So writes Greta Berlin, the Mediateam Leader:
My phone rang tonight, an unlisted number showing up on the caller ID. “Free Gaza, Greta Berlin speaking,” “I miss you guys,” was the reply. “I miss working with you and working on going to Gaza. How are the plans for fixing the FREE GAZA and when will we plan the trip again? I’m working on other high-profile people who want to come.”
A few minutes later, checking my email, one of the passengers on the first boat wrote, “Is it possible for me to come back again? I’d really like to go on one of the next two trips.”
Another passenger for the postponed second trip wrote, “Of course I’ll come back. How can I not come back? You have captured the imagination of thousands of us, and we must come.”
Several people on the first trip came back, pulled to Cyprus to work on the project, whether they were actually on the boat or not.
They all have Gaza Fever.
It’s an undiagnosed condition that has befallen those of us who have worked on this project; a desire to go back to Gaza; a passion for the mission to break Israel’s blockade there and tell the world that they can’t turn their eyes away from the 1.4 million people in an outdoor prison.
Yesterday, many of us walked down to see the boat tucked in between two larger vessels, its multi-national flags now carefully wrapped and put away, its cabins downstairs silent. The food and water that we had so carefully stored were still under the seats, along with the life vests that we had to wear the entire time we were at sea.
The new passengers were immediately taken with the small boat, it’s wooden hull slapping gently in the water, the big balloon-like separators dropped over each side pushing the two larger boats away from the rails. Is it the charm of the boat or the fact that it went to Gaza that so fascinated them? It’s difficult to tell, because their eyes are already glazed, their breathing a bit faster, the excitement of just standing on a boat that was the first one into Gaza in 41 years raising their temperature. Yes, indeed… they now had Gaza Fever.
Postponing the second trip was a difficult decision. The 22 people waiting for the boat to be ready were all willing to wait… just one more day…. just one more day. But it needed too much work to make it viable to go across the sea once more. So, we will call everyone back when the boat is safe for travel. You see, Gaza Fever has no cure yet, only the hope that a ‘vaccine’ of Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals can show the world that Israel still occupies and still collectively punishes its civilians.
The only way Gaza Fever will ever be cured is for Israel to leave Gaza alone, free of occupation.