S1E121 – Maria on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Episode Summary

This week on Live Like the World is Dying, Maria comes on to talk to Inmn about the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the state of aid going to Gaza, and the obstacles the powers that be have erected to prevent aid from arriving.

Guest Info

Maria Elle is a wing nut anarchist Jewish dyke extremist whore anti-Zionist psycho who writes poetry, conspires against the Empire, and organizes for collective liberation. You can find her on IG @Lchiam.Intifada or @bay2gaza

Gaza Freedom Flotilla: freedomflotilla.org
International Solidarity Movement: palsolidarity.org
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network: ijan.org

Host Info

Inmn can be found on Instagram @shadowtail.artificery

Publisher Info

This show is published by Strangers in A Tangled Wilderness. We can be found at www.tangledwilderness.org, or on Twitter @TangledWild and Instagram @Tangled_Wilderness. You can support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness.


Live Like the World is Dying: Maria on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

**Inmn ** 00:15
Hello, and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. I’m your host today Inmn Neruin. And today we’re going to be talking about a kind of different lens of preparedness than we normally talk about…or no–well, I guess we always kind of talk about it. But we’re…you know, we’re not we’re not going to be talking about a skill today as much as the importance for figuring out how to provide aid when the powers that be: governments and nations that we absolutely don’t put our trust in but…are trapped by fail to do that or purposefully obstruct it. And today we’re going to be talking about the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and organizing efforts around that and trying to bring critical aid to Gaza. But before that, we are a proud member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts and here’s a jingle from another show on that network. [singing] Doo doo doo doo doo.

**The Ex-Worker Podcast ** 01:24
The Border is not just a wall. It’s not just a line on a map. It’s a power structure. A system of control. The Border does not divide one world from another. There is only one world and the Border is tearing it apart. The Ex-Worker podcast presents No Wall They Can Build: A Guide to Borders and Migration Across North America, a serialized audio book in 11 chapters released every Wednesday. Tune in at crimethinc.com/podcast.

**Inmn ** 02:04
And we’re back. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. I know we had you on the Stranger’s podcast recently for your poetry collection, which everyone should pause right now and go and listen to another hour long podcast episode first and then come back and listen to this…or don’t. Or listen to it afterwards. Anyways, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Could you introduce yourself with your name, pronouns, and a little bit about yourself and your involvement with the Freedom Flotilla?

**Maria ** 02:44
Absolutely. Yes. Hi, thanks for having me. I’m Maria. She/her pronouns. I am a Jewish, anti-Zionist, anarchist, I don’t know, organizer, agitator–whatever you want to call it–from the Ohlone of xučyun (Huichin), aka Oakland, California. And I am…. I’ve been involved doing Palestine Solidarity work since I was a teenager. Originally, I came to awareness around what was happening in Palestine during the assault on Gaza in 2008 and got involved in the student movement and the student occupations that were happening back then. And then actually got kicked out of university as a result of that, which ended up being perfect because I got the opportunity to join the International Solidarity Movement doing work on the ground in Palestine, which is an amazing group that folks should look up. They were defunct for a little bit during COVID but have come back and are working again basically bringing comrades and activists from around the world to stand in solidarity with Palestinian resistance on the ground in Palestine. So I had that opportunity and then I came home and got involved in organizing back here and was not…. So the flotilla, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has…. So, freedom flotillas have been sailing, trying to break the siege on Gaza since 2008. Basically, a flotilla–for those who don’t know–is a group of boats. So it’s a group of boats from…. Our flotillas or group of boats from all over the world. There’s over 30 countries that are involved sending comrades and activists to break the siege on Gaza. And so these boats are filled–our current boat–is filled with 5000 tons of food and medical aid that we are attempting to bring directly to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s illegal naval blockade. These…. Like I said, these missions have been happening since 2008, trying both to bring aid to Gaza and to bring awareness, international awareness, of Israel’s blockade and kind of getting a lot of international notoriety 2010 When the Mavi Marmara, a Turkicsh ship that was part of the flotilla, was attacked. And nine people were murdered in that process. And it made headlines at the time and brought a lot of awareness to the ongoing siege on Gaza. And then since then there have been many attempts to break the siege. This year, of course, is a different context. And it’s a little bit hard to know what to expect. As you know, as many of us already know, there has been a genocide happening in Palestine since 1948. But the particular intensified moment of genocide that we’re in creates a different context that we don’t totally know what to expect. But we are determined to sail. We are determined to break Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza. And especially now more than ever, while there’s been a humanitarian crisis in Gaza for a very long time, and this blockade has been happening for 18 years, the famine that is now gripping Gaza is unprecedented. And we are seeing mass death, especially in the north of Gaza, and that is spreading throughout Gaza. Now with the most recent attacks on Rafah, the situation just gets more and more dire every day. One of the goals of the Freedom Flotilla is to emphasize that this is not a natural disaster. You know, there’s…. A lot of the way that this gets covered in US media and global media is as if this was a humanitarian–people use the word, "humanitarian crisis," and they use the word "famine." And both of those things are true. And they’re also a little bit misleading because this famine is being intentionally created by Israel as a tool of genocide. Israel controls the flow of all aid moving into Gaza and is intentionally and carefully counting how many calories it is allowing into the Gaza Strip in order to intentionally keep the population on the verge of starvation in order to cripple the resistance. This needs to be highlighted. This isn’t…. It isn’t like they don’t know how to get the aid in. It is not logistical obstacles. They try to make it seem like this is, "Oh, how can we possibly get aid in?" Israel has closed every barrier. Like, the fact that we even need to go by sea is insane. They could open the land crossings, which would be the most effective way, but they absolutely refuse. And the United States, our so-called government that has the power to do that and has the power to force the–probably the only government in the world–with the power to force Israel to open the land crossings–is instead building this pier, spending millions of dollars of wasted money that could be being used on aid or, you know, on stopping Israel. And this long drawn out project that now isn’t even functioning due to like "climate" or "weather." I can’t even remember what they said. There’s some kind of structural damage. I mean, they put all this money into it and like still can’t deliver aid somehow. And we’re supposed to believe that that’s a coincidence. Meanwhile, we have a plan to,within three days, effectively deliver all of this aid to Gaza by simply having a basic little fold-out pier that we have packed on the ship that could unfold, deliver the aid, and then we can leave again. It’s actually really simple. It’s not complicated. None of this has to be complicated. It’s being intentionally made complicated as a tool of genocide and as a tool of hiding what Israel is intentionally doing. So that’s really a big part of what the Gaza Freedom Flotilla is about. I would say that it’s rooted, ultimately, in the principles of DIY and direct action, which are fundamentally anarchist principles to me, and to many of us, the basic idea that no one is going to do this but us. If we want something done, we have to do it ourselves. We cannot rely on these so-called governments who, many of whom around the world claim to support Palestine and give lots of lip service to the need for aid to get in and even for Palestinian Liberation. Other governments, such as our so-called government, have done nothing but contribute to and fund and exacerbate this genocide, still give lip service to "Oh, we need to get aid into Israel," but they’re not going to do anything. At best, they don’t care. At worst, they actively want this to happen. We cannot wait for them. We’ve been trying…. Like, you know, not that…. You know, fight by every means necessary. I really do believe in a diversity of tactics. And at the same time, we need to be honest with ourselves that there is no amount of pressure that we can really put on the Biden administration that is going to change the US’ has strategic Imperial interest in propping up Israel, you know? And there’s no amount of electoral or domestic pressure within the existing system that we can put in that will change the fact that Israel is a beacon of US imperialism in the Middle East. It is a central part of US imperialism’s operation globally. And not only our military imperialism but our economic imperialism. So as many of you may already know, and many of you may not, a big part of the impetus for this genocide has to do with global trade and global shipping. So, after the Suez Canal crisis, we saw…. It became clearer than ever to the international community, how delicate the infrastructure of global shipping is. We saw with the simple breakdown of one ship in the Suez Canal, the global economy was brought to a halt. And it is unacceptable– [Interrupted]

**Maria ** 10:18
It’s so fragile. And we saw its fragility even more with COVID and with the plague. And it has become clear to the West that having such an important chokehold located in Egypt is not strategic for them. And so Israel has a plan to build what they’re calling the Ben Gurion Canal, which is going to be directly north of Gaza, within missile range of of Gaza to be clear, that would be an alternative to the Suez Canal and that would allow for Israel’s, and therefore the United States’, control over global shipping in a way that we do not currently have. So the depth of the economic investment in committing this genocide is deeper than even natural gas off the coast of Gaza, which a lot of us have also seen headlines about. And a lot of us already know Chevron’s interest and BP’s interest in colonizing Gaza and eliminating Hamas in order to secure access to that natural gas, but even beyond that, in order to facilitate the construction of the Ben Gurion Canal. With that much at stake, with both fossil fuels and global shipping at stake, there’s a no amount of pressure that we can put up on the Biden administration to get them to like, hear truth, you know? If we want change, we have to make it ourselves. And no one is going to do this but us. And I think that the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the amount of aid that we can actually deliver it with one flotilla is a drop in the bucket. The principle that we are trying to communicate to the world, and that we’ve seen in many places, is that we can’t wait. We have to…we have to show up. We have to be there for our Palestinian siblings. We have to be there for our siblings around the world. And we have to do it ourselves. You know, I think we saw a similar thing with the Great March of Return, and I’m extremely inspired by the Great March of Return of Palestinians coming from Lebanon and breaking through the border there. And we, you know, continue to be inspired by Palestinian resistance globally and to work in concert with that resistance in order to do whatever we can to stop this genocide, both in the immediate sense and in the ongoing sense of Israel’s colonization of Palestine from the river to the sea.

**Inmn ** 10:18
It’s so fragile.

**Inmn ** 12:35
Golly, thank you for that very–I will call it a little bit of a rant thing. That was incredible and very informative. And now I have like 100 questions.

**Inmn ** 12:47
I have 100 more things to talk about but lay it on me.

**Inmn ** 12:51
Um, I think like, or…. I don’t even know where to start. Actually, there’s this funny place that I want to start, which I’m maybe gonna feel funny about and is maybe like…. Whatever, I don’t think it’s me feeling nihilistic about it as much as like confused by imaging in….. So I, as a lot of us have been seeing a lot of news graphics, infographics. And I saw this one recently that was talking about "planned distraction." And it was like this thing that was like, "Israel’s really counting on Americans being distracted by Memorial Day weekend to intensify the assault on Rafah." And I was just like, I don’t think Israel’s thinking about what random Americans are doing. Like, as you say, I don’t think there’s any amount of pressure that we can put on institutions like the Biden administration to change those things.

**Maria ** 14:30
Yeah, it’s an interesting question. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, nobody really knows. I do think that it’s worth noting that the last major assaults on Rafah began during the Superbowl also. So I mean, it’s…who knows, maybe they are thinking about it. And Israel is very much concerned with its public image. [half interrupts self] Well, it’s complicated, right? They are very much concerned with their public image and they’re also on a genocidal, psychotic rampage, which is causing all sorts of domestic tensions. And Israeli domestic politics are a whole nother can of worms. You know, there isn’t one–like anywhere–there isn’t one unified Israeli interest. Israel, like every other country, is a contestation of political forces with central goals but also pulling at each other and pulling itself apart. And we actually are seeing Israeli domestic– [Interrupts self] I think it’s also very worth noting that last summer before the assaults on Gaza, before the most recent assault on Gaza began, we saw the first ever domestic Israeli social movement, really since the creation of the state. There was an actual–I mean, you know, fairly tame but for Israel significant–uprising of Israelis against their government. And several months later, this genocide happens, right? And this is not a coincidence. We’ve seen this kind of pattern time and time again, where a state in order to secure domestic unity will declare war or genocide on a foreign enemy. I think it’s also worth noting that the plans for this–while October 7th may have been the the spark–the plans for this were very much already in place. And it is very clear from how quickly and strategically and efficiently they have acted that they have just been waiting for this opportunity. So I think that’s worth emphasizing. I think, and then I just also want to clarify, as far as like "no amount of domestic pressure," I think that there’s…I want to be clear that, like I said, I believe deeply in a diversity of tactics. And I do think that we need to do everything. And I think that there is very–like, I’m not saying that we should all just go to Palestine. I think there’s very important roles for us to play here in the United States in organizing. But we need to be realistic about how we’re gauging our targets. So we’re never going to be able to appeal to the moral or even political interests of–as far as like electoral political interests–of these things. We…I think…I personally think that our best hope is to challenge their economic function, right, and to make this cost so much that they cannot continue. And that’s a lot. It has to cost a lot because they have a lot to gain. But you know, what? We have a lot to lose. We have everything to lose and everything to gain. And we need to make this cost more than they can imagine.

**Inmn ** 17:28
Yeah. And yeah, maybe to be clear, the infographic that I was seeing, it was like, its suggestion was like, you know, "Get on the phone and call your congress people." And I was just like, you know, yeah, "by any means necessary," and whatever people can do, but I was like, I don’t think the one thing stopping…. It framed it in this way–I am gonna get off this topic very quickly and spent too much time on this–but it framed it in this way of like, "Oh, if Americans just weren’t so distracted by barbecuing over the weekend then genocide and then Gaza would have been over," and I was just like…that. Okay, whatever. Anyway, a real question. So I think maybe something that I’ve been curious, I guess, about is some of the like geopolitical–or like, specifically like geographical–forces at work where…. Like for the…. Can you tell me about waterways, waterways in and around Israel and Gaza? Like I guess like what is the proposed route? Or like, what are some of the…. Like, how get Flotilla?

**Maria ** 18:48
How get Flotilla.

**Inmn ** 18:49
How blockaded?

**Maria ** 18:52
Through the Mediterranean. So we had originally, we had originally planned to sail from Turkey, from Istanbul, and I was actually in Istanbul with hundreds of other people. We were, our bags were packed, the boat was full, we were ready to sail, and the mission was bureaucratically sabotaged by Israel. This was several weeks ago.

**Inmn ** 19:13
Is this the flag thing?

**Maria ** 19:14
Yeah, so Israel has tried many different avenues to sabotage the Flotilla, including physical sabotage of the ship. But one–and this has happened for many years–but one tactic they have not tried before, and that we were not prepared for, was that they pressured…. So I don’t know how much people know about shipping. But every ship that leaves a port has to pass to sail under a flag, a national flag. As far as I understand, any ship that doesn’t sail under a flag is technically considered a pirate ship. [says incredulously, laughing] So if we wanted to leave and be allowed to leave by the Coast Guard, we would have to have a national flag. And usually those flags have nothing to do with the mission. You basically buy a flag to sail under. It’s interesting. It’s actually kind of like a side hustle for a lot of poorer countries, they sell their flags at a cheaper rate and with less bureaucracy. So I think most international shipping actually happens under the flag of the Philippines. But we were gonna sail under the flag of Guinea Bissau, which was a flag of convenience. And Israel put immense–Israel in the United States–put immense pressure on Guinea Bissau to withdraw the flag. And so the flag was withdrawn literally the day we were supposed to depart, like bags packed and ready to go. And, you know, we could have…like the captain could have, I suppose, made the choice to sail anyway, but then that would have forced a confrontation with the Turkish Coast Guard, rather than with the Israeli naval blockade, which people felt wasn’t…wasn’t worth it. You know, for better or worse. Whatever. The people thought it wasn’t worth it. And that it was a better plan to just try to get another flag. So the flotilla is delayed as we are searching for another flag. That process is well underway. And I am hoping…. We’ll have more information within the next week about where that is at and when and where we’re planning to sail from. It’s not sure that we’ll be sailing from Turkey anymore at this point. Turkey would have been about a three day sail to Gaza. And at this point we might have to be looking at somewhere further out. TBD.

**Inmn ** 21:27
Like somewhere further out to escape the influence of Israel putting pressure on those local areas?

**Maria ** 21:36
Yeah, so there was a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure put on the Turkish Government. And Turkey, while it gives incredible lip service to supporting a free Palestine, is actually deeply economically dependent on Israel. And the domestic politics there is a whole can of worms. Anyway, I don’t know where that’s at. That’s not part of the…that’s not the team that I’m on. You know? I’m doing a lot of more of a social media and grassroots organizing here in the US. So I’m not one of those people figuring that part out. But, I mean, we can all see, we all basically know the general geopolitics of that region and how complicated it is for any country in the world to allow us to sail because of the possibility of antagonizing Israel, and what that can mean as a nuclear power and as a proxy of the United States in the region. But we will. We’ll find a place that we will do it. Inshallah, very soon. And that is underway. I think as far as what’s happened in the past, so what’s happened in the past, most of the Flotillas have not–actually all of the Flotillas–have not actually made it to Gaza. They are pretty consistently stopped, often in international waters–which is illegal–before arriving. There are no ports in Gaza that one could land at. So like we said, we had this plan with a pier that can unfold. In the past Israel has stopped the flotilla with its naval blockade. In 2010 the ships were famously–one of the ships in particular–was famously attacked, and nine people were were murdered in that process. Since then, there have been no fatalities. No one has been matyred. But everyone pretty much has been arrested and deported.

**Maria ** 21:37
From like international waters? [Said confused like it sounds sketchy]

**Maria ** 23:40
I think they get brought into Ashdod, usually, and deported from there, like on an Israeli vessel or whatever. I don’t know. I haven’t been on any of the flotillas before. This will be my first journey. One of my aunts was really involved in them for many years, so I learned a lot about the process, and I’ve been following the process, since 2010. She’s been very involved in–or she was–very involved in it. Gail Miller, may her name be for blessing. So I’ve been following it but this is my first actual mission joining.

**Inmn ** 24:14
Cool. Um, yeah, it’s…I don’t know, it’s…. Thinking about waterways has been something that’s been really interesting with a lot of the goings on in and around the genocide in Gaza, like specifically with like…it was fun to see countries like Yemen be like, "Oh, we’re gonna blockade Israel or we’re gonna blockade shipping routes for Israel shit." And interesting to hear you talk about the connections to global shipping, because then that turned into this big global shipping catastrophe. And like the US and Israel were like "We’re protecting global shipping lanes for like the good of Capitalism…"

**Maria ** 25:14
One of the first honest things they’ve said. Yeah, absolutely. I think even with that, it’s worth remembering too, just kind of going back to what I said, that the governments of the world are not acting. It wasn’t the Yemeni government who took that action. You know, it was it was the Houthis. And overwhelmingly, we see that is not governments anywhere, but rather people working with conviction and solidarity who can actually stop the infrastructure of global trade, can actually stop…can actually have some real impact on this genocide, right? Like, that’s one of the only meaningful…you know, people know that acronym BDS, It’s boycott, divestment, and sanctions, which is…was a movement in South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle that the Palestinian anti-apartheid struggle has adopted, and that has been a global call for some time now. And one of the only real meaningful BDS actions we’ve seen has been by the Houthis, in that way, you know, actually interfering with Israeli shipping.

**Inmn ** 26:15
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay, that’s, interesting to hear. I feel like this is a topic that I’ve tried really hard to learn about on the internet and every time I do it’s deeply confusing. And I get more confused because there’s a lot of propaganda from the US and from Israel about, like, you know, who’s enacting these blockades and whatever reasons that they make up. I saw…I was reading a little bit about the 2010 flotilla where, either like before or after it, Israel was making these wild accusations that the flotilla was working with Al Qaeda or had all these connections to groups they labeled as terroristic. And then the claims were withdrawn later because everyone was like, "Literally what the fuck are you talking about?"

**Maria ** 27:15
Yeah, absolutely. And, of course, they’re always going to do that, you know, and they’re always going to try any possible means to antagonize and paint any kind of resistance is terrorism, which is also what we’re seeing in Gaza, right? They will paint five-year old children as terrorists, you know? They have no shame and and they’ve gotten so far…they’ve spiraled so deep into their own narrative that they have really lost the plot. It’s kind of wild.

**Inmn ** 27:46
Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s…it’s like this thing that’s been happening for quite some time, which seems like less obvious to people who have been paying attention, but like, I feel like a decade ago, or a decade and a half ago–wow, time happens–there, like you said, Israel has had these moments of being deeply concerned with their public image and then these moments of just the veil coming off and being like, which is happening there, it’s happening here in the United States, it’s happening everywhere, just fascistic forces becoming less concerned with what their public images are and just owning being terrible and fucked up. Being like, "Who’s gonna stop us?"

**Maria ** 28:39
Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s, like I said, Israeli domestic politics are a total mess, but there is definitely a stronger and stronger faction that feels that way. And just thinking about it also, to bring it back to sort of the actual mission of the Flotilla, which is to deliver aid, and…. Well, it’s twofold, right? It’s to deliver aid and it’s to break the siege and highlight the injustice–and not just injustice but absolute insanity–of the fox guarding the hen house here, so that all aid flowing…coming into Gaza has to be searched and is being monitored by Israel, and the sort of intentional, as I spoke to in the beginning, of the intentional famine that is being constructed there. And, you know, we saw in the news in March, that we were on the…we’re at a tipping point of mass starvation. And that tipping point has been tipped. We are seeing unprecedented famine happening in Gaza. And I wanted to bring it back to that because I also want to just think a little bit about contextualizing what famine means. You know, I mentioned before that people often treat–like the media often treats this as a natural disaster or something or tries to paint it as a natural disaster–

**Inmn ** 29:53
Yeah, it "just happened"

**Maria ** 29:54
–as an intentional act of war and genocide. And I think that we have to frame it that way and we have to both make sure that aid is getting in immediately, and to recognize that this is political, that no matter how much money we send to the Red Cross, if aid isn’t being allowed to cross isn’t helpful, which is not to say don’t donate. Donate. And donate, specifically, to Palestinian mutual aid funds, which are the most grassroots opportunities, the most direct way to get funding, and you can find that…I can direct you, at the end, towards different places to donate The Middle East Children’s Alliance has been able to get a lot of aid directly in. There’s also a lot of, there’s a group called Bay to Gaza Mutual Aid, which has collected a bunch of on the ground places to help people in Gaza. So just to be clear, I’m not saying not to donate. You definitely should. And we have to recognize that without an end to this, to the siege and to the bombardment, and the occupation, aid can only go so far. And I think it’s important to contextualize that, to remember that this isn’t…this phenomena also isn’t unique to Palestine, right, this ideathat the global media treats famine as somehow a "natural phenomenon," when in reality, it’s politically constructed. It’s not just for Palestine, It’s true all over the world. And we’re seeing that especially in….. I think you can’t actually talk about Gaza right now without also talking about Darfur and Sudan and what’s happening there. And I think even more than in Gaza, famine–the politically constructed famine–that affects Africa, and specifically, that affects Black people in Africa, is often treated as "inevitable," and "natural," when it is very much politically constructed. And what we’re seeing in Sudan, and the genocide that is taking place in Sudan right now, and the famine that is gripping Sudan right now, is every bit as politically constructed, is every bit as entwined with resource wars with the UAE and Saudis, race for controlling natural gas and resources, and for having a monopoly over those things. And this is this genocide is being directly funded by the UAE, which the United States will not challenge because of our strategic alliances there. And the people being targeted by this genocide are overwhelmingly African agriculturalists who have continued to keep that land fertile and producing food when it is more within the interest of the imperialist powers, and particularly the UAE, to have the land become arid so that it can become extraction sites for minerals and fossil fuels. So all that to say, a big part of the goal of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla is to politicize famine itself, because it is political.

**Inmn ** 32:53
Yeah. Yeah, I know, it’s hard to actually think of a famine, like a historical famine, that is actually not a political tool, or like an act of genocide. It’s like we…when we…when we think of it, even like the word that we have, it’s like when we think of famine, we think of there being a lack of something, we think of there being some kind of disaster that is just like, "Oh, the conditions just made it so that food couldn’t be produced." And it’s…it’s never that. And, at least in English, like we don’t really have a word for enacted famine that I can think of that isn’t just genocide or that isn’t just like purposeful starvation. It’s like this entire language lacks a word for this tool that is used.

**Maria ** 33:51
Caloric warfare.

**Inmn ** 33:54
Yeah, um, I guess like kind of change tack a little bit, I feel like I’m using you as my filter for trying to learn about things on the internet and like running into so many weird like blocks that I’m like, I have no idea what’s going on because the global media apparatus is horrible. But what…. I guess like what’s going on with world government efforts to like get like food and aid into Gaza? Like I know there’s been like a lot of back and forth with what like the UN is doing to get in food and it seems like that’s not happening anymore?

**Inmn ** 34:40
Where was the pier being built? And, like, what, like there weren’t other peirs?

**Maria ** 34:40
Right. I mean, one of the most bizarre things that’s been happening that has been a lot of the efforts right now is airdrops. So people are like, "There’s no way to get aid into Gaza. We have to literally drop it from the air," which is not only unhelpful, but has actually been dangerous and had has caused injury and the destruction of the aid being delivered and has been, shockingly, both ineffective and unsafe. Meanwhile, you could just cross the border, right? We shouldn’t even have to be going in through the sea. There’s not even…. Like we’re going through the flotilla because we feel like that is our best chance of getting in. But there are… like, Egypt shares a border with Gaza. The Rafah crossing a should be open, and people should be able to bring in aid by land. And there’s some aid that is crossing there. But as we’ve seen, to the extent that Israel will let anything in there, which has been very limited, there are settler…civilian–so-called civilians–although, they’re not civilian, because they’re armed to the teeth with AK–well not AK-47s but M-16s–actively blocking and looting and destroying trucks that are delivering aid to Gaza. I’m just like, can you even imagine? Like, could you imagine? It’s hard like…. Like, what goes through your mind? What lives in your heart to destroy food, going to starving children? You know, I…. Whatever. But like, that’s actively happening, you know. And so yeah, the airdrops have been a lot of like, you know, this whole US pier that I think I spoke to earlier that they’re trying to construct this peir, they constructed this peir. It was pseudo operational for a minute. Now, it’s non-operational, again, spending millions of dollars for this basically theater, when the US could, in a heartbeat stop sending aid to Israel and end this whole thing.

**Maria ** 36:45
Off the coast of Gaza. It’s a floating pier. So yeah, it’s whatever…. It’s a floating pier off the coast of Gaza. No, it’s…I mean, it’s honestly, like it’s a whole charade. To be honest. Like the United States could, tomorrow, stop this but they won’t.

**Inmn ** 37:08
Yeah. And it’s like the excuses are always these like strange logistical, bureaucratic excuses. Of like, "Oh, I don’t know, the pier, the pier didn’t work out. Or like, if only we could secure the border crossings, then aid could flow freely through." [Said sarcastically]

**Maria ** 37:29
Right, exactly. Which, you know, is a common thing that we see globally too. We see it in this country to some degree like the crisis at the US-Mexico border, which I believe you’re at right now. Like, they treat it like….. They treat so much of the humanitarian crisis that’s happening there as if it were an impossible problem to solve when it’s a very similar situation. It’s a intentionally constructed political crisis.

**Inmn ** 37:55
Yeah. And it’s like, you know, there’s a kind of, I guess, famous zine–or maybe people haven’t read that one in a while because it’s been a long time. But there’s a scene called Designed To Kill, which is exactly how the US-Mexico border works. It’s like the way that you hear government talk about it, they talk about it as if like, "Oh, we just can’t do literally a single thing about it. We have billions of dollars, but we just can’t solve this problem." And it’s like–this is gonna sound weird–but it’s like when you hear Border Patrol talk about like, like, "If only we could figure out how to stop people from coming in," which is not anything that I would ever want, but is what the government talks about. And it’s like, you’re not trying to do that. If you were trying to do that, it would be quite easy to do that. Like you have designed a system to funnel people in, to exploit them through private prisons, to psychologically terrify, and kill people.

**Maria ** 39:06

**Inmn ** 39:06
It is a sick and twisted thing. It is a disaster of your own creation that you then LARP as being the humanitarian actors for, for like public image. Like Border Patrol has a…. Border Patrol has a search and rescue unit. They have like a helicopter that they tote around. [Affirmative sounds from Maria] Fucking absurd.

I know. I know. Yeah. I mean, I think that you know, I believe you were involved with No More Deaths at the US-Mexico border for a long time, and I think that there’s a very similar principle as with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, that the people who created this crisis are not going to be the ones to stop it. And if anyone’s going to do something, it has to be us. We have to do something. Because, yeah, the colonizer isn’t going to stop colonizing unless we do something about it.

**Inmn ** 40:03
No. And it’s like we can’t count on…. It’s like, we…. Like a lot of people, I think have this, like this myth or hope or whatever that like, "Oh, well, if things ever get really weird, like the UN will step in," or something. And it’s like the UN has proceeded to literally fucking nothing. Or it’s like the…like, what is it? The I forget the acronym for that court, the UN court, the world….

**Inmn ** 40:31
Yeah. Yeah, the ICJ making rulings towards Israel about, "We want you to stop the genocide." And they’re like, "Well, we’re not going to do it." And it’s like the ICJ does literally fucking nothing.

**Maria ** 40:31

I mean, I believe that ICJ is interesting. The ICJ did issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu, which, as far as I can tell, only means that there’s like, certain countries he maybe can’t go to or like, if he loses this war, which inshallah, he will, that there could be potentially be consequences for him. But that really, like, you know, it’s all about real politics. That really just depends on how the war itself goes, you know? Like the international arrest warrants issued in Nazi Germany only were meaningful because Germany lost the war. I just wanted to, I mentioned No More Deaths early and I realized that probably not all the listeners know what that is. So I just thought I’d say No More Deaths is mutual aid project at the US-Mexico border. Grassroots, mostly anarchist lead from what I understand, project. Once upon a time, at least.

**Inmn ** 41:45
Let’s say anarchistic.

**Maria ** 41:48
There we go, there we go. That [NMD] provides mutual aid that both has like emergency medical care and food and also like hikes the desert searching for people who are lost and helping evacuate people who are in need and giving direct aid at the Border despite the Border Patrol’s attempt to criminalize those efforts. Which I know a lot of our listeners have probably been involved in. I believe you were. I went out there for…a long time ago. I went out there to do that. But I do think that there’s powerful mutual aid projects like that happening here in Turtle Island, too. So it’s worth shouting them out.

**Inmn ** 42:29
Yeah, and it’s like there’s a lot of really interesting parallels between all of these mutual aid projects, and also the systems that create the need for them. Where, I don’t know, there’s so many Israeli defense contractors that got hired to build the virtual–like Elbit Systems got hired to build the virtual wall in the Border and it’s like, the similar systems that get used in Palestine. And there’s…. It’s freaky. There’s this, in Arizona, there’s this company trying to build like a water pipeline from the Gulf of Mexico to Scottsdale or something. And it’s the same Israeli company that builds pipelines through…or like distillation centers in Palestine.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we see similar collaborations with Cop City in Atlanta. It’s all, it’s a global war machine. And we see it functioning exactly the way it’s intended to function. But you know, we also have a power to be a cog in that machine. And I am weirdly optimistic a lot. I actually have a lot of faith that we can, you know, this machine can’t operate without us, especially us here in the heart of Empire. Like this is in so many ways the veins of empire where so much of it is plotted and executed right here on Turtle Island. And we’re uniquely positioned in a lot of ways to clog those arteries. We just have to find the courage and the confidence and the organization to make it happen. And I have so much faith in our ability to do that. Yeah, before, before we run out of time–I don’t know if we’re coming up on time or not. But I wanted to just also make sure that there’s–and I mentioned this, but I just want to give it enough space that this crisis did not start in October. And it also didn’t start with the siege of Gaza 18 years ago. This has been a crisis that has been exhibiting in its current form since 1948, since the creation of the State of Israel and the Nakba, which is the genocide of the Palestinian people in order to create the State of Israel and really for longer than that, since Zionist immigration began in the 1880s. And this crisis didn’t start now and it’s not going to stop when the bombs stop falling on Gaza. This crisis will not end until the settler, ethnic national…the settler, nationalist ethno state of Israel is dismantled. And really until the whole global system of settler colonialism–and all of the national states–are dismantled. But to look specifically at Palestine, like there is no…this is not over until Zionism is over. Zionism needs to be ended, and that the settler ethno state of Israel needs to be ended. And that until all Palestinians have a right to return to their homelands, until all Palestinians have a right to move freely in their homelands, until all Palestinians have a right to autonomy and self governance within their homelands. And by self-governments, I don’t just mean to have a State, but to be able to have agency over their own lives and their own decisions. And until that, the struggle isn’t over, and it can’t be. And, you know, I think I’m actually very hopeful about this moment, I think that there is…that there is an incredible not, just an outpouring of support for the Palestinians, but incredible recognition of the state of global colonialism in the 21st century and its relationship to resource extraction and what we can do to stop it and I know that the Palestinian…. Like part of the reason that people around the world have responded to what’s happening in Palestine the way they do is because this really resonates with so many indigenous people’s struggles everywhere. Indigenous people all over the world see their struggle in the struggle with Palestinians and are rising up all over the world and it is very much a global struggle and very much that to free Palestine is in so many ways to free the world.

**Maria ** 43:28
Yeah, yeah. Um, I know that you’re…you’ve been part of some…part of this larger project…movement…coalition? I don’t know words. But are there…are there ways that people can plug into this? Like if someone’s like, "Yo, I got a boat. I want to join the flotilla." Can they do that?

I don’t know about a boat. Well, I mean, if you’ve got a big boat. These are big boats we’re talking Yeah, these are these are big boats. But um, I would say in general, yes. So the website is freedomflotilla.org. You can also find it on all the social medias, but especially you can find it on you know, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram. Also, specifically for those in the so-called San Francisco Bay area, we have our Bay to Gaza contingent that is…we are currently growing and expanding and getting ready to sail, so you can follow us on Instagram @Bay2Gaza. We’re also on TikTok and Twitter, and you can reach out to us there if you’re interested in supporting or getting involved. My Instagram is @lchaimIntifada. You can also message me there. I check that a little bit more. And, yeah, reach out. We’re definitely still recruiting. We don’t know exactly when we’re going to sail yet. But we need all types of support. And especially, you know, in a lot of ways, this is a media project. This is about shedding light on a phenomenon. So especially folks who have skills in media are very much needed right now. Both legacy media but also social media.

**Inmn ** 48:41
Yeah, yeah. Cool. Um, as we get…I guess, get to the end of time–our time, not the end of all time–are there any other things that you wanted to talk about? Any questions that I didn’t ask you that you wanted to just touch on? I feel like I had 100 more questions that I will never remember until we stop the recording. And then I’ll remember them.

Happy to keep talking after we stop the recording. But um, no. I mean, I think yeah, like I said, please, the best way to follow us is on social media. And please reach out if you are interested. And I would say other than that, taking the principle of the Flotilla, the principle that nobody is going to do this if we don’t, and that we cannot depend on governments or higher powers to make change. We have to make it ourselves, and apply that to all of your organizing. Apply that to the ways, the strategic ways that you’re thinking about challenging genocide and occupation and colonialism everywhere that you are, you know. I think that most of our organizing does need to be done at home where we live. And the message that I want people to take away, personally, from the Flotilla is that if we want change, we have to make it ourselves. And to use that framework, and I think…I think what that really is, is the framework of direct action, personally. I think that the word "direct action" has really lost its meaning. And a lot of activists spaces on Turtle Island in particular, people kind of think that direct action just means chaining yourself to something. And I am firmly of the belief that direct action means…it can mean three things. It can mean destroying something that needs to be destroyed, interfering with something that needs to be interfered with, and creating something that needs to be created. And you’re doing it directly as opposed to protest, which is when you’re asking power to do it for you. And I think there’s a role for both. I think there’s a role for protests and there’s a role for direct action. But we should know what the difference is when we’re framing our strategy, and encourage people to look to a framework of direct action and of destroying what needs to be destroyed, creating what needs to be created, and interfering with what needs to be interfered with. So I’d say that other than getting involved with the Flotilla, just holding those principles and all of our organizing,

**Inmn ** 51:05
Yeah. And, can I add a little suggestion to that?

**Maria ** 51:12

**Inmn ** 51:13
Also in the realm of when thinking about taking direct action, when thinking about protesting, like whenever, it’s like making sure that these things that we’re doing are community driven and not relying on, I don’t know, political parties, or even nonprofits to guide us through taking action. Like, the only ways that we’re going to make it through this is if we do it and can’t wait for people with more power to just hand it over.

**Maria ** 51:55
Absolutely. And I think that’s true on the micro sale scale of mutual aid, which is why we do mutual aid projects and it’s also true on the macro scale of how this world will change. And, you know, to me, that’s what anarchism is. So…

**Inmn ** 52:07
Yeah, well, thank you so much for coming on again. And yeah, listeners, if you want to hear more from Maria, then you can find her on social media or you can go and listen to the Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness podcast and you can listen to us talk–honestly, a lot…mostly more about Gaza and the fuckery that is Zionism but through poetry and Maria’s beautiful poetry collection, Escape Plan, which you can go check out on the Strangers in a Tangle Wilderness podcast.

And more about the West Bank, which I didn’t get to talk about in this interview. And I’m realizing that was something I missed. But I do talk about that in the other one.

Do you wanna talk about it now?

**Maria ** 52:54
I don’t want to add that as like a little side note, but I do just want to say that speaking of like distractions, while this genocide in Gaza has been taking place, Israel has been annexing land in the West Bank at an unprecedented rate, and that the violence, but also the land loss happening right now, is a crisis that needs to be confronted directly. I do talk about that more in the other podcast.

**Inmn ** 53:16
Yeah. Cool. Well, we’ll see you next time. And I hope that….

**Maria ** 53:26
Free Palestine!

**Inmn ** 53:27
Great. Yes. Happen. Free Palestine. I got all the words. At least 10 of them.

**Inmn ** 53:40
Thank you so much for listening to Live Like the World is Dying. If you enjoy this podcast, then go do mutual aid. Break the siege of Gaza by any means necessary. But also, if you enjoyed this podcast and you want us to continue to put it on and do other cool stuff, then you can support the podcast and the best way to support the podcast is by talking about it. Tell people about it. If the people that you want to learn more about the weird myths, political myths, constructed to keep us not doing things, then tell them about Like Like the World is Dying. You can also support the show by supporting it financially. And you can do that by supporting our publisher Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness. You can go to our website, tangledwilderness.org and find cool things like books and games and other stuff that we sell and make there. Or you can find us on Patreon and at patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness. And yeah, you can get all sorts of fun things–we’re gonna call them fun things–through the Patreon. You can get a zine mailed to you every month, like Maria’s poetry collection–well, I guess you missed out on getting that one mailed to you, but you can get other future ones mailed to you-and also you can get us to thank or acknowledge things on your behalf. And we would like to thank these wonderful people and organizations. Thank you Reese, Jason, aiden, alium, Amber, Ephemeral, Appalachian Liberation Library, Portland’s Hedron Hackerspace, Boldfield, E, Patoli, Eric, Buck, Julia, Catgut, Marm, Carson, Lord Harken, Trixter, Princess Miranda, Ben Ben, anonymous, Janice & O’dell, Aly, paparouna, Milica, Boise Mutual Aid, theo, Hunter, SJ, Paige, Nicole, David, Dana, Chelsea. Staro, Jenipher, Kirk, Chris, Micaiah. And a special shout out to one of our Patreon subscribers who told us that when they have more money, they’re going to get the $20 a month tier so that they can get Hoss the dog another acknowledgement, we’re just going to thank Hoss the dog like 20 times. Thank you, Hoss the dog. [Chanting] Hoss the Dog, Hoss the dog, Hoss the dog, Hoss the dog, Hoss the dog times 20. Times a million. Thanks all of y’all. Maria, is there anyone you would like to thank in particular today?

**Inmn ** 56:34
Oh, I wasn’t ready for that question. I’m sorry. That’s fine. The people of Palestine, the Palestinian resistance.

**Inmn ** 56:44
Hell yeah. Thanks for all and we’ll see you next time.

freedomflotilla.org, palsolidarity.org, and ijan.org

Find out more at https://live-like-the-world-is-dying.pinecast.co