Joseph Dana reports:
On Thursday, the passengers of the Audacity of Hope, the US boat in the “Freedom Flotilla 2” to Gaza—a convoy of ten boats, two cargo ships and some 300 civilians—emerged from their hotel on the edge of an Athens turned upside down. The air was heavy from the stench of garbage and tear gas, after two days of a general strike and fighting between police and demonstrators protesting the latest austerity measures. But the dramatic urban landscape barely caught the passengers’ attention as they boarded a chartered bus to a distant Athenian port, kept secret until then due to security concerns.
Standing in front of more than seventy journalists from around the world, the thirty-five passengers called on the Greek government to allow their boat to sail. The idea was that if the government were to continue its efforts—coming after intense Israeli lobbying—to prevent the boat from sailing, it would be forced to do so in front of the world media, and thus might back down. But just one hour before the press conference was set to begin, the captain of the US boat announced that he was abandoning the mission, saying that he risked losing his maritime license and could face jail time if he didn’t. But this was only the latest setback for the flotilla.