Four Rugby stars have jumped on board for the “Second Freedom Flotilla” campaign, which is in support of the second attempt to break the Gaza naval blockade in Israel.
Gordon Darcy, Eoin Reddan, Trevor Hogan and John Fogarty have posted a video on YouTube expressing their support for an aid flotilla trying to access land and sea in Gaza.
This is the second attempt by an Irish ship to do so. The first Freedom Flotilla was attacked by Israel marines in international waters that left nine human rights activists dead. The Irish ship to Gaza website says that it was believed to be an effort by Israel to intimidate international activists trying to break the siege.
This has in no way affected the efforts of activists. The Irish ship, as well as other ships representing other countries, is preparing to embark on the flotilla by next week.
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Former Leinster player Hogan will be on the ship; he was the one that convinced his teammates to give their sponsorship to the campaign.
"It was something that I have always had a big interest in. I’m delighted to be lucky enough to be invited on board the ship. The lads would have known my views on Gaza," he said.
The video features the Irish stars, along with the phrase ‘Stay Human’–a phrase originally by Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni. According to Hogan, the upcoming voyage “was no guarantee of safety,” but it was not violating any laws.
Dr. Fintan Lane, the ship coordinator, said that the participation of stars like Darcy was a positive sign. “The fact that so many prominent people in Irish society support the flotilla is indicative of huge support in Ireland for the Palestinian people in Gaza.”
A recent article by Reuters reported that a source had revealed that Israel will do everything necessary to prevent the planned international flotilla from reaching Gaza regardless of cargo.
"No ship will get into Gaza," the source said, adding that the military had come up with new strategies to avoid last year's massacre.
The message the Irish stars are trying to send out is one of humanity and peace, as they embark on a journey to dangerous territories that has already taken lives and displays an act of courage from all the activists.