In the wake of Obama’s presidential victory, African-Americans had finally had their ‘excuse crutch’ kicked right under them. The U.S. had long been dubbed - The Land of Opportunity. Generations have flooded to the U.S. from all corners of the planet; some seeking refuge, while others simply seeking a better education, a better opportunity and a better tomorrow. One uniform belief that is shared by ALL is that the U.S. is the one place on earth where, dreams come true and all things are possible, if one perseveres and never quits. Yet African-Americans are the (only) group of people that play a pivotal role in filling up, all-statistics-gloomy-and-disheartening. The question, ‘who is to blame for African-American’s failings?’ has been open for debate for the longest, and frankly for no apparent reason, when, specially all the evidences pointed back squarely at African-American themselves. Obama’s presidential victory is a momentous and watershed moment, and particularly for this reason - it has helped shut the coffin cover down on the “racism” argument. It is also a vindication of the timeless creed, that - no matter who you are or where you come from, you can achieve anything, no matter how hard life might sometimes tests you. Africans Hardly Blame, While African-Americans Enjoy Blaming. I am black, of African descent, and I have lived in the U.S. for almost a decade now. I am what you may choose to call an immigrant. And under the “white man’s” microscope, I and my African-American brothers and sisters are one and the same – BLACKS. When I speak of race relations (racism) in America, I mainly speak from my experience as a black man in America, and everything else second, (Like pride in oneself, resilience, lack of inferiority complex.) Am I a witness of racism in America? Absolutely. Do I believe whites have an advantage over blacks? Umm . . . Ye - - -S. But nothing to cry and moan about. Probably very minimal advantage and one, in my African eyes, I have a hard time to identify. And definitely not something that a black man couldn’t overcome with a bit of hard work and vigilance. What African-Americans have is a crippling disease called - Laziness. It is precisely a dangerous disease because it is the hardest to notice and one that hardly displays its symptoms in black-and-white. However, this laziness in the black community is one that has sipped through over time, and it was almost non-existent in the generations before. African-Americans are the descendants of slaves who were subjected to hard and back-breaking labor, and this laziness that is prevalent among today’s generations of African-Americans is one that defies scientific theories, in my view. More African-Americans had finished high school and attended college in the 70’s than they do today. In fact, the rate of an African-American in the 70’s graduating high school and college was the same as that of an Anglo-American. African Americans Need Only Look At Africans. Perhaps no evidence debunks the “racism” argument more than black Africans who come to the U.S. to lead a triumphant and prosperous life. For that matter, one could point out the success rate of ALL types of immigrants. But for argument sakes alone, I choose to compare Apples-to-Apples (Blacks to Blacks, in this case) And for those who are reluctant to let go off the racism argument, I have one more news for you: On the list of obstacles an African-American faces in today’s America, racism was recently listed 18th. 18th! Making racism a non-issue by default. So Why Do Africans Succeed Where African-Americans Fail? Hard work, education, accountability and responsibility. It doesn’t get any more uncomplicated than that, though some intelligentsia in the African-American community would like to complicate things. These so-called intelligentsia in the black community are what I call those with, a-hang-over-from-the-civil-rights-era. They are still living in the 60’s and 70’s. They are still stuck in solving the puzzle that has been long solved. In fact, Africans are faced with more challenges than any African-American ever could. Most Africans are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth; they are usually faced with all sorts of problems when they first arrive in America (Challenges like learning a new system, a language barrier that takes years to break, in addition to all the other problems and obstacles African-Americans claim to face due to their pigmentation). So tell me, who has it hard? The African or the African-American? The inescapable fact remains, that there is no substitute to hard work and resilience, and the sooner the African-American intelligentsia of the civil rights era fess up, the better for African-Americans. Am I indifferent to the problems of racism in America? Puuuh-lizz! Only a mad man would think that. The day has come where racism can no longer be considered the alpha-and-omega of problems that black people face. That’s the point that I am trying to make. As a human being first, and a black man in America second, I have never been able to push on an open door. All the doors that I had thus far walked through had to be unlocked by me. And I don’t know of a white man that had to stay in bed and have his bills taken care of at the end of the month. In fact, I have never met an uber rich white man in a decade of my staying in America. And I ask myself is this really true that white people have an advantage? Could it be exaggerated? Because all my white neighbors are forced to get up every morning and sit behind their desk somewhere or earn a living somehow. I never see them going to a secret meeting where they are handed a manual that tells them the secret to successful life in America. It is the “System.” African-Americans are constantly talking about the “system.” I am not going to go there, because it would waste my time. But let me say this quickly, this “system” that seems to be a part of a constant discussion in the black community is simply another, what else, excuse. Enough said about “systems”. Entitlement Programs Suck, Plain Suck! I hate programs like the “Affirmative Action” with a passion. I frown upon it, and I detest it. Did I say I hate it? Programs like the Affirmative Action are simply, - Entitlement Programs. No type of entitlement program, in the history of the world, has ever worked. Entitlement programs do nothing, whatsoever, to address the heart of the problem. Thus serving as anything, but adding salt to an injury. For a society who has produced the like of W.E. DuBois, Frederick Douglas and many others like them, how should African-Americans ever say yes to programs like the Affirmative Action Program. The fact of the matter is, Affirmative action would never solve the poverty and crime that is prevalent in the black community. What the latest “lazy” generation of African-Americans require is not an entitlement program, but rather a face-lift in attitude, thinking and approach. Attributes and traits that are pivotal for anyone to succeed are sorely missing in the black youth today. Belief-in-oneself, sense of pride, and lack of inferiority complex are all important if one is to succeed and overcome obstacles. What I am thankful for the most about Obama’s historical victory is that he had played a critical role in restoring and instilling the confidence back in the black youth.When those attributes are backed by a solid educations and hard work, the sky is truly the limit. In short, where African-Americans see “racism,” Africans are thinking “let’s prove them wrong.” That simple difference in attitude could mean the difference between - succeeding and becoming a couch-potato. By Fay Venegas African Executive Thanks to AfroSpear =//=

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  • Chicago-Midwest
    Here I am, with my two cents

    I imagine that most everyone on this site is doing fairly well by global standards. Which says volumes if you're someone looking for a chance to have what you have. It says little when you compare what you have to what others make for you to want.

    One of the things that pisses me off about living in urban America is the massive amount of information concerning my own cultural heritage, that is not common knowledge. Only after rebelling and escaping the confines of my own popular culture was I able to openly embrace the wealth of knowing what the people I identify myself with culturally are capable of. And I defend the responsibility of making that information accessible, the right to enjoy the learning of other's wisdom and the freedom of that knowledge to flow through out the common masses and I defend it as violently and passionately as others defend material possessions.

    It seems that the contents of our minds is guarded more securely than or sex organs in wait for some intimate seduction to open the floodgates of our learning. So much that after little more that a third of a century we tend to forget what's in there.

    The writer is correct in addressing our entitlement programs as things worth hating. Sure after you've been given an "in" you can prove your equality or even superiority in an area, but you have to already believe in your own exceptionalness before you get the opportunity. Far too few return to where they came from to create more. And far too often that leads to its own brand of separation and elitist attitude. You didn't build Ford, IBM or any of the institutions you go to for your consumables and durable goods. At best you're a supplier to one of them at most you work for one of them. You don't own it and should they all deny you access to their products, services and employment all you can do is petition the authorities that govern. It's to their benefit to make a few the exception and present them to the hood like debutantes.

    Our children should not have to wait until they are adults or sneak out like criminals to go look for Cornell West, Henry Louis Gates, George Washington Carver, they don't have to take on clandestine missions to find Labron James, Micheal Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, or 50 cent. Ya'll treat the works of Benjamin Banneker like the Da Vinci code or something. Our children should not have to work so hard to find out about the activities of people like TI working with Urban Farming programs, Stephon Marbury bringing affordable shoes to the market or Jay Z's working with Kofi Anon on things like "Water For Life", the UN's program to bring fresh water to drought stricken African communities. But you'd much rather debate about the things you disapprove of. Our children should know the difference between a hoe (a common garden tool) and a whore. Our children should have access to the same "hard package" skills and trades that helped our ancestors and many people around the world today live! The examples and names should be administered by our hands. And it is not someone else's responsibility that they get it.

    I live in Detroit, Michigan and I know from first hand witness that we have enough talent, skill, desire and human resources to build our own cars and if that's the case car companies. But the manufacturing plantation ruled and when it stopped being the factory plants it became the information engine.

    And Imma jump all over the first person that shouts, "But I do that". Because it is not common and to that we must agree as a community with what this writer has stated, regardless to how individually exceptional our lives are. We the exceptional do not make our knowledge, wisdom, experience or networks accessible or desirable. We do not compete with the popular elite.

    We sit in our cars, cubicles, traffic, drive through lines, Starbucks and night clubs and only on the Cosby show do the entertainers we admire and hang out with come by the crib for a jam session with the kids.

    We don't even have time to teach our children how to play jacks, marbles, jump a god damned rope, because, "That ain't gone make you no money".

    The people that should be made highly public to serve as role models and heroes don't live in accessible range of our most needy individuals. They are not the topic of conversation at what few dinner tables exist in our communities. And more often than not they are our harshest critics for not recognizing and taking advantage of whatever it was that got them into their ivory towers.

    We much like our kinfolk on other continents are waiting for the destroyers to come back from the grave and make things right.

    Get off of your defensive asses and start installing examples of the places you want your people to live. You plan them and you fund them and let our children build them!

    And stop shouting at people "You don't know what you're talking about. You ain't had my life!"

    Without our help this administration will be just more duct tape and chewing gum and our great black hope will be just another novelty in the history books.

    I'm Ulysses Newkirk 2nd
    and I speak for Ray Ray and dem!
    • South
      Whew! I can hardly believe that I agree with almost every word "Black American" Zen just said. Progress!

      As for "entitlement", look at what is happeneing in the Horn of Africa. Listen to all that fuss and uproar about "priates" and "fundamenatlists" "hijacking" American (and israelI!) ships "trying" to "deliver food aid". Sounds familiar?

      What they are not telling us is that the Somali seafood supply has been illgeally stolen by illegal fishing in Somali coastal waters. Plus, what is not stolen has been poisoned by the dumping of illgeal nuclear and other wastes in Somali waters. As a result, millions of Somalis face starvation. Thus, the need for "food aid"

      Naw. Nobody wants to loof at from this perspective because once that line of thinking is in play, we are forced to conclude that if anyone is to help the "under dog" in the Horn of Africa, they must support the re-establishment of Somali national unity, at a minmum, and African Unity preferrably. This means that a national Somali government must be supported. It also means that the African Union must be supported. The effect of this would be a coast guard to defend the sea waters around the Horn of Africa. In other words, to support an African controlled coast guard in the Horn of Africa is to support Black Power. We all know that that word scares Europeans pink. Black Power is Pan-Africanism, not "black nationalism" Or, you could call it African nationlism.

      When we look at it this way, we note that His Execllency Brother Muamar Qaddafi, the current Chairman of the African Union, began his term in office by defending the "children of Somalia" in their fight to re-unite and defend their country, especially their coastline. We also note, that Brother Muamar has called for the establishment of a continental African army under one central command.

      When we as Africans get serious about Black military Power, we will conclude that we must produce Africa's defense weapons in Africa. This means building gunboats and submarines in Africa. It also means building rifle and tanks and all of the hardware of modern military defense IN AFRICA. When we do this, we will create jobs, civilian jobs for millions of Africans. It makes no sense to buy weapons from foreign powers thereby creating jobs in foreign countries. This must be done in Africa. When it is done in Africa, we will automatically develop the capacity to manufacture and produce related technologies with non-military applications, such as automobiles, motor biles, etc. This will create millions of additional jobs IN AFRICA. Thus, what I am saying has to do with African Economic Power. Thus, we see that Black Power can best be realized in Africa. And, the best name for it is African Power, not "black" Power.
    • Well spoke my friend.

      There is a difference between wanting/needing and having - the thing that separates the them is DOING. The act of trying is an act, what are you doing? Our actions speak louder than words. Get on with the BEING ALIVE without gesturing at it. We can talk ABOUT, but DOING is far more clear. Then those that wish to talk about have something to speak of, and perhaps the example will lead them to activity.
  • South
    The problem is, this is not true. It's just that the lazy ONES get better press, WONDER WHY?
    Watch HBO special "The RIGHT feeling WRONGED" documented by Alexandra Pelosi, that's just a tip of the iceberg of racism.
  • Lies, lies and more lies. Who is Fay Venegas? And is she supposed to be African as she claimed in this jargon that she wrote?

    Read between the lines, fellows. This woman is neither black nor African. She is more than likely a white right wing idiot who is hiding behind internet and spewing her hatred among African-Americans. The danger here is that she is playing a divide and conquer game. Pitch one group of blacks against the other thereby creating rifts among them. Watch Fox News Network and you'll probably see Fay Venegas.

    Do not listen to this crap and please do what I did: Do not ever forward that nonsense that she wrote.

    -The Tiger
    the custodial of truth
  • South
    While i do agree that we need to put down the ‘excuse crutches’, obama victory is not the end of racism in america and the world. if you do not believe me, ask Oscar Grant's family out in LA, ask any Katrina Surviver, ask Black people in Yahoo County, Mississippi whose median income is $18,863 compared to $48,632 for whites according to 2006 u.s. census report. compared any county in mississippi and than stand by your position.

    having a black president DOES NOT erase the past or change present conditions instantly. again, i agree that we need to stand-up for ourselves. but america still has to ATONE for her crimes against our lineage, as does the world.
  • South
    There is NO BLANKET that fits all! (Africans and Africans in america)

    Racism like faith is real! But when one who has succeeded becomes convinced that it is “just as easy” for everyone perhaps the disease that has infested the African in this case is “asinine thinking or self don’t even notice I am lying (denial).”

    Of all that you said, the most significant was “When those attributes are backed by a solid educations and hard work, the sky is truly the limit.” From ©1619 - today that type of education has not been and is not available to Africans in america. Consequently, we don’t think as educated (liberated) man, not even the degree holders among us.

    Long story short, america DID NOT produce WEB or Frederick or Nat or others like them, they were SELF CREATED in spite of america. The rest of us need to develop their courage and imbue in ourselves and in our children especially, the pivotal attributes and traits essential for success. But we should never DENIAL the internal or external obstacles to success that must be moved and/or destroyed in order to first obtain success and than enjoy success.

    Please tell me of the of the things you are doing to imbue the needed spirit of success needed in our people/youth. For every article we write about the problem, we should write three about strategic solutions or we should shut the hell-up!

    Please believe me, no respect intended
    By God's Grace

    Aki Asinia Lukata Chikuyu
    Jackson, MS
    also affiliated with
    National Coalition Of Blacks for Reparations (Self Repair) in america
  • Africa
    It would be highly ignorant of us to believe that all Africans back home as all Africans here think and act the same way. If that were the case, their would be a black state in Africa.

    "In fact, Africans are faced with more challenges than any African-American ever could."

    Unless we know every African on the continent of Africa as well as this one I would null & void this statement as well as many others in this "generalizing" article. well written though.

  • Chicago-Midwest
    Wow, sounds like the typical "let's blame the victim syndrome" There is an overwhelming amount of literature and evidence that focus on the psyche of the African- American. The remnants of slavery. This is not an opportunity to condone what the authors calls laziness. This is an effort to look at the oppression, and the devastating effects of White Supremacy. Let's take a look at at Willie Lynch and compare it to what we see today.
  • West

    My opt is for the Obama Administration to focus all efforts toward fixing whats wrong with our own country (based on research done by both myself and a multitude of other scientist black and white alike). Our effort, the one that is responsible for building and continuing to build the very foundations of this nation does not need to be diluted with foreign affairs that precede our own history and take away from this much warranted effort.

    I feel Obama needs to be remembered in history not only for becoming the first black president but also for establishing a counterpart to the Dept of Defense fittingly named "The Department of PEACE." The afore mentioned was an idea of U.S. Senator Dennis Kucinich's when he made his bid for the highest office in the land.

    My prayers go out to anyone including former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney that was injured or harmed in any way (physically or psychologically) in this incident, past acts of aggression, as well as, any unwarranted future acts of war against anyone anywhere. My understanding of PEACE and what it entails is not up for argument nor negotiations.

    Min W D Patterson

    Wardell D. Patterson, [UW SR. CLASS 2001 GIFT COUNCIL]
    "As a young man, my fondest dream was to become a geographer..."
    -Albert Einstein
    Need advice? Call me now!

    "A Social Scientist of Human Geography Documenting The Black-Cultured Life In The
    Black-American Urban Communities of The USA while utilizing the latest
    in scientific methods and technology"

    --- On Wed, 12/31/08, Peggy Wolf wrote:

    From: Peggy Wolf
    To: "Min. W.D. Patterson"
    Cc: "UPC PR Committee" , "UPC WIC"
    Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2008, 12:13 PM

    Peace, Min. Patterson,

    By now you have probably heard about the incident in the press release below. This is the best link I've found to watch video of both Cynthia and the CNN reporter who were on board:

    You have shared with us often that you have a personal connection to Barack Obama. I ask you to please read the letter Cynthia McKinney just emailed, which I will paste below, and tell us if you plan to contact Obama to do as Cynthia requests. If you do not think that is the thing to do here, I would like to understand your reasoning. If you can leverage this matter with Obama, that would be great.

    Peace, Peggy

    From Cynthia McKinney:

    December 30, 2008: Oh What a Day!

    I'm so glad that my father told me to buy a special notebook and to write everything down because that's exactly what I did.

    When we left from Cyprus, one reporter asked me "are you afraid?" And I had to respond that Malcolm X wasn't afraid; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't afraid. But little did I know that just a few hours later, I would be recollecting my life and mentally preparing myself for death.

    When we left Cyprus, the Mediterranean was beautiful. I remember the time when it might have been beautiful to look at, but it was also filthy. The Europeans have taken great strides to clean it up and yesterday, it was beautiful. And the way the sunlight hit the sea, I remember thinking to myself that's why they call it azure. It was the most beautiful blue.

    But sometimes it was rough, and we got behind on our schedule. We stayed on course, however, despite the roughness of the water and due to our exquisite captain.

    There were no other ships or boats around us and night descended upon us all rather quickly. It was the darkest black and suddenly, out of nowhere, came searchlights disturbing our peace. The searchlights stayed with us for about half an hour or so. We knew they were Israeli ships. Who else would they be?

    They were fast, and they would come close and then drop back. And then, they'd come close again. And then, all of a sudden there was complete blackness once again and all seemed right. The cat and mouse game went on for at least one half hour. What were they doing? And why?

    Calm again. Black sky, black sea. Peace. And then, at that very moment, when all seemed right, out of nowhere we were rammed and rammed again and rammed again the last one throwing me off the couch, sending all our food up in the air; and all the plastic bags and tubs--evidence of sea sicknesses among the crew and passengers--flew all over the cabin and all over us. We'd been rammed by the Israelis. How did we know? Because they called us on the phone afterwards to tell us that we were engaging in subversive, terroristic activity. And if that if we didn't turn around right then and return to Larnaca, Cyprus, we would be fired upon. We quickly grabbed our lifevests and put them on. Then the captain announced that the boat was taking on water. We might have to evacuate. One of my mates told me to prepare to die. And I reflected that I have lived a good and full life. I have tasted freedom and know what it is. I was right with myself and my decision to join the Free Gaza movement.

    I remembered my father's parting words, "You all will be sitting ducks." Just like the U.S.S. Liberty. We were engaged in peaceful activity, a harmless pleasure boat, carrying a load of hospital supplies for the people of Gaza, who, too are sitting ducks, currently being bombarded in aerial assault by the Israeli military.

    It's been a long day for us. The captain was outstanding. Throughout it all, he remained stoic and calm, effective in every way. I didn't know how to put my life jacket on. One of the passengers kindly assisted me. Another of the passengers pointed out that the Israeli motors for those huge, fast boats was U.S. made--a gift to them from the U.S. And now they were using those motors to damage a pleasure boat outfitted with three tons of hospital supplies, one pediatrician, and two surgeons.

    I have called for President-elect Obama to say something. The Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are seeing the worst violence in 60 years, it is being reported. To date, President-elect Obama has remained silent. The Israelis are using weapons supplied to them by the U.S. government. Strict enforcement of U.S. law would require the cessation of all weapons transfers to Israel. Adherence to international law would require the same. As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, let us remember that he said:

    1. The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and
    2. Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.

    I implore the President-elect to not send Congress a budget that contains more weapons for Israel. We have so much more to offer. And I implore the Congress to vote "no" on any budget and appropriation bills that provide more weapons transfers, period.

    Israel is able to carry out these intense military maneuvers because taxpayers in the U.S. give their hard-earned money to our Representatives in Congress and our Congress chooses to spend that money in this way. Let's stop it and stop it now. There's been too much blood shed. And while we still walk among the living, let us not remain silent about the things that matter.

    We really can promote peace and have it if we demand it of our leaders.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Peggy Wolf
    Date: Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 6:52 PM

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, December 30, 2008


    Israeli gunboats ram three times an unarmed pleasure boat carrying Cynthia McKinney, doctors, reporters and three tons of desperately needed medical supplies headed for Gaza. All aboard arrive safely in Lebanon.

    For more information, please contact:

    (Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +972 598 700 497 /
    (Cyprus) Lubna Masarwa +357 99 081 767 /
    (Lebanon) Caoimhe Butterley +961 70 875 727 /

    Interview requests for Cynthia McKinney:

    Rosa Clemente

    Lebanon -- Today the Free Gaza ship "Dignity" carefully made its way to safe harbor in Tyre, Lebanon's southern-most port city, after receiving serious structural damage when Israeli warships rammed its bow and the port side. Waiting to greet the passengers and crew were thousands of Lebanese who came out to show their solidarity with this attempt to deliver volunteer doctors and desperately needed medical supplies to war-ravaged Gaza. The Lebanese government has pledged to provide a forensic analysis of what happened in the dark morning, when Israel rammed the civilian ship in international waters, and put the people on board in danger of losing their lives.

    The Dignity, on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, was attacked by the Israeli Navy at approximately 6am (UST) in international waters, roughly 90 miles off the coast of Gaza. Several Israeli warships surrounded the small, human rights boat, firing live ammunition around it, then intentionally ramming it three times. According to ship's captain Denis Healy, the Israeli attack came, ""without any warning, or any provocation."

    Caoimhe Butterly, an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement, stated that, "The gunboats gave us no warning. They came up out of the darkness firing flares and flashing huge flood lights into our faces. We were so shocked that at first we didn't react. We knew we were well within international waters and supposedly safe from attack. They rammed us three times, hitting the side of the boat hard. We began taking on water and, for a few minutes, we all feared for our lives. After they rammed us, they started screaming at us as we were frantically getting the life boats ready and putting on our life jackets. They kept yelling that if we didn't turn back they would shoot us."

    Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, was traveling to Gaza aboard the Dignity in order to assess the impact of Israel's military onslaught against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. According to McKinney, "Israeli patrol boats...tracked us for about 30 minutes...and then all of a sudden they rammed us approximately three times, twice in the front and once in the side...the Israelis indicated that [they felt] we were involved in terrorist activities."

    The Dignity departed from Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7pm (UST) on Monday 29 December with a cargo of over 3 tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated to Gaza by the people of Cyprus. Three surgeons were also aboard, traveling to Gaza to volunteer in overwhelmed hospitals and clinics. The ship was searched by Cypriot Port authorities prior to departure, and its passenger list was made public.

    Israel's deplorable attack on the unarmed Dignity is a violation of both international maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that "the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes."

    Delivering doctors and urgently needed medical supplies to civilians is a just such a "peaceful purpose." Deliberately ramming a mercy ship and endangering its passengers is an act of terrorism.

    Members of the public are encouraged to call the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking the civilian population of Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

    Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
    +972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264

    Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
    +972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148

    Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy at:
    + 972 5 781 86248

    Background on the Free Gaza Movement:

    The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza in August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the port in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, taking Parliamentarians, human rights workers, and other dignitaries to witness the effects of Israel's draconian policies on the civilians of Gaza.

    The 15 Passengers aboard the "Dignity", representing 11 countries:

    (UK) Denis Healey, Captain
    Captain of the Dignity, Denis has been involved with boats for 45 years, beginning with small fishing boats in Portsmouth. He learned to sail while at school and has been part of the sea ever since. He's a certified yachtmaster and has also worked on heavy marine equipment from yachts to large dredgers. This is his fourth trip to Gaza.

    (Greece) Nikolas Bolos, First Mate
    Nikolas is a chemical engineer and human rights activist. He has served as a crewmember on several Free Gaza voyages, including the first one in August.

    (Jordan) Othman Abu Falah
    Othman is a senior producer with Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

    (Australia) Renee Bowyer
    Renee is a schoolteacher and human rights activist. She will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

    (Ireland) Caoimhe Butterly
    Caoimhe is a reknowned human rights activist and Gaza Coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement. She will be remaining in Gaza to do human rights monitoring, assist with relief efforts, and work on project development with Free Gaza.

    (Cyprus) Ekaterini Christodulou
    Ekaterini is a well-known and respected freelance journalist in Cyprus. She is traveling to Gaza to report on the conflict.

    (Sudan) Sami El-Haj
    Sami is a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and head of the human rights section at Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

    (UK) Dr. David Halpin
    Dr. Halpin is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

    (Germany) Dr. Mohamed Issa
    Dr. Issa is a pediatric surgeon from Germany. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

    (UK/Tunisia) Fathi Jaouadi
    Fathi is a television producer and human rights activist. He will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

    (USA) Cynthia McKinney
    Cynthia is a former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, and the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict.

    (Cyprus) Martha Paisi
    Martha is a senior research fellow and experienced human rights activist. She is traveling to Gaza to do human rights work and to assist with humanitarian relief efforts.

    (UK) Karl Penhaul
    Karl Penhaul is a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá, Colombia. Appointed to this position in February 2004, he covers breaking news around the world utilizing CNN's new laptop-based 'Digital Newsgathering' system. He is traveling to Gaza to report on the ongoing conflict.

    (Iraq) Thaer Shaker
    Thaer is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

    (Cyprus) Dr. Elena Theoharous, MP
    Dr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.

    ~ END ~

    Peggy Wolf

    Peggy Wolf
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