Derek Graham: We can't turn back: it would insult the people who died

On board the 'Rachel Corrie'
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The Independent Online

Before I joined Free Gaza I was not an activist – I had never been to a protest, anything like that. I saw an ad in the paper asking for people to sail a boat to Gaza to break the siege... What I saw in there changed me for life, and I've been doing this now for three years since.

This ship is much larger; this whole mission was much larger than anything we've ever tried before. This ship was supposed to be in with the other ones... We were delayed and because of that now we're the last ship standing.

It's the most surreal thing – you have to remember, we're out in the middle of the Mediterranean, we have only satellite phone coverage, we have no radio, no television, no newspaper, no anything. People are saying there's a lot of news coverage but we have not seen any of it.

You have to have comradeship, without it you are lost... It has to be a whole team effort because you are supporting each other as well. Okay, sometimes you might need a bit of time to yourself, and you might go away and sit in a corner, but other times you do need someone to come up and talk to you and just lighten the humour.

This ship has come the whole way from Ireland with this aid, and we are not going to turn back at this stage... It's too important for the Palestinians and everybody else at this stage to turn around.

People are getting more anxious the closer we get, but at the same time everybody's still very determined to continue... I mean, at this stage we cannot turn around because it would insult the people that died last Monday.

Derek Graham is a member of the Free Gaza Movement and one of the owners of the MV Rachel Corrie

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