Did you know that the Gaza Freedom March -- a group of over
1300 peace activists from 43 countries -- is protesting the continued
siege of Gaza,
on the anniversary of the brutal Israeli assault that killed over a
people last year? (There is also a separate effort to bring a convoy
of relief aid to the Gazans, under the auspices of the group Viva Palestina).
Did you know that the Freedom March is now stuck in Cairo, because the
Egyptian government has denied them permission to travel to Gaza? The Mubarak regime has its own issues
with Hamas, and it is also dependent on U.S. economic and military aid. Israel and the United States don't want
the adverse publicity that the Freedom March might generate and are perfectly content to let the Gazans suffer, so
needless to say Washington isn't putting any pressure on Egypt to let the
Did you know that this event is being extensively covered in the Arab
world, and may be causing problems for Mubarak & Co., as the Egyptians are once
again being exposed as complicit in the collective punishment that Israel is
inflicting on the population of Gaza?
Did you know that one of the participants in the convoy is
an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor (Hedy Epstein), and that she recently began a
hunger strike to protest the refusal to let the convoy go to Gaza?
You probably didn't know about any of this, but it's not
really your fault. You probably
get your news from mainstream outlets like the New York Times or Washington Post, and neither of these illustrious newspapers has
bothered to cover this story. What
do they consider important? Well,
in the case of the Times, their
idea of a big Mideast story right now is the heart-warming saga of a little shwarma shop
If you do want to learn a bit more about this worthy effort
to help the Gazans, you can go to the group's website, here. Or you can follow it on Mondoweiss,
here. Or even read about it in
Ha'aretz, here. And then you
might have a better idea why the Mubarak government isn't very popular, why
Israel faces growing censure for its conduct, why the United States
continues to be despised in much of the Arab and Islamic world, and why the blogosphere is so important.
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images