To the Editor,
Re: Nanaimo man on aid mission held by Israelis, Oct. 23.
Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney’s comments regarding my father, Jim Manly’s, humanitarian mission to contest the military blockade of Gaza are absolutely offensive.
My father did not go crying for consular services or for his release from an Israeli jail, I sought help. He knew what he was getting into and I did what I could to support him.
I alerted Foreign Affairs about my father’s health condition and asked them to let the Israeli government know because neither the Israeli government nor my family needed to see my father martyred for this cause, and rough treatment and tasering could have done that. As Canadian citizens, we have a right to consular services.
Lunney states my father would be in good hands in Israeli detention, but the Canadian government’s own travel advisory states that previous attempts to breach the navel blockade resulted in “death, injury, arrest and deportation.”
During this illegal raid and abduction in international waters (a violation of Maritime law), passengers on the M.V. Estelle were tasered and beaten. A Greek MP was beaten in detention.
Those politicians that supported segregation in the southern states issued similar warnings to activists who dared to join the freedom marches with Martin Luther King. They faced beatings, jail and murder, but they did the right thing.
Lunney needs to do some reading. According to a 2010 UN Human Rights Council report, this military blockade is a violation of international law. It is a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1860. Collective punishment is illegal and immoral, the people of Gaza are no more deserving of punishment for the actions of Hamas than I am for the actions of the Harper regime.
According to the UN report, Gaza in 2020: A liveable place?, the Gaza strip is in a humanitarian crisis. The released Israeli government document on red lines for food consumption in Gaza proves the Israeli government was ensuring that only enough food, (2,300 calories per person per day) was allowed into Gaza to keep the population from starving.
At least my Nanaimo-Cowichan MP, Jean Crowder, had the decency to contact me, express concern and work in the background for my father’s release.
I pity those in Lunney’s riding who need his support.