“Whereever you oppress people…wherever you deny them their basic human rights… people will eventually rise up.”
by Ken O’ Keefe
Building on the momentum of the Egyptian revolution and the growing push for freedom and democracy by citizens throughout the region, a coalition of organizations and individuals from around the world are preparing for a march to Gaza on 26 February 2011. The coalition will gather in the Egyptian port city of Al Arish and form a caravan to make the 32 km journey to the Rafah Border Crossing, disembarking to march the final kilometer to the border of the Gaza Strip. The objective of the march is to enter the strip with the full cooperation of Egyptian military officials and peacefully demand the permanent end of the Egyptian blockade of goods, services and building materials to the territory.
In recent years, a number of Egyptian professional have attempted to cross the Rafah border into Gaza but were stopped en route and turned back by Egyptian state security forces. However, following the recent revolutionary violence in Egypt — which claimed the lives of more than 350 people — there has been a severe backlash against the state and central security apparatuses. The Egyptian military has played a crucial role in maintaining domestic stability and has stepped in to fill the security vacuum following the collapse of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, which commands the country’s state and central security forces.
Capitalizing on the important role social media played in coordinating and mobilizing supporters during the Egyptian revolution, Tahrir4 is fully utilizing tools such as Facebook and Twitter to garner mass support and maximize exposure of the march.
“No Egyptian wants to be seen as complicit in the besiegement of our brethren,” said Ahmed Elassy, the Spokesperson for Tahrir4 for “We feel it’s the responsibility of every Egyptian to wash the shame from our hands for allowing the Mubarak regime to deny the Palestinians their basic human rights in the name of Egypt.”
The Gaza Strip (also known as Gaza) is a coastal strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, 45 km (25 miles) long and at most 10 km (6 miles) wide. Nearly 1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza, many of them concentrated in one-half of the territory. In this area, the population density is nearly 20,000 people per square mile, one of the highest in the world. Over one-half of its residents are children.
“To everybody who knows injustice and everybody who knows tyranny; we are all brothers and sisters with the people of Palestine,” said O’Keefe. “So let’s act like it and bring Tahrir for Gaza on 26 February 2011. Let us assemble in the greatest numbers possible, and let us march — week after week if necessary — to keep the Rafah Crossing open permanently.”
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Ken is a former U.S. Marine who served in the 1991 Gulf War and subsequently spoke out about the use of depleted uranium as a “crime against humanity” and the US military using soldiers as “human guinea pigs” with experimental drugs that were directly linked to Gulf War syndrome. He is also a social entrepreneur utilizing direct action marine conservation, he is more widely known for leading the human shield action to Iraq and as a survivor of the Israeli attack on the MV Mavi Marmara in which he participated in “defending the ship” and “disarming two Israeli Commandos”.
On January 7, 2004, O’Keefe burned his US passport in protest of “American Imperialism” and called for US troops to immediately withdrawal from Iraq. He replaced his US passport with a “World Passport”, subsequently proclaiming himself a “Citizen of the World” with “ultimate allegiance to my entire human family and to planet Earth.” His is also legal citizen of Ireland and Palestine citizenship. Read Full O’Keefe Biography>>>