Gaza Ships Eyewitness - Fanous Writer Mankell -- News: MV Rachel Corrie
writer, occasional children's author and dramatist, best known for a
series of mystery novels starring his most iconic creation, Inspector
GERMAN (and video) http://marx21.de/content/view/1099/32/
english (Google Machine translation)
is being entered
MV Rachel Corrie, named after a after a human rights activist killed
by the Israel
===== BABELFISH machine translation =======
04.06.10: Henning Mankell reports
That was an act of the Sea Piratery
The Swedish author Henning Mankell reported with the prelude its
reader ice in Berlin of his Erlebissen with the Israeli attack on the
Free Gaza convoy. At a press conference it placed itself to the
questions of the journalists. Some attacked it as naive or useful
idiots. From view of the marx21-Redaktion a thorough misunderstanding
of the task of journalists. Our critical questions are directed
particularly toward dominant power structures. Therefore to document
and in order the statement Mankells completely to translate and
publish we decided to transliterate the complete press conference.
PHOTO: Calmly and patiently Henning Mankell described the events on
board the cargo ship "Sophia" (photo: January Maas)
I am not obligated to deliver this statement. But like the coincidence
it wants, is I today in Berlin and I wanted, if possible, some
journalists to meet. Because I had already seen the fact that much had
been published which however is perhaps not completely correct. I have
something that they do not have: There I was.
I was on board one of the ships, which were attacked in the middle at
the night. I saw it. I heard it. I saw it. I did not see everything.
There is much, about what I cannot talk, because I did not see it. But
of the things, which I seen, heard and experienced, I know
And I can promise them one: I will not tell them anything, what is not
true. I take part for nearly 40 years in the political discussion in
Sweden and the world. I never hung my heart to any lie. I do not
believe that the lie is a means of the democracy. Therefore I prefer
it to say: I white it, I cannot answer that or I have not the quietest
notion, before I give them a halftrue answer. I will not do that. We
do not have no more than one hour, because I intend this evening some
more. And I would like to eat some more. But I tell them briefly, what
happened on the Monday morning in the Mediterranean.
As they know all, the idea of the convoy from the war developed
against Gaza out, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip behind the
blockade as completely behind a wall isolated. Approximately one year
ago the desire developed to break this blockade against the
Palestinians in an act of the solidarity and the humanitarian
assistance in order to make clear that it is illegitimate and inhuman.
That could succeed only by the sea route. Therefore we called the
campaign" a ship after Gaza ".
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I was on board a ship named" Sophia ". It was a cargo ship, a small
vehicle. I was not on the larger passenger liner, therefore I cannot
testify, what happened there. But of the small" Sophia "out we saw,
what happened there in approximately a kilometer distance. I was on
the" Sophia ", because it was a Swedish ship as it were. It was
financed with Swedish money. Many donated small sums, in order to make
that possible. It had loaded cement, building material and
We were about 25 persons on board. The crew consisted of Greeks, in
addition of me, a Swedish physician, a Swedish delegate of the Greens
and different. We were in international waters and were on the way to
break the blockade. We assumed however we had to drive on still about
two hours, before we would approach waters stressed by Israel.
At 4 o'clock I was waked in the morning by someone, which communicated
to me that the" Mavi Marmara "was attacked. We could see the
headlights of helicopters and hear rifle fires. We could not find out
however, what happened exactly, because communication was paralyzed.
We could not use our telephones and not inform us also otherwise. That
had procured the Israeli military. Only two days later, than I went on
board the Lufthansa airplane, I experienced that ten humans had been
killed. I did not know that before.
We stated thus that the Israeli military had decided itself to attack
the convoy in international waters. At 4.35 they attacked o'clock then
our cargo ship. We had decided to offer no resistance. We stood on the
bridge. Then the command soldiers the ship enterten. They carried
submachine guns and were masked all. I do not know, how many were it,
but were also women under it. They came highly on the bridge, were
very aggressive and called: " Must you here down! "
We had also older people among us, which were perhaps not so fast to
foot. One of them with a Elektroschocker into the arm was shot and he
went before pain to ground. Another man was met by a rubber projectile
and went likewise to ground. Then we were brought downward at deck and
had to put itself together. The soldiers scanned the ship.
After a certain time I cannot say, like much - they returned and one
said to English: " We found weapons on board! "We asked: " What for
weapons? There are no weapons on board this ship. "Then it showed us a
wet electric shaver. Mean electric shavers. Then it showed a small
cardboard measurer from the kitchen, which served the Egyptian cook to
open supply cardboards. " Will remain now here sitting you and we will
bring the ship to Israel. "
That happened in international waters and that is, that the soldiers
acted such as pirates. That was an act of the Seepiraterie. And in the
moment, when them the ship took over, we were practically kidnapped
after international law. We sat eleven hours long at the same place.
Without food supply, we had only water and dry bread in the sun. Then
we were taken somewhere, I white not yet, as the port is called.
When we were ashore brought, happened something, which I am never
forgotten. We were led one after the other one in a true
Spießrutenlauf into the intended prison. To both sides soldiers stood.
Everywhere cameras, but only from the military, were as far as I could
see. Everything illegaly. That I saw, which is with me happened.
In addition I can testify that the soldiers never proved themselves.
They filmed us the whole time, although those prescribes Geneva
convention that civilians may not be treated in such a way. And I can
testify that they stole everything, which I had. They stole my camera,
my telephone, my money, my credit card, my clothes, everything. And
they stole also the computers and telephones of the others.
A policeman spoke me on assumes anyhow I that it was one, it wore
civilian clothes: " Either we push it away or them come into the
prison. "I asked: Of" whose am I accused of? "He said: " You entered
illegaly to Israel. "I answered: " About which do they talk? I was
kidnapped and forced to come. "After it refused talking further with
I was brought into a deportation prison. We were to eight in a very
small area. We got something to eat and something water. We were not
struck. We waited for being able to take up contact to our message. I
was with the Swedish delegate together, to who it finally succeeded to
manufacture contact to the message.
We remained one night in the prison and on the next day to the
Lufthansa flight were brought. I went without socks on board, because
they had stolen also my socks. , I must admit a very interesting
situation. In the business class was however a very nice lady, who
gave me a pair socks. At least I could leave Israel with socks at the
Which I now told them, is the truth. That happened with me. I am a
witness. We were attacked in international waters. We were kidnapped,
brought and pushed away to Israel.
If these people really stop us had want, they should have done it,
where the territorial waters of Israel and Palestine begin. And they
could have very easily done it, as they and propellers of the ship
damage rudders. Then we could have dragged nothing have done and them
us could, where they want. But they preferred it to send command
troops in order to attack us. That was the decision of Israel.
I cannot explain to you, what happened on the ship, on which ten
humans died. But I can say to you that the ten dead ones are not
Israelis. They are humans, who came with goods for the Palestinians
into Gaza. Now I receive gladly its questions.
Question: There is for the moment much criticism at Israel. Sometimes
this criticism already transforms into hate. What do they think of it?
PHOTO: Henning Mankell demonstrates the wet electric shaver, which
Israeli soldiers regarded as weapon
I do not believe in hate. I do not believe that hate is a good
political tool, in order to improve the world. In this situation I
think that the Israelis maneuvered themselves by the stupid and
dangerous decisions, which met them even into this corner. They should
themselves have decided differently. They could themselves have
We saw television pictures of the command soldiers, who roped
themselves and were beaten up on the large ship. Thus, the soldiers
say, had we to defend itself. The question is: Did the passengers try
to high-climb to the helicopters or the soldiers came down? In
international waters. The question answers itself: Who whom attacked?
And I say one to them: If I were attacked on my boat in international
waters, I would try at least to defend me.
They say, it give much hate. That is perhaps understandable, but
unfortunate. I do not believe in this hate. But perhaps it can force
the Israelis to terminate first of all this blockade and to begin
secondly a dialogue, in order to solve the problems, which we have.
Let it me equal say: I am very critical in relation to the actions of
the Hamas in Gaza. I am not an uncritical friend of the Hamas. But we
must speak with them. We must lead the dialogue, in order to terminate
this intolerable situation. I'm sorry that there is the hate, but I
think, the Israelis must before its own door turn. We did not begin
with the hate.
Question: Its writer colleague Leon de Winter said, the passengers on
the ships would have sung songs like" death to the Jews ", when they
ran out in Cyprus. Did you receive of it somewhat?
Hand on the heart: No. On the whole journey I heard no comparable
expressions. Never. I can speak for the ship, on which I was. And I
did not hear it also from the distance. If that had been sung, that
would have been dreadfully wrong. I would be very furious, if that
were true. Because would leave the common ground of our humanitarian
Question: How would they describe their political attitude opposite
Israel before these events? Would they call themselves against the
background their political Sozialisation as Antizionisten?
I was born in the same year, in which Israel was created: 1948. I
lived my whole life with this conflict. And I do not want to die
thereby. I hope that I experience still another solution for it. What
is the solution of this conflict? Completely honestly: We can say one
- the today's situation is intolerable, it is not the solution. Then
we must discuss thus whether them lie at all in two states or whether
we must look for a South African solution. I do not know it.
It is the task of the Israelis and the Palestinians to find it with
our support, in a dialogue, not in a war. I must believe that there is
a solution. I believe that we can find a solution for each problem in
the world by the democratic dialogue. Naturally I am not Antisemit,
even if some insult me in such a way. But I am against the today's
policy of Israel opposite the Palestinians. On the other hand am I,
because that is a kind of apartheid politics. I was against the
apartheid in South Africa and I am today against the apartheid.
Question: They said that they were far away from the outbreak of the
force. But in the meantime they must have seen nevertheless also the
video material of the deck of the" Marmara ", on which we see
activists Israeli soldiers attacking. What is their reaction to this
material? Would they say that it was naive to participate in the
I can insure them that I am not naive. If one lives for 25, 30 years
in Africa, then that makes anyhow not naive for one. To the other
questions: I returned two days ago late in the night and since then
nearly day and night with your colleagues spoke. I saw not very much
video material. I saw a few minutes.
Whereupon I do not see persons the rope climbing highly to the
soldiers in the helicopters. I see soldiers with submachine guns, and
to humans, roping itself who attack her. Which I would also do, if I
were attacked on a ship in international waters. I did not see, what
for weapons her to use, but I do not have firearms seen.
And finally I know today that the ten dead ones are not Israelis.
Briefly before I am broken open to Berlin, one told me that Sweden,
which on board that ship were that it saw dead ones with shots in the
head into the forehead, what not happened, if a soldier fights for his
life. Then is not it any longer like that. We must be waiting, which
the witnesses tell about it. We do not know it yet.
Question: Do they think to sue Israel? Did the soldiers know, who they
are, when they brought them ashore? We reacted it?
I think, we should ask oneself whether it is not possible to bring at
least the Israeli military before the international Court of Justice
into the Hague. I think, which would be possible, because they have us
attacked, committed an act of piracy and kidnaps humans - in
international waters. For me it is too early, in order to say whether
that must be done. But it is possible and then should it be perhaps
As we at the night on the way were, there were sure we that the
Israelis knew exactly, where we were and who on board was. The Mossad
has a very good reputation as very skillful secret service. When they
brought me ashore, immediately a man of the Israeli State Department
came and did not yield any longer of my side. Naturally they knew, who
Question: Are it itself over it in clear ones that the IHH, which
admits of whole world Turkish organization, which equipped the"
Marmara ", in which as financier of the Islamic terrorism is? They
must have known that, before they ran out, because this ship stated
the Flotille. How can they say that they did not know, what on this
ship happened, if it were chartered by an organization, which admits
in Germany as financier of operations of terror is? Do they know Lenin
word of the useful idiots? Don't they think that the Hamas or a Lenin
read two sides?
I accept that they are very aggressive. If they that want. That is all
the same to me.
Answer: I am not aggressive, I ask only one question.
Questions can be also aggressive. But I will answer them, if they have
something patience. When the project was developed, was one of the
first bases that it should work exclusively with humanitarian means.
If its accusations should turn out as true, I can insure them that I
to be very furious and correspond will react.
When second I will answer a question, which they did not ask. Only in
order to make sure that they know, who I am. I am very critical
opposite the Hamas and what does her in the Gaza Strip. Before we
applied, I got questions like these posed: " Thinking it not that it
is naive, for believing that the Hamas does not strike capital from,
which they bring in the country? "I answered: " I cannot guarantee
natural that does not happen. "However I say one to them: If the house
burns, they must get water. From where the water comes, is a
subordinate question. Naturally I cannot guarantee that the Hamas
would not have done anything.
No, I do not believe that I am a useful idiot. If humans in the whole
world require now of Israel to immediately terminate the blockade of
Gaza I think: Wow, that is very good. That was anyhow one of the
goals, which we had. Times sees, what we to still create. No, I do not
believe that I am a useful idiot. I prefer it to be none from this
useful idiots to who sit around everywhere and maintain now cynical
that solidarity is not worth anything. To those I would not like to
belong rather. I am to some extent smart and I know also, how I can
Question: How do they interpret the fact that the attack took place
exactly one day, before Netanjahu Obama in the white house should
meet? Is there a connection between the two events? The goal of the
action was to terminate the blockade from Gaza to. But it will change
for nothing. Apart from the propaganda effect the things will remain,
as they are. Don't they mean?
To the first question: I do not have the quietest notion. From where
am I to know? But I did not experience a as strong and hard criticism
at Israel ever in my life as today. Everyone says that the blockade
must be terminated by Gaza. The problem solves. Begin to negotiate. In
this sense I believe that we are very about that Israel is forced to a
completion of the blockade. We will see. It is not terminated yet, but
we did not experience ever so a reaction in the world. And that is at
least a small step forward.
Question: What did you expect, what would happen? Did the force come
surprisingly for it?
I said already that I am not naive and no useful idiot. What am I
thus? I think, I am a materialist. I expected that the Israelis would
use the navy, in order to stop the convoy. I thought, her that would
do, where they have the right in addition. And I thought, they were
smartly enough to use no force against humans but against the ships.
They could have aimed to no more very easily at the rudder or the
propeller and the ships able would not have been to drive on. Then
they could have away-dragged the ships and finished. That would have
happened, if they had been somewhat smarter. Anyhow I would have done
that, if I were a naval officer in Israel. To attack but a peaceful
convoy to thus release and so deeply sink to commit murder… Anyhow I
think that it is that, which they did on this ship. We will still find
out. I do not understand, why they used so large force and in this
way. That was the stupidest, which they could do. I think, in whom
Israeli government now hard discussed, why it in such a way decide to
have. We will find that out in the next days. I do not understand, why
they decide in such a way have and had something else expected: Force,
but against the ships, not against humans.
Question: Do they know as intellectuals of solidarity of Israeli
intellectuals? What for support did they experience after the attack?
Perhaps I should mention that I was only one month ago in Israel and
Palestine. I traveled to a Palestinian Literaturfestival and Hebron
and Ramallah visited. I can insure them that I meet each mark, if I
come to Israel more and more activists, which tells me that the
situation is terrible and it thus cannot continue. They try to develop
solidarity in order to find a solution. I assume the fact that more
become daily because ever more humans sees that the situation is
intolerable. I with all to mean Jewish friends in Europe discussed,
who make themselves large concerns over it, what happen.
I tell you an anecdote, which would be nearly amusing, but in this
connection there is nothing amusing. When I was brought of board and
of this policeman or out was also always asked, with the man of the
State Department at my side, there I asked him: „I am accused of of
whose? "And he answered: " It accused of illegaly to Israel to have
entered. "I answered that was absurd. " You brought me, I did not want
here not to come. "Then it did not want to talk no more with me, but I
asked it for a further discussion.
Whereupon it said: " Leaving it us over something else to talk. I
know, who they are. I read its books and I like her. "" That is
beautiful ", said I. " Being supposed we about my books to talk? "" No
", he did not reject," that wants I. Perhaps, if I come times to
Europe. "On it I said: " Okay, I will give them my telephone number in
Sweden. Let they us about this incident with one another talk, if them
me rauslassen and they come next time to Sweden. "" Meaning it that
seriously? "he asked. " ", I answered. Then has I mean telephone
number noted and him given her. Afterwards I was then removed, in
order to be pushed away. I always strive for discussion, because I
believe in the reason of humans. That is also the reason, why there
must be a solution. And the Jewish people must play an important role
Question: Would they be ready to try again a journey after Gaza? What
for reactions do they expect from the Israeli authorities?
As long as we have this government, it will not probably be permitted
me to enter to Israel there is rather safe I. I often tried to arrive
on the overland route after Gaza. But the Israelis let me never enter.
I do not know, why. Naturally I would try gladly again a journey after
Gaza. And naturally I would drive also gladly again to Israel. And it
tunes me sadly that me that will not probably be permitted. I will be
able not to visit the universities of Hebron and Ramallah, where I
have many friends among the students. They become me do not clean-let.
But that is perhaps the price, which one must pay. I hope anyhow that
I still experience that I can drive again.
Question: What will their next steps be in the fight for humans in
Gaza? Would they encourage intellectual ones in other countries to
boycott Israeli cultural and academic institutions? That is discussed
in Norway straight. Will they process their experiences in a book?
What will now happen? We do not know it. None knows that. But I think,
it much will pass. I think, the events for many humans the eyes
opened. I think that the discussion will return over a boycott. They
know as well as I that boycotts are not always successful. We have
experiences, where they folded well and where it not to have at all
folded. But we must speak about it. We must find urgently a solution
for the intolerable situation in the Gaza Strip. We must take part all
A thing makes however something concerns for me. If they to the ship
to Bosnia remember many years ago: At that time many different
intellectual ones took part. And today me the question was asked
whether still different writers were involved after Gaza in the ship.
Suddenly I had to state that I was an only writer on board. That was
only one hour ago, since I think about that lies. If they call me in
one week, I have perhaps an answer to this question.
I think, we must continue to work nevertheless on a solution. Like
that is even. Political changes are processes. One makes not an action
and goes then home to bed. It must continue. Whether my experiences in
a book will emerge, I do not know. Now I mourn the dead ones. And I am
furious over it how humans were beaten up.
Question: At least one journalist should thank them for their courage,
with which they tried to break the blockade. It is still a ship on the
way, in order to break the blockade, the Irish" Rachel Corrie ". Think
do they, the crew should because of the dangers break off? The
international Free Gaza campaign announced today to send in September
or October further ships. Will they participate in this journey?
They are right. Were six ships, which were attacked, but seven should
be. The" Rachel Corrie "had problems, it was at the time in Malta,
believes I. Now she is on the way and I thinks naturally that she will
continue the journey. I am rather sure that the Israelis will not
attack humans on this ship. Which will happen, I do not know also.
Perhaps they make that now, with which I had originally counted and to
go against the rudder and the propeller.
The question is interesting also in another connection. This mark were
we with six ships on the way. And we saw the Israeli reaction. What,
if we come in one year with 100 ships? What is to do Israel? The bomb
throw? Wouldn't it be a better idea to waive the blockade? We will
Naturally I am ready to go to board. I do not have a fear around me.
If they need a place, I can organize them one.
Question: Would they like to say to the Israeli people somewhat?
I got many telephone calls in the last days. One particularly made me
happy. He came from the Israeli daily paper Haaretz. They wanted an
interview. Can they introduce themselves, I was how glad that even the
Israelis wanted an estimate of me? I hope that I can speak tomorrow
morning with its editor.
That is a symbolic answer. Naturally I want to speak with the Israelis
and I also gladly would sound myself, which they have to say to it. I
say again that I believe in the dialogue. The dialogue is the main
element, so that democracy can function at all. And it is the best
instrument, in order to solve the conflict. Let us rather thereby work
than with weapons. Then we get ahead. That I can say to them and its
friends. By the way thanks that they came.
Question: They said last year that the two-state solution for Israel
and Palestine is not a solution. What is to then happen with the
Jewish state? Are they against it?
That is not completely correctly shown. I said already that the
solution cannot come from the outside. We can recognize however two
different beginnings. Either the solution, which is now in the
discussion: two states. Or we find a way to a South African solution.
That is another way. All stated that South Africa would sink in a
civil war, as soon as the apartheid system would end. That did not
happen. They found a way out. I am thus not that, which brings the
solution, but the Jews and the Palestinians must find a way to live
together. That hope I. That is the correct solution that humans find a
way, to get along with one another. I say to them again: I am not
naive. I am a materialist. I know that will be very difficult. But
that is not the goal that humans get along with one another? Then we
must converse also about in which form that is possible. In a state or
in two? I confirm, what I said one year ago.
If I sound somewhat tired, that is because of the fact that I am it. I
will not fool to them that no fatiguing and hard day was. I saw much
force. I saw much aggression. And I saw much courage. I must say that
a reason for this press conference was that I believed after these
events still more strongly than ever before that it is possible to
show solidarity and improve the world. Thank you.