Gaza delegation: Pam Rasmussen's diary

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

Pam Rasmussen, of Maryland, shares her experiences (with great photos!) on the 60-member aid delegation on her blog here.

Here's an excerpt from March 11:

This is my last day in Gaza before I head back to Cairo and then home to DC. And it's strange, but I'm feeling "homesick" already. I feel both that I should stay here to show solidarity with the people  -- joining the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) to help fishermen and farmers make a living -- and to get to know this unique wedge of land and its population a little better. Today was jampacked with activities, starting with a tour of some of the most war-ravaged areas of Gaza (the bitter) and ending with a delightful evening with new friends I've made here who I hope will be lifelong acquaintances (the sweet).

Check out this excerpt from March 6:

There are 59 of us on the two buses.

Some you would expect to find in a Codepink delegation with a mission of breaking the siege on Gaza: The mother of a girl who was bulldozed to death by the Israeli army when trying to block a home demolition. A U.S. Army colonel and diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war. A Pulitzer-prize-winning author and feminist. A producer for Democracy Now and videographer for Big Noise Films. A member of the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union in Southern California.

Others would surprise you – perhaps even if you thought you knew them well. The owner of a small record label that specializes in jazz and blues. The manager of an art gallery and sometime candidate for mayor of Santa Fe. A high school math teacher. A veterinarian.

Most are from the United States, but they also hail from Canada, Australia, France, Turkey, Pakistan, Dubai and Egypt.

But no matter what their background or residence, we share the same mission: To focus the world’s attention on the continuing blockade of Gaza, and -- in particular – to show solidarity with the women who must continue to hold their fragile families together despite extreme hardship.

A 60-member aid delegation - including novelist Alice Walker, the parents of Rachel Corrie, Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright - is currently on its way to enter Gaza, the first delegation of its size and kind to attempt to enter Gaza since July 2007. Delegates — which include members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as doctors, businesspeople, lawyers and college students — will meet with Palestinian aid groups, Gazan women, and United Nations officials. They will also bear witness to the aftermath of the three-week Israeli assault earlier this year and deliver 2,000 gift baskets to Gazan women, purchased through an outpouring of donations through the CODEPINK website to honor Gazan women on International Women’s Day, March 8.

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