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.