"We have been attacked while in international waters. That means the Israelis have behaved like pirates. . . . The moment they start to steer this ship towards Israel, we have also been kidnapped. The whole action is illegal."—Henning Mankell, aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
At 4:30 AM on Monday, May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos, boarding from sea and air, attacked the six boats of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as it sailed through international waters attempting to bring humanitarian relief to the beleaguered Palestinians of Gaza. Within minutes, nine peace activists were dead, shot by the Israelis. Scores of others were injured.
Within hours, outrage at Israel's action echoed around the world. Spontaneous demonstrations occurred in Europe, the United States, Turkey, and Gaza itself to denounce the attack. Turkey's prime minister described it as a "bloody massacre" and "state terrorism."
In these pages, a range of activists, journalists, and analysts piece together the events that occurred that May night. Mixing together first-hand testimony and documentary record with hard-headed analysis and historical overview, Midnight on the Mavi Marmara reveals why the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla may just turn out to be Israel's Selma, Alabama moment: the beginning of the end for an apartheid Palestine.
Moustafa Bayoumi is an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. He is co-editor of The Edward Said Reader and the author of the American Book Award-winning How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America.
"This event had shocked the conscience of much of the world and that it needed to be understood with testimony, context, and analysis, things a book can provide perhaps better than any other medium."—Editor Mustafa Bayoumi, interviewed in the Chronicle of Higher Education
"A retelling of the attack by eyewitnesses, and analysis of the blockade and the conflict in the region."—New York Times