoy there.
“I will meet my relatives when I reach Palestine. I am away from them but I have never forgotten them and Palestine. I grew up with them and I am a Palestinian. In my opinion, you are Palestinian too. You do not have to have been born there. Whoever has opened his heart to Palestine is a Palestinian,” he said.
Al-Quds-born Talal Abdulrashed said: “I am coming from Britain. I am a Palestinian. We set off from Britain to break the embargo. Allah willing we will reach Gaza. Israel drove us from our land in 1982. We moved from Lebanon to Britain. I have relatives in al-Quds.”
Lia Lewelyn, 55, is driving an ambulance. She is a British Jew coming from London. She expressed her feelings as: “There are many Jews who oppose Israel’s war politics regarding Palestine. I am one of them. I do not know whether we will be able to enter Gaza or not, but I believe we will put huge pressure on Egypt and Israel through media and public. I cannot say Israeli pressure is tied to religion. It is entirely acting by colonization logic. I am worried about forefronting religion in such policies. We hit roads to end a six-decade war. God willing we will succeed.”
“I was very touched by the brutality of the latest Gaza attacks. I even got sick with sadness and deteriorated psychologically. Later I started searching for ways to help and learnt about the convoy. I am a pharmacology expert. I am not a Muslim, but it upsets me that most of wars, oppressions take place in the Islamic world,” said Sam Rez, who joined the convoy in London.