Roger Fowler on NZ's Humanitarian Convoys to Gaza: Standing For Peace and Justice For Palestinians

Interviewed by Tim LynchSeptember 7, 2016
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The issue of Israel and Palestine is the world’s largest festering sore that is affecting other countries and by implication - wars. Placing displaced
people where other people were already living is a massive international failure, and one that must never be repeated.

The result of this failure is shown in the three Israeli military operations over six years, in addition to nine years of economic blockade, that have
ravaged the already debilitated infrastructure of Gaza.

The United Nations has said that the Gaza Strip could become unlivable by 2020 without critical access to reconstruction and humanitarian supplies. The
U.N. issued similar warnings four years ago, even before the 50-day war, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and countless others injured
or wounded, most of them civilians.

Among many things, the report cited the degradation of basic water, energy, sanitation and education facilities and the region’s intense overcrowding as
factors that may render the enclave uninhabitable by 2020.

Donor fatigue has left Gaza’s reconstruction at a standstill, and there is no political solution on the horizon. After three wars in the tiny strip,
one of the few certainties in Gaza is another war within a few years.

The current suffering of the people of Gaza is almost unimaginable.

Nearly 80 percent of Gaza’s approximately 1.8 million people rely on aid agencies for daily sustenance. Unemployment is at 40 percent, more than double
the level 15 years ago. Before the most recent war, nearly 60 percent of the population was food insecure, 95 percent of Gaza’s water is unfit for
drinking and electricity is available for only a few hours a day.

The most recent military operation compounded already dire socioeconomic conditions and accelerated de-development in the occupied Palestinian territory,
a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed.

Divided in two parts, the State of Palestine is not an independent country and therefore the people have no voice in United Nations and do not have
full sovereignty and control over their own territory.

Roger Fowler and Kia Ora Gaza have organised the following projects:

  • Sent a team of 6 Kiwis on the 140-vehicle Viva Palestina land convoy, driving and donating 3 ambulances to Gaza - part of the 7million dollars medical
    aid delivered in 2010
  • Sent a team of 4 Kiwis on the "Miles of Smiles" land convoy to Gaza with 10 tonnes of medical aid, 2012, and sent a fact-finding mission to Gaza Nov,

Roger went to Gaza on each of these occasions and in the interview he speaks about his Gaza experience, the occupied territories, and about his activism.

Roger organised the NZ Conference on Palestine 2013 and returned to Gaza on a fact-finding mission last November 2016,

Veteran activist & community organizer, Roger Fowler, played a prominent role in building the local protest movement against the war on Vietnam and
Apartheid in the late 1960s & 70s. He was manager of Auckland’s Resistance Bookshop and coordinator of the inner-city People’s Union community
organization throughout the 1970s, an active supporter of the protest occupation at Bastion Point, and union delegate in the car assembly industry.
Roger is director of the Mangere East Community Centre, and organizer of Kia Ora Gaza which has sponsored NZ involvement in several international solidarity
convoys to break Israel’s inhumane siege of Gaza. Roger was awarded a QSM Queens Service Medal in 1999.

Kia Ora Gaza is part of the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network which links up all the pro-Palestine groups throughout NZ. It was established from a series
of public meetings to organise Kiwi participation in international efforts to end the siege of Gaza. This followed the Israeli commando raid on the
ship the Mavi Mamara, which led the peace flotilla in 2010 which resulted in the deaths of 10 civilian peace activists.

Kia Ora Gaza is currently facilitating the participation of Green Party MP Marama Davidson on the Women’s Boat to Gaza peace flotilla that will leave Italy
later this month. (September 2016)

You can DONATE to this and other fundraising for Palestine on the web site:

Kia Ora Gaza:

This interview was sponsored by The Awareness Party.


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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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