Thursday, January 13, 2011

Asia for Gaza: Caravan back home, impressed with Gazans

NEW DELHI: The first Asian caravan that went to Gaza with aid is back with stories of how the members were inspired by people living there. The people of Gaza taught them to live each day like it’s their last and not fear anything in life. The caravan, which included 120 people from 17 countries, also had an eight-month-old baby on board along with a 70-year-old. In face of heavy odds and the dangers along the route, the group managed to reach Gaza, keeping Gandhi’s ideals close to their heart.

Many of the people, who took part in the trip, had to even collect money for passports before they could embark on this journey. “We started out on December 2 from Rajghat and were in Gaza for four to five days. We distributed books on Gandhi to the people there hoping to spread the message of non-violence. We have learnt a lot from the people of Gaza who live with much more freedom than seen in any other part of the world,” says Feroze Mithiborwala, the person behind this Asian caravan. They caravan returned to Delhi on January 7.

On the way to Gaza, the caravan traversed through Iran, Syria, Turkey, among other countries. “All our boarding and lodging was taken care of in all these countries. Many of the people who were part of the caravan had never boarded a flight before. This journey was life-altering for all of us,” Mithiborwala adds.

The group included people from various walks of life, of different age groups and religious beliefs. “This journey has given me a new perspective. This journey was not about people about a particular faith but it saw the coming together of people on a humanitarian issue,” says Biraj Patnaik, who was part of the caravan.

Aslam Khan of the All India Students Association recalls his experience of being cooped inside the ship, which was not allowed to cross over from Al-Arish in Egypt to Gaza, for four days.

source: Times of India

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