The following letter was sent by Mavi Marmara survivor Kevin Neish to Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC). Please note that Kevin is not a member of the Canada Palestine Association but we are publishing his letter on our site on his behalf.
Dear MEC Board,
My name is Kevin Neish and I’m a MEC member. I was on board the humanitarian aid ship the Mavi Marmara when it was assaulted by Israeli commandos on May 31st 2010. I witnessed, or saw the evidence of, the Israeli military’s murder and execution of 9 fellow aid workers and wounding by gunfire 30 to 40 others. Myself and the other survivors suffered brutal humiliating treatment by the Israelis on the ship, in prison and during our deportation. Beatings, torture and abuse were commonplace. As a white Westerner I was safer than the Arab and Turkish aid workers but even I was threatened several times with beatings and I had a gun put to my head at least 6 times for daring to challenge the soldiers brutal treatment of fellow aid workers. I was not permitted to use a washroom for over 15 hours and was not allowed to sleep for 3 days, with prison guards apparently enjoying waking us up regularly all night long.
I was heading to Gaza to assist in repairing their water and sewer systems and to act as a human shield for school children. I had over $1000 of high quality MEC clothing and equipment in my luggage but the Israeli soldiers either stole or destroyed almost everything I had. I imagine that my new Contention Gore-Tex jacket and Keen Oregon boots are now wandering around Tel Aviv on some soldier.
It’s quite possible that some of MEC’s Israeli partner company’s equipment was in use by the commandos who attacked me on the Mavi. Perhaps some of those companies employees were the ones putting guns to my head and beating people around me.
I will not purchase one single item of equipment or clothing from MEC until you come to your senses and stop dealing with Israeli companies. They support Israel’s brutal military, oppress and exploit the Arab minority in Israel and support the illegal occupation and brutalisation of Palestine.
I would be more then willing to explain, document and prove what happened to me in person at any meeting of the MEC board or membership.
I look forward to your reply.
A public forum on Palestine
Date: Sunday, 28th November, 2010
Location: Strawberry Hill Library, 7399 122 St, Surrey, BC V3W 5J2
Admission: A free event, however we are expecting your generous donations for Canadian Boat to Gaza project.
Featuring Speaker Kevin Neish:
The Canadian survivor of Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Kevin Neish was among others on MV Mavi Marmara, one of the six ships of Gaza Freedom Flotilla where clashes broke out after activists resisted the Israeli forces. Nine activists were killed (Eight Turkish nationals and a Turkish-American), and dozens of activists left severely wounded. He was an eye-witness of that brutal attack and at the forum he will share his experiences at MV Mavi Marmara.
Additional Guest Speakers:
Terry Greenberg: Member Executive committee of Canadian Independent Jewish Voices
Omar Shaban: Student leader at UBC, President of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights
At the event we will also acknowledge the life long contributions of Hanna Kawas towards Palestinian cause. Hanna is a Palestinian Christian, chairperson of Canada Palestine Association and host of Voice of Palestine on Vancouver Co-op radio for over 15 years.
Please join us, show solidarity with Palestinian brother/sister hood and be a part of the world who is against all forms of oppression, discrimination and inequality.
Yours for peace,
Shahzad Nazir Khan
On behalf of executive of Fraser Valley Peace Council
(A member organization of Canadian Peace Congress and Canadian Peace Alliance)
Date: Saturday, November 27th, 2010
Location: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) store in Vancouver (130 W. Broadway)
Facebook Event Link: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164447990251209#!/event.php?eid=168269389865850
Boycott MEC Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67435995820#!/group.php?gid=113406218712252
Date: Monday, November 22, 2010
Time: 7:30pm (Doors at 6.30pm)
Location: St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church (Corner of Burrard & Nelson Street, Vancouver)
Admission: Tickets: $15 / unwaged or low-income $10. Available soon at People’s Coop Bookstore (1391 Commercial Dr.)
Come and hear the person Jason Kenney and his office tried and failed to prevent from speaking in Canada. George Galloway’s Vancouver appearance is part of a 10-day, 10-city pan-Canadian speaking tour.
Organized locally by StopWar.ca Coalition. Co-sponsored by Canadian Boat to Gaza, Seriously Free Speech Committee and UBC-Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. For more information contact email@example.com or call 604.737.1299.
Eighteen months ago, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney blocked then-British MP George Galloway from Canada, labeling him a terror supporter and a national security risk. At the time, Galloway was scheduled to appear in four Canadian cities on a speaking tour called “Resisting War: from Gaza to Afghanistan.”
Galloway and his supporters protested, saying the move was a crass political attempt to silence criticism of Canadian foreign policy on Afghanistan and Palestine. Weeks before the ban, Galloway had led a humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza as part of an international campaign to break Israel’s illegal blockade.
Galloway and his supporters were vindicated Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley issued his 60-page decision on the matter. (Read more here: http://www.rabble.ca/news/2010/09/what-galloway-court-decision-means-free-speech-canada).
Date: Sunday, November 21, 2010
Location: Vancity Theatre, at 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver.
Admission: Tickets, which can be purchased online at www.ticketstonight.ca or at the door, cost $7.
The Canadian premiere of “Degrees of Incarceration” (2009), a Palestine-US co-production was directed by Amahl Bishara, will be shown in Vancouver on Sunday, November 21, 2010, at 11am.
Degrees of Incarceration http://degreesofincarceration.com/index.html documents the effects political imprisonment has on a community of Palestinians in the West Bank. More than 6,000 Palestinians, including more than 300 children under the age of 18, are currently in Israeli prisons for political reasons, and over 600,000 Palestinians have passed through Israeli prisons since 1967. Yet this issue rarely receives the attention many Palestinians believe it deserves. The film introduces viewers to Palestinian mothers, teenagers, children, and community leaders as they strive to support each other through crises of arrest and detention.
This film is part of the 15th Annual Amnesty International Film Festival. For more information about “Degrees of Incarceration” as well as about over 20 other documentaries that will be shown in the festival, consult www.amnestyfilmfest.ca
Date: Friday, Nov. 12, 2010
Location: Unitarian Church, 949 W. 49th (at Oak), Vancouver
Admission: Admission: $10 (limited income) and $15 (regular) Door prizes, Silent Auction – All monies collected will go to the Canadian Boat to Gaza http://canadaboatgaza.org
Facebook Event Link: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164447990251209
Featuring the Vancouver Premiere:
SEVEN DAYS FROM A GAZA DIARY – A riveting personal account of the first seven days of Israel’s 2008-09 military assault on Gaza, written by a young woman living under the bombing. The first part of 27-year-old Khulood Ghanem’s diary has been adapted for reading performance by Seattle playwright Edward Mast.
Victoria activist and Mavi Marmara survivor, Kevin Neish
This is your chance to concretely help the people of Gaza. Commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians by supporting this people-to-people project.
- Canada Palestine Association (www.cpavancouver.org)
- Social Justice Committee, Unitarian Church of Vancouver