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Maghreb: Views on Freedom Flotilla's Unfolding Drama

Reactions to the Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla still reverberate across the world, not least among Maghreb bloggers who have been commenting on unfolding events.

Moroccan blogger Ibn Kafka posts pictures published on the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs’ Flickr page, allegedly of weapons seized on board the raided ships. The blogger writes:

On the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs’ Flickr page, the pictures of the so-called weapons seized on the ships taking part in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla provide ample evidence of the deviousness of those darned anti-semitic terrorists. Be forewarned: the following pictures are not for the faint-hearted.

The blogger goes on commenting the pictures:

Exhibit A: bulletproof vests

A slight snag though: two commentators, probably anti-semitic, point out that this photo really is from February 2006.

[…]

Horror knows no bounds- exhibit C: pepper spray.

Futés ces Turcs pour utiliser des sprays au poivre toujours sous emballage.

How smart are these Turks for using still-packed pepper sprays.

[…]

Do not faint just yet, because here is exhibit E: an electric saw – on a ship! Really, those terrorists really are beyond the pale.

[…]

Please bear with me, because here comes exhibit F: night vision equipment, of course utterly useless on high seas.

Finally, the smoking gun as it were: a butterfly knife of sorts, with a blade slightly shorter than a thumb, a weapon ideally suited for use against marine commandos armed with high-velocity firearms:

If all this hard evidence isn’t enough to convince you of the legitimacy of the Israeli action, I rest my case.

Moroccan-Belgian Kenza el-Yaznasni, was filmed few hours before she joined the Gaza aid convoy. The video [Fr] of her interview, posted by myskinnywonderland went viral on YouTube as bloggers expressed concern about her well being and as rumors spread about her possible death during the Israeli raid. In the following video Kenza is asking for international support for “this completely peaceful and noble action.”

Some Tweeters heard news about the death of Kenza.

But unconfirmed news [Fr] are now emerging attesting that Kenza and three other Belgian nationals are indeed safe and in their way out of Israel.

Allas Di Tlelli is an Algerian blogger whose controversial sympathy for Israel has brought him a bit of fame in his own blogosphere. He writes [Fr]:

[A]u-delà même de l’évidence qui fait que derrière cette flottille, ce sont les mêmes régimes (Algérie, Egypte, Syrie, Iran, Turquie…), voire même les organisations intégristes (Hamas, Hizbollah…) qui financent et tirent les ficelles pour que ce problème du Moyen-Orient puisse retrouver un peu de sa “splendeur” médiatique afin de manipuler encore et toujours la rue arabe et musulmane et de permettre à ces régimes de se faire oublier, eux et le marasme social qu’ils produisent pour leurs gouvernés, et à ces mouvements islamistes, de retrouver un peu de légitimité populaire…

Behind this fleet, there lies the hands of the same regimes (Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Turkey …), and even fundamentalist organizations (Hamas, Hezbollah …) that finance and pull the strings of the whole problem in the Middle East and who want to get a bit of this media “glory” that allows them to further manipulate the Arab and Muslim street and get the world to forget about them and the social slump they produce for their people; and also for the Islamist movements to regain some popular legitimacy…

Algerian blogger nomadius writing on L'archipel d'Algérie [Fr] expresses outrage at Israel's intervention and thinks Israelis may have gone a step too far. He writes:

Cette attaque de ce convoi maritime humanitaire sonne une fin de la barbarie sioniste, sommé depuis longtemps et plus maintenant à se conformer aux normes d'un Etat respectable ou disparaître à la manière de l'apartheid, du fascisme, du nazisme et des autres fléaux de la planète. Que fera l'Etat sioniste quand un autre convoi méné par d'autres associations se dirigera encore une fois pour briser le blocus de Gaza ? Frapper encore ? Rien n'est moins sûr. Les faits sont là, Israèl s'enferme et s'enterre. Israèl est son propre ennemi aujourd'hui, maintenant, et depuis Moise.

This attack of a humanitarian convoy signals the end of Zionist barbarism. They have been summoned time and again to comply with the standards of respectable states or disappear in the manner of apartheid, fascism, Nazism and other scourges of the world. What will the Zionist state do when another convoy led by other associations will set sail again to break the blockade of Gaza? Will they strike again? I doubt it. The facts show that Israel is isolating and burying itself. Israel is its worst enemy today, now, and ever since Moses.

From Tunisia, Lina Ben Mhenni, whose writings have prompted her government earlier this year to block her website, expresses surprise and relief at the Tunisian authorities’ rare decision to allow a march in solidarity with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in the capital Tunis. She goes on telling the story [Fr] of a day full of surprises:

Aprés les attaques meurtières et atroces sur la flotille de la liberté , tous les peuples du monde sont sortis manifester spontanément contre ce crime.Nous on devait obtenir une autorisation pour le faire . Nous devons obtenir une autorisation pour exprimer notre colère, notre douleur…
Et comme par miracle , on a obtenu cette autorisation pour la journée d ‘après.
[…] Nous avons parcouru l ‘avenue Mohamed V , depuis la place du7 Novembre, arrivés a l ‘autre extremité , les forces de l ‘ordre nous ont aggréssés (m**de je croyais que la manifestation était légale ) , une aggression verbale et physique .Ils ont utilisés leur artillerie , ils se sont attaqués aux manifestants comme des betes féroces pourtant la manifestation était légale.

After the murderous and atrocious attacks on the Freedom Flotilla, all the peoples of the world went out spontaneously to protest against this crime. We here have to obtain authorization to do so. We need to get a permit to express our anger, our pain…
And miraculously, a permission has been granted in less than a day.
[…] We marched along Avenue Mohamed V, starting from La Place du 7 November. When we reached the other end of the avenue, we were verbally and physically assaulted by cops (Sh*t, I thought the protest was legal). They have used their guns, they attacked the protesters ferociously like they were beasts, yet the whole event was legal.

Reactions are still pouring in as the situation on the ground continues to unfold.

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