Midnight on the Mavi Marmara edited by Moustafa Bayoumi (2010)

Midnight on the Mavi Marmara – The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict

Activists working in solidarity with Palestine certainly know about the Mavi Marmara and what happened on Monday morning, May 31, 2010 in the Eastern Mediterranean. Most Americans probably don’t. I don’t recall the U.S. lame-stream media even covering it at the time, but if it did, the news didn’t reach me.

The Mavi Marmara was one of six boats in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla attempting to break Israel’s suffocating siege of Gaza. The 581 passengers on the Mavi Marmara came bearing humanitarian relief, but as the flotilla neared Gaza (still in international waters), Israeli commandos boarded the boat from air and sea, and within minutes, nine peace activists were dead, many others injured.

The Memorial to the Victims of the Mavi Marmara in the Gaza Seaport

The Memorial to the Victims of the Mavi Marmara in the Gaza Seaport

Israel’s Hasbara machine kicked into full gear and tried to sell its narrative to the world — that the peace activists were actually terrorists, and Israel was defending itself when it boarded the Mavi Marmara. The passengers, as Hasbara would have it, attacked the commandos which necessitated deadly force. Cameras, videos, laptops and many other personal effects were confiscated by the Israeli authorities, and the surviving passengers arrested.

However, the commandos didn’t find every camera, and this hour-long video shot by the passengers survived to shed light on the facts about what really happened.

The book is a compilation of 47 essays written by many of the leading scholars and solidarity activists about their thoughts on the Mavi Marmara tragedy. To list just a few–

  • Defenders of the Mavi Marmara by Ken O’Keefe
  • Ship of Fools by Gideon Levy
  • The Day the World Became Gaza by Ali Abunimah
  • The Real Threat Aboard the Freedom Flotilla by Noam Chomsky
  • Israel’s Anti-1967 Moment by Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss
  • Gaza: Threading on Shards by Sara Roy
  • Not by Cement Alone by Amira Hass
  • Israel Itself May be Among the Victims of Its Own Pathology by Dr. Eyad Al Sarraj
  • The Deadly Closing of the Israeli Mind by Ilan Pappe
  • A History of Impunity by Yousef Munayyer
  • The Israeli Media’s Flotilla Fail by Max Blumenthal
  • Victimhood, Aggression and Tribalism by Glenn Greenwald
  • Schumer’s Slippenhaftung by Juan Cole
  • Our South Africa Moment by Omar Barghouti

The writing and insights are extraordinary.  The take away message for me from this collection of essays is that the massacres on board the Mavi Marmara were a game-changer. Israel has chosen the path of becoming a pariah state among the community of nations, and is no longer shielded in its invisible cloak of victimhood.


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