Cultures of Resistance has released Iara Lee’s hour-long video of the attack on Mavi Marmara. You see events leading up to the attack, the attack itself (beginning at about 36:00), and its aftermath. (via Juan Cole, whose coverage of the massacre and its aftermath has been stellar)
On the night of Sunday, May 30, showing a terrifying disregard for human life, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely.
Despite the Israeli government’s thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee was able to retain some of her recordings. Above is raw footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos’ assault on the Mavi Marmara.
Despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all of the footage taken during the attack, Cultures of Resistance (www.culturesofresistance.org) filmmaker Iara Lee was able to have one hour of footage smuggled back to the United States and is releasing it raw to the public today.
On 11 June 2010 at the United Nations, Ms. Lee presented the footage for the first time to the international press corps after the following statement:
“I want first to thank the United Nations Correspondents Association for organizing this event on such short notice.
“My name is Iara Lee. I am a dual U.S.-Brazilian citizen of Korean descent. I am a filmmaker and a human rights activist.
“I decided to join the Freedom Flotilla after going to Gaza a few months ago and seeing first hand the devastation there. After hearing the pleas of the people living in Gaza to have the blockade lifted, I felt I must do something.
“The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was on a humanitarian mission. We expected to be deterred from delivering our aid to Gazans, but we did not expect to be attacked.
“We started filming from the moment we boarded the Mavi Marmara right through the Israeli assault on the ship. Although all of our equipment was confiscated, we managed to smuggle this footage out.
“Mine is high-definition footage of the Flotilla attack and also the only sustained footage of the ship and its passengers preceding the deadly Israeli commando raid. Watching this raw, unedited footage, you will get a sense of the mood on the ship and of the passengers on it.
“Undoubtedly, many of you will be scrutinizing it for clues to resolve the mysteries that still surround what happened that fateful night…
“During this past week the Israeli government has repeatedly alleged that these passengers — or some of them — laid a trap for Israel, duped the Israeli military, and plotted a lynching. Israel has repeatedly alleged that we were anti-Semitic Muslim fanatics connected to terrorist organizations.
“In fact, the passengers on our mission came from many countries and religious and ethnic backgrounds. Our one common denominator was that we wanted to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by highlighting the injustice of Israel’s blockade.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This wasn’t the ‘love boat,’ this was a flotilla of terror supporters.” Our footage will help you decide whether we were a love boat or a hate boat. You will see secular and devout passengers. You will see people at prayer and people working at their laptops.
“Was this a lynch-mob moved by hatred of Israelis or was it a cross-section of humanity moved by the plight of Gaza? Did we lay a trap for the Israeli commandos or did they unnecessarily attack us? Did we take them by surprise or did they take us by surprise?
“Do you see a premeditated ambush, or do you see some passengers using items at hand to protect themselves from an unprovoked assault by heavily armed commandos?