Eva Manly: Why is Jim Manly sailing to challenge the Gaza blockade?

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      By Eva Manly

      Where did the journey begin that led to my husband, former NDP MP Jim Manly, accepting the invitation to be the Canadian on board the Estelle, the Freedom Flotilla boat sailing for Gaza to break the blockade?

      Our decision was a joint one, a result of 53 years of working together as a team and supporting each other in both individual and joint pursuits. When Jim and I first met, I was attracted to his sense of humour, his ability to think “outside the box”, and the fact he did not fit my stereotype of clergy! After all these years, we still make each other laugh and are still able to surprise each other.

      Another thing drew me to Jim: he has the courage to follow his convictions and the guts to act on them—even when these actions are unpopular. He is also one of the least confrontational people I know.

      Over the years, Jim and I have worked together on many justice and human-rights issues. We are grateful to the Haisla people of Kitamaat, with whom we spent the first four years of our married life and whose friendships and influence we continue to cherish, for opening our eyes to the issues facing First Nations people and other indigenous peoples. This led indirectly to our involvement with many other human-rights struggles: those of the Mexican American farm workers, the refugees from the coup in Chile, the people of Nicaragua and El Salvador, the Maya of Guatemala, and refugees from Colombia and Nigeria among other places. It also led to our involvement in church sanctuary for refugees, refugee sponsorship, and accompaniment of people facing death threats. Through all this we avoided the issue of Palestine/Israel, accepting the line that “it is too complex”, too divisive, and likely to alienate friends.

      So, people ask, when and how did that change? Well, our knowledge of the issue grew gradually till we were finally impelled to action when we read Drinking the Sea at Gaza by Amira Haas, the Israeli journalist who lived in Gaza and reported for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. We heard Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and for the first time we began to understand the true nature of the “Separation Wall”, known among Palestinians as the “Annexation Wall”. We learned all we could on the issue (much of it written by Jewish Israelis) and became active locally in helping form Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, a group that includes several members of the Jewish community, and more recently in the United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel. We participated in a Pilgrimage of Solidarity, visiting some of the growing number of both Israelis and Palestinians who work together for a just and peaceful future for all. They inspire us to work with them.

      In all the years I have known Jim, he has avoided the limelight (strange for someone who went into politics). It was only his strong sense of the importance of engaging with this issue that led him to agree to put his name forward. He is on the Estelle to bring attention to the suffering of the Palestinians of Gaza.

      He is there out of a commitment to human rights and social justice. He is there in the hope that his action will bring awareness to his fellow Canadians about what is being done to the Palestinians in the name of Israeli security.

      He is there in the hope that his actions may bring Canadian members of Parliament from all parties, but especially the NDP, the “party of conscience”, and particularly the younger generation of NDP MPs who were elected with the hope for change, to break the walls of silence and speak out.

      Jim is on board the Estelle, and if there was room for another Canadian I would be there with him. There is no other place I would rather be now. May he come home safe.

      Eva Manly of Nanaimo is married to retired NDP MP and United Church minister Jim Manly, who is sailing to challenge the Gaza blockade. For updates, see the Gaza’s Ark website.

      Comments

      23 Comments

      DavidJH

      Oct 19, 2012 at 5:11pm

      Follow Jim and the others onboard Estelle here: http://shiptogaza.se/en/
      and the Gaza Ark campaign here GazaArk.org

      0 0Rating: 0

      Melissa Fuller

      Oct 19, 2012 at 9:40pm

      Best wishes, regards, and hope to Jim and the Estelle. I am filled with admiration for those who have the strength of conviction to take this hard road in support of the people of Gaza.

      Regards,

      Melissa Fuller
      Yahk, BC

      iSheep

      Oct 19, 2012 at 10:49pm

      Good on you! Shine some sunlight there.

      Free Gaza

      Oct 20, 2012 at 3:39am

      End the apartheid!! Palestine forever!! Peace and unity all over

      0 0Rating: 0

      Hamid

      Oct 20, 2012 at 4:41am

      Instead of looking for cheep PR, they should so something meaningfull and go to Syria.........

      George Muenz

      Oct 20, 2012 at 6:37am

      Nonsense, this is all about bashing Israel and has nothing to do with aid. More supplies go through from Israel every day than what was on the Estelle. If the Manlys were truly about helping people in distress, they would not have to go far. Syria is murdering its own people by the thousands. Why does Jim not go there? No Jews involved.

      anonymouse1962

      Oct 20, 2012 at 8:19am

      Maybe you could set sail to Syria next and free people who are really being terrorized on a daily basis :-) Or why not have a fly-in to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia? The women NEED you to free them from Islamic apartheid. Or how about flying into North Korea? Their people are really starving and not overweight like the people of Gaza?

      Not an option? Why not? Too dangerous to challenge the governments of countries that are not democracies? Governments that you would actually fear?

      Martin Dunphy

      Oct 20, 2012 at 4:08pm

      Attn: JC

      Please limit your comments to one.
      Thank you.

      RK

      Oct 20, 2012 at 7:26pm

      I'd have a lot more sympathy for those attempting to help the Palestinians, which I would normally consider a just cause, if they weren't focused on running a blockade into Gaza. The people of Gaza elected a Hamas government. Hamas is a terrorist group that is devoted to the destruction of Israel. I therefore have to think that the people of Gaza support the destruction of Israel. Those engaged in running the blockade, including Jim Manly, simply come across as naïve Westerners being used by a terrorist group.

      If there is ever going to be any realistic chance for peace in the Mideast, Hamas and its supporters need to engage in some realpolitik and recognize Israel and negotiate in good faith. Their current approach is just plain stupid.

      Diss appointed

      Oct 20, 2012 at 11:30pm

      I am ashamed a man who should follow the Bible chose to follow his lost heart instead. One tiny strip of land populated by Gods Chosen people, the Jews, and the whole world is against them. Not me, I stand with them and their right to protect themselves and I am not alone.