Handala with its international crew arrived in Hamburg harbour the afternoon of Monday July 31st. The welcome party on Tuesday, August 1st was held under the elevated railway bridge at Baumwall due to the rain and for this reason the musical performance unfortunately couldn’t take place. Nevertheless, despite the rain pouring down again and again, thanks to the impressive speeches by Wieland Hoban from Jüdische Stimme (Jewish Voice), Zohar for the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, and Usama from “Palestine Speaks Bremen”, we were able to reach people and deliver a message about the need to end the blockade on Gaza. Good conversations with passers-by on the promenade encouraged us. Even Omas Gegen Rechts (grannies against the right) and others who had been informed via the Internet, were not deterred by the rain.
The women of the Palestinian women’s group came with food they had made themselves, which they brought onto the ship. There was great joy over the delicious cakes and pastries. Shortly before the end of our event, many of our members dared to walk in a sort of spontaneous chain to reach the ship via the jetty and welcome the crew.
On Wednesday, August 2nd in the evening the lecture and discussion event took place in the Syntagma room in the University: the crew came with flyers, t-shirts and a donation box. Karin with friends prepared the tables with the usual flyers and brochures.
Slowly the room filled up with guests from the university and the surrounding area, as well as people we had reached through our advertising. The crew introduced themselves; Zohar described the mission, Arne, the captain and owner of the ship, the journalist Marianne, Tone, the cook …. Elin, an activist, gave an impressive account of their motivation and experiences with the trip on Handala .
Wolfgang Scheer as the representative of the host organization Attac opened the speeches with a statement on BDS and the situation in Israel and Palestine. Dr. Fuad Zeidan greeted the Flotilla on behalf of the Palestinian community and the German-Palestinian Medical association. Wieland Hoban from the Jüdische Stimme followed. Joshua Bartran, after a short speech, reported that he had recorded these speeches.
On Thursday, August 3rd, we took a hop-on hop-off bus through Hamburg with three crew members. We got off at the Miniatur Wunderland at the entrance to the Speicherstadt to inform the people waiting there, mostly families with children, about the situation of children in Gaza. We also visited the formerly occupied harbour street houses. There we had several long conversations with interested residents and pub owners, to whom we of course left information leaflets.
On Friday August 4th Handala departed at 7 a.m. with the outgoing tide. We released the lines ashore and the ship slowly turned out of the harbour basin.
We waved Palestinian flags from the promenade until she was no longer visible.