By Stuart Littlewood – London
Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, has plumbed new depths and caused deep offence with his shameful bullying of the Viva Palestina convoy bound for Gaza, which had driven for weeks and thousands of miles from many countries to bring medical aid and other relief to women and children cruelly shut off from the world and under endless lethal bombardment by Israel.
The dirty tricks resorted to by Mubarak and his lieutenants, which repeatedly delayed the convoy when only a few hours away from its destination, forced it to retrace its steps and take a dangerous and unnecessary sea voyage menaced by Israeli gunboats, heaped massive extra costs on the mercy mission then confronted it with 2,000 riot police, put him and his rotten regime beyond the pale. In other words, far outside acceptable standards of decency.
Mubarak’s misdeeds have shamed the Egyptian people and indeed all Arabs, and will be written indelibly into the history of the Middle East. Who would have thought that a man of his experience would visibly stoop so low as to invite wholesale ridicule and disgust?
Faced with all those obstacles the splendid men and women with Viva Palestina rose to the challenge in fine style and gave real meaning to the anthem "We Shall Overcome".
They overcame all right. They overcame all the mean-minded chicanery the loathsome vultures of the Middle East could throw at them.
And with their generous hearts, human decency and sense of honour, the Viva Palestina team delivered a master-class in true grit and cross-cultural togetherness in the teeth of unjustified hostility.
Impressive too was the leader George Galloway. The British MP, considered a renegade in Westminster, once again showed himself to be head and shoulders above the pygmies of the British government when it comes to ‘doing the right thing’.
They all received sterling help en route from many authorities that co-operated in exemplary fashion. Egypt please take notes.
Where does Mubarak go from here? He could begin by asking forgiveness not only from the humanitarian convoy and the suffering children they were striving to reach, but from the world community whose eyes have been opened by this epic, blockade-busting expedition and who now view him and his kind with contempt.
And by asking forgiveness from God.
The crowning glory of Mubarak’s evil intent is the construction of the iron wall along the Gaza border, which threatens the Palestinians’ very survival and has been dubbed the ‘Death Wall’. It would go a long way to restoring Egypt’s credibility and his own standing if he were to do a spectacular U-turn and take it down… such a move being a sign of strength not weakness.
- Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.