Being on the Flotilla – A First Hand Account

by Jun 4, 2010All Articles

palestinian pic for website1Mattias Gardell is a professor in religious history at the University of Uppsala and the spokesperson for the Swedish branch of the campaign ship to Gaza. One of the six ships, Sofia, came from Sweden. Amandla! Media has put together the quotes he gave to Swedish newspapers upon his return.

Gardell was on the large Turkish ship Mavi Marmara where most of the shooting took place. He gave the following interview to the Swedish news agency TT at arrival on the Istanbul airport. Quotes below are from the Swedish newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet.

“The Israelis committed deliberate murders. The attackers were commando soldiers with laser sights. Two activists were killed with shots to their foreheads; one was shot in the back of his head and one in the chest. Several of the killed were journalists. I saw one of the bodies and heard many direct eye witness accounts.”

“First Special Forces arrived in silent boats. The defenders on our ship used fire hoses, sprawling water on them, which made it impossible for them to board the ship. A couple of soldiers were captured. One Uzi machine gun and on pistol were seized, emptied of ammunition and thrown into the sea. We wanted to show that this was a peaceful action and that we did not have any weapons”

“Then came four helicopters. The parachute soldiers climbing down the ropes opened fire with sharp bullets already when being in the air.”

“I was in the media room most of the time. We tried to get the message out to the world, and I ran to the third floor where we were sending live. When the helicopters came in, they started shooting on people standing on the deck above us and one body fell down the stairs. But we have seen pictures taken by others of the events, because there were a lot of journalists onboard. But I guess that most of this material has been destroyed today.”

“Many were severely wounded after the attack and they were treated in such a way that their injuries worsened. They were lying tied up on deck, some of them with Guantanamo-style hoods over their heads. Some of them were bleeding and one was shot in the back but did not get any help.”

“And there are people who have disappeared. This worries me a lot. There were people who threw themselves, and were thrown, in the sea.”

“Now we are tired. We mourn the dead and think of their families. We are dirty and we haven’t been able to sleep. We have no other clothes than these. The Israelis ripped our clothes apart and smashed cameras and computers.”

“We will all charge the Israeli state for kidnapping, violent assault and for theft of all the things that have disappeared. We will try to get all the governments which had their citizens onboard the flotilla to charge Israel before a court for piracy. A peaceful humanitarian convoy was hit by a massive military attack far out into international waters. Around the ship with which I was travelling, and chosen by most of the media people were staying (…) there were 14 military ships. To this can be added four attack helicopters and a submarine.”

(Translation from Swedish by Amandla! Media)

For more information in Swedish go to Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet.

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