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Inside the flotilla attack

A speed boat escorts Turkish ship Mavi Marmara with Israeli troops on board near the southern port of Ashdod on May 31, 2010, after the Israeli navy raided a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza, killing several passengers and sparking international outrage. MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

Farooq Burney, Canadian director of Al Fakhoora, tells the Globeís Patrick Martin what it was like on one of the vessels boarded Monday by Israeli commandos. Farooq Burney, the Canadian director of Al Fakhoora, a Qatar-based charity for fostering education in Gaza, was among the passengers on board the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish boat boarded by Israeli commandos early Monday morning.

Mr. Burney, 37, was reached in Istanbul by The Globe and Mailís Middle East correspondent, Patrick Martin, just before boarding a flight to Qatar.

Mr. Burney, where were you when the Israelis arrived, and what did you see?

I was on the main deck when the assault began.

Basically, we had just finished the morning prayer, when we saw two Israeli boats approach the ship. It was almost as if they had waited until we finished the prayer.

We knew something was going to happen because the Israelis had radioed our shipís captain about four hours before to ask where we were going and so on.

We were expecting something to happen as a result of that, and certain people stayed up, while others went to sleep.

Did you stay up?

No, I went to sleep, but got up at 3:30. The attack began happening at about 4:10.

The first thing that happened was that someone on the Israeli boats threw gas bombs or something from the boats onto our deck. There was a very loud bang, a huge bang, and a lot of smoke. Some of the women started screaming when they heard the bang.

At that point, some people began spraying the Israelis with water, from fire hoses.


Farooq Burney.

Had they gotten them ready before the attack?

Yes, they got them ready before.

As this was going on, a helicopter approached, and people knew they were going to try to take over the ship. Lots of people then tried to stand around the captain [on the bridge] to stand in their way.

I was not directly under the helicopter, but I could see things quite clearly: First one commando, then another descended.

People rushed the first commando and they overpowered him.

How? Did they use wooden clubs or metal rods or anything?

No, it was just basically hand-to-hand combat. You have to realize there were about 25 or 30 people fighting with this guy, and they overpowered him and disarmed him. Then they threw him onto the deck below.

And they didnít use any weapons at all when they were doing this?

No, none at all.

What happened to the second commando?

They overpowered him too; also just with hand-hand fighting.

Did they throw him off the deck as well?

No, they locked him up in a room.

Then, at that point, a second helicopter came and tried to lower commandos onto the deck. But there were too many people on the deck by this time and they [the commandos] couldnít do it. So it left.

Then, a third helicopter came...

How long after the second helicopter?

About two or three minutes later.

And thatís when they opened fire.

Who opened fire?

The Israelis.

And then bullets were flying everywhere. There were these sounds crack Ė crack Ė crack.\

Multiple or single shots?

Multiple shots.

At this point, more commandos came on board.

Where from?

From helicopters...

[Reporterís note: The interview was interrupted, while Farooq Burney boarded a flight to Doha. It was resumed a few hours later on Thursday evening.]

You referred to commandos descending from a third helicopter following a lot of shooting. What did the people on deck do?

Everyone was trying to get out of the line of fire.

We knew it was going to get bloody.

Did any of the passengers return fire?

No. Absolutely not.

But what about the guns that had been taken from the first commandos?

A decision was made not to use them. Someone took the cartridges out of them and put the guns away somewhere. They werenít used.

But Israel has said that at least two of its commandos suffered gunshot wounds?

I canít explain that. I donít know how it could have happened.

Did any of the passengers fight back at all against this wave of commandos?

No. Everyone was really afraid by this point. They could see people getting shot. Everyone stopped fighting.

Where were you during all this?

I was up front trying to help a man who had been shot in the chest. A couple of us dragged him inside and tried to help him.

He died a little later.

Iím confused. Weíve seen videos of passengers beating some of the commandos with what looks like clubs and pipes. Are you saying that never happened?

No, Iím saying I didnít see it. But what I understand is that at some point after the first commandos landed and got beaten up, some people, in the heat of the moment, picked up things that were at hand and used them on the commandos.

You said earlier that one commando was thrown off the top deck and the other locked in a room...

Actually, they both were locked in a room, and there were three of them altogether.

Three of them? Did they all get beaten up?

Yes, and then locked up in a room.

What happened to them when the other commandos started shooting?

One of our group let them out of the room. He figured, maybe it would show that we were cooperating and that theyíd stop shooting.

But all three of the commandos just jumped overboard.

What happened when the shooting stopped?

We were all huddling inside, and after about five minutes, someone went on the PA and said that the ship had been taken over and that several people needed medical help.

Who was this speaking, the captain?

No, it was one of our group. He spoke in English. He was trying to get help from the commandos.

They were still outside on the deck.

Then this woman Ė sheís a member of the Knesset [Haneen Zoabi, from the Arab community of Nazareth] Ė spoke in Hebrew on the PA and asked the commandos for medical help for the wounded.

But they didnít do anything.

Youíre saying the Israeli forces did nothing to help the wounded?

Thatís right; for more than an hour, they did nothing. They just pointed their weapons at us, motioning that we should get back from the window.

This woman [Zoabi] went up to the window at one point and started shouting at them in Hebrew. I thought they were going to shoot her, but they just motioned with their guns to get back.

It was about that time that the man I was with died.

Just after that, one of the commandos told that member of the Knesset and another woman to help bring out the wounded, one at a time.

So thatís what they did until all of them were taken care of.

What happened to the rest of you?

They told us to leave our stuff and come out one at a time, with our hands on our head.

Then they frisked us and tied our hands behind our backs with those plastic ties.

I had a memory stick and some medication with me. They took the memory stick and left my medication. They left me my wallet too.

And then, they told us to walk up to the upper deck, where we were told to get on our knees and face the wall.

It must have been about 6 a.m. I could see there were three big Israeli boats alongside our ship and a lot of smaller boats.

More and more soldiers were landing at this time and the wounded were being taken away.

How did people in your group feel?

A lot of people were crying. It got really painful to stay for a long time on your knees like that, and, for some people, their hands were tied too tightly.

Some of the Israelis would loosen peopleís ties if they thought they were too tight.

A lot of people had to go to the bathroom. I thought I was going to pee my pants, but finally a soldier took me off to the washroom.

Did he talk to you?

No. He just motioned at me with his gun.

How long were you left there on your knees?

For about three hours.

Then we were told to go back downstairs. They untied our hands and then tied them up again, but in front of us. And they told us to sit. We stayed like that until about 5 oíclock, when we arrived at the port [Ashdod].


உனக்கு நாடு இல்லை என்றவனைவிட நமக்கு நாடே இல்லை என்றவனால்தான் நான் எனது நாட்டை விட்டு விரட்டப்பட்டேன்....... 



ராஜினி திரணகம


Phd(Liverpool, UK)

'அதிர்ச்சி ஏற்படுத்தும் சாமர்த்தியம் விடுதலைப்புலிகளின் வலிமை மிகுந்த ஆயுதமாகும்.í விடுதலைப்புலிகளுடன் நட்பு பூணுவது என்பது வினோதமான சுய தம்பட்டம் அடிக்கும் விவகாரமே. விடுதலைப்புலிகளின் அழைப்பிற்கு உடனே செவிமடுத்து, மாதக்கணக்கில் அவர்களின் குழுக்களில் இருந்து ஆலோசனை வழங்கி, கடிதங்கள் வரைந்து, கூட்டங்களில் பேசித்திரிந்து, அவர்களுக்கு அடிவருடிகளாக இருந்தவர்கள்மீது கூட சூசகமான எச்சரிக்கைகள், காலப்போக்கில் அவர்கள்மீது சந்தேகம் கொண்டு விடப்பட்டன.........'

(முறிந்த பனை நூலில் இருந்து)

(இந் நூலை எழுதிய ராஜினி திரணகம விடுதலைப் புலிகளின் புலனாய்வுப் பிரிவின் முக்கிய உறுப்பினரான பொஸ்கோ என்பவரால் 21-9-1989 அன்று யாழ் பல்கலைக்கழக வாசலில் வைத்து சுட்டு கொல்லப்பட்டார்)

Its capacity to shock was one of the L.T.T.E. smost potent weapons. Friendship with the L.T.T.E.was a strange and self-flattering affair.In the course of the coming days dire hints were dropped for the benefit of several old friends who had for months sat on committees, given advice, drafted latters, addressed meetings and had placed themselves at the L.T.T.E.ísbeckand call.

From: Broken Palmyra

வடபுலத் தலமையின் வடஅமெரிக்க விஜயம்


புலிகளின் முக்கிய புள்ளி ஒருவரின் வாக்கு மூலம்

பிரபாகரனுடன் இறுதி வரை இருந்து முள்ளிவாய்கால் இறுதி சங்காரத்தில் தப்பியவரின் வாக்குமூலம்


தமிழகத் தேர்தல் 2011

திமுக, அதிமுக, தமிழக மக்கள் இவர்களில் வெல்லப் போவது யார்?


என் இனிய தாய் நிலமே!

தங்கி நிற்க தனி மரம் தேவை! தோப்பு அல்ல!!


இலங்கையின் 7 வது பாராளுமன்றத் தேர்தல்! நடக்கும் என்றார் நடந்து விட்டது! நடக்காது என்றார் இனி நடந்துவிடுமா?


வெல்லப்போவது யார்.....? பாராளுமன்றத் தேர்தல் 2010


பாராளுமன்றத் தேர்தல் 2010

தேர்தல் விஞ்ஞாபனம்- பத்மநாபா ஈழமக்கள் புரட்சிகர விடுதலை முன்னணி

1990 முதல் 2009 வரை அட்டைகளின் (புலிகளின்) ஆட்சியில்......

நடந்த வன்கொடுமைகள்!

(fpNwrpad;> ehthe;Jiw)

சமரனின் ஒரு கைதியின் வரலாறு

'ஆயுதங்கள் மேல் காதல் கொண்ட மனநோயாளிகள்.' வெகு விரைவில்...

மீசை வைச்ச சிங்களவனும் ஆசை வைச்ச தமிழனும்



'இராணுவ' ஆட்சி வேண்டி நிற்கும் மேற்குலகம்,துணை செய்யக் காத்திருக்கும்; சரத் பொன்சேகா கூட்டம்


ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தல்

எமது தெரிவு எவ்வாறு அமைய வேண்டும்?

பத்மநாபா ஈபிஆர்எல்எவ்

ஜனாதிபதித் தேர்தல்

ஆணை இட்ட அதிபர் 'கை', வேட்டு வைத்த ஜெனரல் 'துப்பாக்கி'..... யார் வெல்வார்கள்?


சம்பந்தரே! உங்களிடம் சில சந்தேகங்கள்


அனைத்து இலங்கைத் தமிழர்களும் ஒற்றுமையான இலங்கை தமது தாயகம் என மனப்பூர்வமாக உரிமையோடு உணரும் நிலை ஏற்பட வேண்டும்.

(m. tujuh[g;ngUkhs;)

தொடரும் 60 வருடகால காட்டிக் கொடுப்பு

ஜனாதிபதித் தேர்தலில் தமிழ் மக்கள் பாடம் புகட்டுவார்களா?


ஜனவரி இருபத்தாறு!

விரும்பியோ விரும்பாமலோ இரு கட்சிகளுக்குள் ஒன்றை தமிழ் பேசும் மக்கள் தேர்ந்தெடுக்க வேண்டும்.....?


2009 விடைபெறுகின்றது! 2010 வரவேற்கின்றது!!

'ஈழத் தமிழ் பேசும் மக்கள் மத்தியில் பாசிசத்தின் உதிர்வும், ஜனநாயகத்தின் எழுச்சியும்'


சபாஷ் சரியான போட்டி.

மகிந்தராஜபக்ஷ & சரத் பொன்சேகா.

(யஹியா வாஸித்)

கூத்தமைப்பு கூத்தாடிகளும் மாற்று தமிழ் அரசியல் தலைமைகளும்!

(சதா. ஜீ.)

தமிழ் பேசும் மக்களின் புதிய அரசியல் தலைமை

மீண்டும் திரும்பும் 35 வருடகால அரசியல் சுழற்சி! தமிழ் பேசும் மக்களுக்கு விடிவு கிட்டுமா?


கப்பலோட்டிய தமிழனும், அகதி (கப்பல்) தமிழனும்


சூரிச் மகாநாடு

(பூட்டிய) இருட்டு அறையில் கறுப்பு பூனையை தேடும் முயற்சி


பிரிவோம்! சந்திப்போம்!! மீண்டும் சந்திப்போம்! பிரிவோம்!!


தமிழ் தேசிய கூட்டமைப்புடன் உறவு

பாம்புக்கு பால் வார்க்கும் பழிச் செயல்


இலங்கை அரசின் முதல் கோணல் முற்றும் கோணலாக மாறும் அபாயம்


ஈழ விடுலைப் போராட்டமும், ஊடகத்துறை தர்மமும்


அடுத்த கட்டமான அதிகாரப்பகிர்வு முன்னேற்றமானது 13வது திருத்தத்திலிருந்து முன்னோக்கி உந்திப் பாயும் ஒரு விடயமே


மலையகம் தந்த பாடம்

வடக்கு கிழக்கு மக்கள் கற்றுக்கொள்வார்களா?††


ஒரு பிரளயம் கடந்து ஒரு யுகம் முடிந்தது போல் சம்பவங்கள் நடந்து முடிந்துள்ளன.!




அமைதி சமாதானம் ஜனநாயகம்