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Valentine for Palestine:

The George Galloway Convoy to Gaza

By Yvonne Ridley

Press TV, February 19, 2009




Yvonne Ridley arrives in Gaza in the August of 2008 as a member of the Free Gaza Movement.


Valentine's Day, the annual February 14 celebration, is rooted in paganism until Christian leaders pegged it to the legend of a third century saint after failing miserably to stop the annual festival.

And so, millions of people of faith and no faith across the world exchange cards and flowers as symbols of their love, so I suppose it was quite apt that February 14 was chosen by British MP George Galloway as the day to send a gift to the people of Palestine.

But instead of a simple card and bunch of roses, Britain's best known politician decided his Valentine for Palestine would be a show stopper.

His journey from Big Ben to Baghdad ten years ago was a mammoth task, but nothing like “Viva Palestina!” which involves more than 100 vehicles, 285 people and a spectacular mile-long procession including fire engines, ambulances and a boat all bound from London to Gaza.

George is sending a land convoy of aid, gift wrapped in love and solidarity to the people of Gaza and I will be with him all the way recording the historic trip by blog.

I will be hoping to emulate the success in smashing the Israeli-imposed siege by sea when I arrived in Gaza last August as a member of the Free Gaza Movement.

Tomorrow's convoy, stretching more than one mile, will roll from central London around noon on Saturday (GMT) and head for war-torn Gaza via France, Spain before winding its way across north Africa.

My daily diary will keep you informed of who is on the convoy, the human interest stories around each truck and van loaded with humanitarian aid and our adventures on the road.

Many of you who are reading this blog have donated cash and aid to the convoy, and as stakeholders in “Viva Palestina” it is only right you are kept informed of your investment in the future hopes of those in Gaza.
We are told there are quite a few official welcomes and receptions being planned for us on our journey which has already been described as the largest British convoy to cross the Maghreb since the Second World War.

So if you want to keep informed follow this column for the next 21 days.
See you all in Gaza!

* According to legend, in the third century A.D. Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to reinforce the ranks of his army, forbade young men to marry.

Valentine, it is said, flouted the ban, performing marriages in secret. For his defiance, Valentine was executed in A.D. 270-on February 14.


Hi everyone

We're leaving with our convoy of aid to Gaza on Saturday. We'll keep you updated, but so far there are over 100 vehicles going to Gaza, including fire engines, ambulances, trucks and even boats. We've collected £1million of aid, but the people of Gaza need more.

If you want to follow the progress of the convoy, sign up to Twitter - I'll post regular updates on our progress. Go to, sign up and then follow George Galloway -

More importantly, we still need to collect as much money as possible for the people of Gaza. You can make a donation on our Viva Palestina website -

Many thanks for all your support. Please forward this email to everyone you know - tell everyone to visit and make a donation, and to follow our progress at

If you belong to any online forums or know of any websites with a lot of visitors, please tell them all about - the BBC cost the people of Gaza a lot by refusing to show the aid appeal; we'll take the aid directly there. Get everyone you can to link to the Viva Palestina website and to make appeals for donations.

Thanks, and viva Palestina!


Visit George's official website

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