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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Viva Palestina Convoy : Revisited

Valentine for Palestine
Fri, 13 Feb 2009 16:22:38 GMT
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, a celebration rooted in paganism until Christian leaders pegged it to the legend of a third century saint after failing miserably to stop the annual festival.

And so, in a few hours time, millions of people of faith and no faith across the world will be exchanging cards and flowers as symbols of their love, so I suppose it was quite apt that February 14 was chosen by British MP George Galloway as the day to send a gift to the people of Palestine.

But instead of a simple card and bunch of roses, Britain's best known politician decided his Valentine for Palestine would be a show stopper.

His journey from Big Ben to Baghdad ten years ago was a mammoth task, but nothing like “Viva Palestina!” which involves more than 100 vehicles, 285 people and a spectacular mile-long procession including fire engines, ambulances and a boat all bound from London to Gaza.

George is sending a land convoy of aid, gift wrapped in love and solidarity to the people of Gaza and I will be with him all the way recording the historic trip by blog.

I will be hoping to emulate the success in smashing the Israeli-imposed siege by sea when I arrived in Gaza last August as a member of the Free Gaza Movement.

Tomorrow's convoy, stretching more than one mile, will roll from central London around noon on Saturday (GMT) and head for war-torn Gaza via France, Spain before winding its way across north Africa.

My daily diary will keep you informed of who is on the convoy, the human interest stories around each truck and van loaded with humanitarian aid and our adventures on the road.

Many of you who are reading this blog have donated cash and aid to the convoy, and as stakeholders in “Viva Palestina” it is only right you are kept informed of your investment in the future hopes of those in Gaza.
We are told there are quite a few official welcomes and receptions being planned for us on our journey which has already been described as the largest British convoy to cross the Maghreb since the Second World War.

So if you want to keep informed follow this column for the next 21 days.
See you all in Gaza!

* According to legend, in the third century A.D. Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to reinforce the ranks of his army, forbade young men to marry.

Valentine, it is said, flouted the ban, performing marriages in secret. For his defiance, Valentine was executed in A.D. 270-on February 14.

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