Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mavi Marmara Assault -- Full Video From Cultures of Resistance

YouTube Link

I watched this last night and found it to be a very powerful documentary in this extremely raw state. I posted some comments at Glenn's Place in response to ondelette's request for peoples' impressions of what they saw.

This is a transcript of my two posts last night:

Saturday, June 12, 2010 10:33 PM ET

ondelette: On the Full video released at UN

Been watching it off and on for a while now. In some ways so sad. I know, but I don't know, that some of the men, maybe many of them, in the video are either wounded or dead now.

They are so hopeful, so frightened, so determined.

There is an early sense of calm, deliberate intensity. Many conflicting emotions simultaneously.

I paused just past the point where the Israelis are pulling alongside the Mavi Marmara. The Israelis are firing at the ship; it sounds like bullets and grenades (flash/bang?), possibly tear gas as well; they are firing constantly.

The passengers are shouting, watching over the rail, moving fast from place to place. The Israelis keep up constant fire at the ship. Their fast boat is right up against the starboard side.

ondelette: On the Full video released at UN (cont'd)

Blood on the stairwell, people don't know how it got there, a passenger wounded?

Firing. One shot. One shot. One shot. Burst of shots. One shot. Helicopter overhead, passengers warding it off with sling shots, ineffective. Shots are heard. Are they firing from the helicopter?

Commandos fast roping down, not much sound, view is from the deck below. No sign of what's going on up there. Helicopter choppers away. Men with slingshots continue to aim at it.

Shots heard on the upper deck, bursts of three, four. Wounded passengers carried down, and two Israeli soldiers.

Many wounded now, some dead, shot in the head; firing continues in bursts.

Men in the stairwell armed with sticks, the famous "iron bars," one tries to open a package of pepper spray with his knife. Unsuccessful. Waiting, waiting. Firing continues outside, now a shot, now another, now three, now four. Are they firing into the stairwell? Man goes down, but there is no effort to rescue him. Firing, firing.

Blood. Blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood on the wounded, blood on the dead, blood on the men trying to be medics. Chest compressions on a badly wounded man, compressions badly done. They're trying the best they can. Is he dead?

Many wounded, some dead.

It looks like no one is afraid anymore. Firing, firing, one shot, one shot, two shots, one shot, three shots. Firing.

Dawn. The ship is traveling away from the dawn, moving westward, away from Gaza, west. Firing, firing. Shooting continues as alarm sounds on ship. Loudspeakers in other languages, then English. "Please go to your cabins. Go to your seats. The Israelis are using live ammunition. Please go to your seats."

Men mill around holding sticks, "iron bars." They pray. Smoke. So many smokers. Dawn.

Hearts are racing. What now?

The only thing I would add at this point is that what is shown in the raw footage is how a resistance struggle actually looks from the inside as an action is taking place. Superficially, it's not very dramatic most of the time; a lot of standing and milling around, nervous waiting. Flashes of bravery. Carrying and caring for the wounded and the dead. Mostly though, it's a situation of growing tension and not knowing what will happen next, nor necessarily when your own turn will come -- for whatever Fate has in store.

The dramatic action that you see on the teevee is the exception, not the rule.

I was struck, too, by all the people sitting around smoking and nervously laughing toward the end of footage. That's part of the truth of these things that people almost never see. But it is very real.

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