Guest, Greta Berlin

Guest Name: 
Greta Berlin
Greta Berlin Free Gaza
Guest Occupation: 
Director Free Gaza
Guest Biography: 

GRETA BERLIN (France/USA), Board Secretary Greta Berlin is one of the founders of the Free Gaza Movement. She has been an advocate for justice for the Palestinians since the early 60s. She is the mother of two Palestinian/American children whose father was born and raised in Safad, Palestine and is a 1948 refugee. She has a masters degree in Theatre and journalism and a bachelor’s in English and theatre.

She was on the first voyage in August, 2008 and helped run the next four voyages, all successful in entering Gaza in 2008. She was one of the major spokespersons for Freedom Flotilla I and has continued as the media contact for Free Gaza. She is the co-editor and co-author of the book, Freedom Sailors, the story of the first voyage to Gaza and how we succeeded in spite of ourselves.

ABOUT FREEDOM SAILORS by Greta Berlin

FREEDOM SAILORS is a much-needed account of how a small group of ordinary people conceived and executed what seemed like a grandiose and audacious plan to break Israel’s illegal military blockade of the Gaza Strip, a blockade that keeps more than 1.5 million people in an open-air prison. Knowing what we know now – that Israel Defense Forces would later murder nine people, including an unarmed American citizen, Furkan Dogan, executed at point-blank range during a later Freedom Flotilla – our chutzpah is astonishing.

In a little over two years, we raised the money to purchase two dilapidated fishing boats stored in secret ports in Greece, collected 44 passengers, crew and journalists, aged 22 to 81 and chose Cyprus as our embarkation point.

People who weren't there or weren't close to us may not realize just how isolated we were once we finally set sail to Gaza on the late morning of August 22, 2008; over 33 hours on the sea, no internet, and only a couple of satellite phones which were blocked by the Israelis after night set in.

That first voyage in 2008 achieved exactly what we hoped it would. We opened the door just a bit, proving it could be done. None of the later actions, by land or by sea, would have been possible or even attempted if we hadn't climbed into two ramshackle boats with nothing but our determination and our naiveté holding us together.

Our story of how we came together, raised the necessary money, and pulled off the successful voyage, despite the prying eyes of Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, is often riveting.

More to the point, it helps us understand the importance of taking a stand when you see an injustice rather than becoming complicit through silence.

"Freedom Sailors is a powerful record of the political and humanitarian activity of some of the best humans we are ever likely to meet, or learn about. These women and men leave us with the most wonderful of questions: Is human courage and sacrifice the same as love? And is it this love for ourselves collectively, as humans, that has a chance of saving us and our planet? To read this book is to see what we can be like, in the face of imminent danger."

~ Alice Walker, Earthling poet, writer and activist

Freedom Sailors Greta Berlin