June 11, 2010 – MEDIA ALERT:
JUST RELEASED: ONE HOUR OF FOOTAGE FROM MAVI MARMARA Footage taken
aboard largest ship in Gaza Freedom Flotilla in hour before and during
raid by Israeli military
New York, NY
A full hour of raw footage taken aboard the Mavi Marmara in the hour
leading up to and during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
has just been made available to view at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwsMJmvS0AY
The footage is also available for download at: http://tinyurl.com/flotilla-footage/
Despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all of the
footage taken during the attack, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE filmmaker Iara
Lee was able to smuggle one hour of footage back to the United States
and is releasing it raw to the public today.
Yesterday at the United Nations, Ms. Lee presented the footage for the
first time to the international press corps after the following
"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
"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
"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?