Guest post by DaveM
So far the death toll is conservatively estimated at between 9,000 – 12,000.
It’s also estimated that 23,000 refugees have fled to Turkey and 200,000 Syrians have been internally displaced. These are the official figures, the actual numbers could be much higher.
So in an act of such gross insensitivity and crassness akin to inviting Michael Flately to perform for patients of the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, Kevin Ovenden and the Viva Palestina “Right to Return” humanitarian aid convoy arrived in Syria on Wednesday.
George Galloway wasn’t there as he was attending a party in Beirut, a shindig held in his honour congratulating him on his Blackburn, sorry Bradford election victory.
He had a few things to say on the situation in Syria.
While according to Syrian TV he expressed his commitment to the Arab causes, his words didn’t include praising the “ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons – are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars.”
Luckily Syrian State TV was on hand to cover such selfless act of altruism from such a notable humanitarian.
Newsreader: “Amidst a popular and official reception ‘The Right of Return’ humanitarian aid convoy reached Syrian land via the Kasab border crossing. (The convoy) which is heading to Gaza via Syria is organized by groups of Europeans in solidarity with the Palestinian and Syrian people and is under the auspices of George Galloway, member of the British Parliament.
“Spokesman for the convoy Kevin Ovenden expressed to Muhammad As-Shreitah, Lattakia Branch secretary of the Ba’ath Party and Abdul Qadr Muhammad Ash-Sheikh, mayor of Latakkia, the convoy members’ gratitude to the Syrian people and the Syrian government for facilitating the crossing of the convoy on its journey to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
“And he (Ovenden) said that what’s happening in Syria is an internal matter which must be solved by the Syrians on their own without foreign interference. He also found it strange that anyone whose own country doesn’t know what elections are, would demand that Syria be democratic.
“He criticised the method of pressure and sanctions which the West and some of the other countries are carrying out on Syria, doing so under spurious headings, while at the same time not carrying them out on other countries in the region, countries which lack democratic essentials. He also drew attention to some of the difficulties from the Turkish side which the convoy faced in entering Syria via the Kasab border checkpoint.
“The convoy consists of 14 buses containing humanitarian assistance, medical aid and educational material. On the buses are 24 activists from different European countries among them British and Malaysians. They will be arriving in Gaza on the 15th May.”
Ovenden: “The primary goal of the convoy is to remind the people that the Palestinian cause is an essential cause, and to carry aid to the Palestinians and the continuation of the efforts to lift the siege from them. The date which was chosen for the convoy to arrive at Gaza was the 15th of this month. This is to coincide with the occasion of Nakba day, to remind the world that the Palestinians who where displaced from their homes have to return to them and to their homeland”.
Newsreader: “Prior to this news bulletin we broadcast the the ‘Right of Return’ convoy’s arrival to Latakia.
“British MP George Galloway, member of the Respect Party, renewed his absolute rejection of foreign intervention in Syria’s affairs, expressing his commitment to the Arab and humanitarian causes, especially the Palestinian cause since the road to Palestine goes through Syria.
“In a speech which he gave in Beirut during a celebration held by the Arab Nationalist Forum honouring and congratulating him on his parliamentary seat, he commended the facilitation which the Syrian authorities had put forward and are putting forward to enable the humanitarian aid convoys to pass through Syrian land on their way to the Gaza Strip to break the siege on Gaza. Among these convoys is the ‘Right of Return’ convoy.
“MP George Galloway found strange the campaign of criticisms directed at the convoy which consider that the convoy’s aim is merely to arrive at Syria. He said ‘I don’t understand the meaning of these criticisms as we travel through all the countries on the road to Palestine’. He confirmed that the goal of the convoy was to break the Israeli siege on Gaza. Galloway also indicated that he will be able to make use of the British Parliamentary dias to raise the Palestinian flag and bring up the Palestinian cause with a force and impetus greater from inside Parliament than which he had outside it.”
George Galloway: “I reject any foreign intervention in Syria’s affair or in any other country. Western interference in Arab affairs is rejected, and it’s not possible to understand it other than as like Crusades. And that was my position vis a vis intervention in Iraq and also in Libya. My position is firm. I was with Abdul Nasr and I supported him and I support the independent Syrian positions. I am convinced that the Syrian people are able to solve their internal problems without any foreign interference.”
So Gaza was “genocidal aggression” and “slaughter” but Syria is merely “internal problems” such as a domestic dispute.
Do you think the “Right of Return” convoy will pass through Homs on their way to Gaza? Did it even pass by the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey? Did they receive any of this humanitarian aid and educational material which they desperately need?