Gaza Surreal: The Juxtaposition of real life and virtual activism

It’s midnight. I’m seated at my over-sized oak dining room table in my University of Michigan sweats, a cup of cold coffee off to the side next to by BlackBerry.

I’m blogging, writing media advisories, press releases, and action alerts while mining media reports. I’ve got that familiar cold fear in the pit of my stomach,waiting for the inevitable.

With each passing minute the Freedom Flotilla, with its 800 volunteers and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid and  medical supplies, chugs ever more closely to Gaza’s waters and the waiting Israeli gunships. Everyone expects Israel to act disproportionately. Actually anything Israel does to commandeer those vessels whether shots are fired or not will be disproportionate merely because it will be  illegal.

Israel has no right to patrol Gaza’s waters. It also has no right – no legal basis for the three-year-old blockade it has imposed upon 1.5 million – but it continues to act with impunity. The United States continues to fund the Israeli imperial colonial enterprise to the tune of $7 million per day.  A full 75 percent of Congress’ 535 members are bedfellows with AIPAC and other pro-Zionist lobby groups, as evidenced by their signatures on AIPAC-sponsored letters decrying President Barack Obama’s stance on Israel’s illegal settlement construction earlier this spring.

Because of this ‘close relationship’ (as Vice President Joe Biden likes to stress), 800 people from around the world are risking their lives to break the siege. They are supported by legions of people like me, taking to cyberspace and desperately trying to garner attention, hoping to educate just one more person and open just one more mind.

Meanwhile, life has a way of continuing on its bumbling way, seemingly oblivious of the momentous events unraveling half a world away.

My 75-year-old father drove more than six hours from Michigan to visit. He’s staying at a hotel, though, five minutes from my home.


At this time in his life, my father should be enjoying his just rewards of a life well-lived.  But I have brought much sadness to him in these ends years. First with my conversion to Islam. And now with my full-time activism for Palestine.

So he made the effort to come and visit. But he’s staying in a hotel. I didn’t even know he had arrived. I ran into him accidentally at the local mall.

And while we hugged and kissed and made small talk about his trip, I kept glancing at my BlackBerry.

I was genuinely happy to see my father.  My smiles, though, belied the fear in my stomach, the worry of the fate of those 800 aboard the flotilla. So while we made plans for tomorrow, I was thinking about the impending confrontation between Israel and the peace activists. And my father most likely was remembering earlier days when I was less complicated and less worrisome.

Meanwhile, the world keeps spinning and time keeps marching on – inexorably on.

~ Kristin Szremski 5/29/2010



Filed under Activism, Opinion/analysis

2 responses to “Gaza Surreal: The Juxtaposition of real life and virtual activism

  1. Dwanna


    Thank you for your blog and the sacrifices you are making… May Allah bless you for your effeorts.
    … give your father an extra big hug…

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