Egypt to Gaza: The road begins here

Egypt owes its unique history prior Mubarak to its pro-activeness in the region. A revolutionary Egypt must now reclaim its former prominence.

Perhaps the re-opening of Rafah border crossing and the success of the Palestinian reconciliation in Cairo are living proof that the Arab World’s national dignity following Egypt’s freedom from the grasp of the former regime, which succeeded in ripping the people of their sense of solidarity and responsibility for regional causes.

These positive changes come on the heels of years of the Egyptian state sponsoring the Gaza blockade under the Mubarak regime.

Today, the international community is tested – yet again – on its stance toward the Palestinian cause. The Freedom Flotilla II, a convoy of ships aiming to bring supplies and express support to the besieged people of Gaza, is now stuck in Greek waters following Israel’s pressure on Greece to prevent flotilla vessels from departing the port.

Following discovery that propeller shafts of two ships have been damaged, there are speculations that the Mossad may have sabotaged the boats.

Arab governments remain silent in the face of vehement international criticism of Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinian people. Once more, we revert back to people – to our people – for only they can initiate an act of resistance.

As part of Egypt’s conscience and its rising revolutionary fabric, we at Al-Masry Al-Youm call for a public campaign to invite the Freedom Flotilla II to sail to the Gaza Strip from one of Egypt’s ports.

While we believe the Freedom Flotilla II is better off sailing from Egypt for logistical reasons, we also think the decision gives a strong political message. This is the political message of enacting popular solidarity with the Palestinian cause and challenging the incumbent naval blockade. This is also our chance to rewrite a shameful political history of Egypt sponsoring the blockade, especially during Israel’s war on the strip during the 2009 Cast Lead operation, when over 1000 Palestinians – mostly civilians – lost their lives.

“The Audacity of Hope” is one of the flotilla ships names as well as the title of Barack Obama’s autobiography, written before he became US president. This title acknowledges the fact that regular citizens are the real makers of history. The status quo will not be changed through countries and institutions alone, but through people’s struggle against the blind clinging to power.

This was the logic behind the 25 January revolution, during which millions of Egyptians raised the slogan “dignity” to reinvent the meaning of their humanity and determine their own futures.

Now that we’re in the process of reclaiming our history and dignity, our struggle transcends borders and nation states and extends to other sagas of oppression. Gaza, as part of the Palestinian cause, has its place in our collective consciousness. The struggle of its one-and-a-half million people is one with which we identify, and we’re re-awakened to it in light of our on-going struggle. Moreover, the road to Gaza begins in Egypt, the natural point of departure for any quest to break the blockade, in force since 2007.

For these reasons, Freedom Flotilla II must sail from Egypt.

Such a decision would not only break the siege on Gaza but also send a message of hope to the Arab Spring revolutionaries throughout the region.

Al-Masry Al-Youm calls on the Egyptian authorities to invite the Freedom Flotilla to sail from Egypt. We invite you to support this popular campaign, entitled “Egypt to Gaza,” in a bid to extend the revolution and revive Arab solidarity.

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter: #Egy2Gaza and on Facebook: From Egypt to Gaza

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