The Egyptian government announced Monday that the border between Gaza and Egypt will be closed, just in time for 1,346 men, women, and children from 42 countries -- the Gaza Freedom March -- to arrive in Cairo. It's too late to turn back now. We will proceed, and are asking Egypt to permit the march to go on.
This has happened with each delegation we have taken but with the right pressure we have succeeded in crossing the border each time. Our first attempt was made possible thanks to First Lady Suzanne Mubarak. For International Women's Day we were taking in thousands of pink baskets of aid for the women in Gaza. As we made our way to the border we passed truck after truck brimming with rotting material aid that the Egyptians had not allowed into Gaza. But our outreach to Madame Mubarak proved fruitful: we were met by the Egyptian Red Crescent (which she chairs) and we proceeded into Gaza with no problems.
When we arrive in Cairo on Sunday, December 27, the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, we will call on Mrs. Mubarak to once more open her heart to the suffering across her border. We have been writing letters and making calls to her office for months now, and we hope that she will intercede on our behalf to make sure we can bring our humanitarian aid -- children's medicines, clothing and school supplies -- to the families in Gaza who are suffering.
Today in Los Angeles, we are packing peace flags sent from around the country to fly in support of the people of Gaza, toys for the children, and material aid. Thousands of us want to spend our holiday actually pursuing peace on Earth, and goodwill toward men and women. And on Sunday, I will lead the women's delegation as we begin to make our way to the border. Around the world, nearly 100 solidarity events are also planned: consider participating, or organizing your own.
You can apply pressure from home by emailing Mrs. Mubarak a letter similar to ours.
Dear Mrs. Mubarak,
We are honored to spend our New Year holiday returning to highlight the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Gaza. In March of this year, for International Women's Day, you intervened and facilitated our entry into Gaza. With your help, we were able to deliver 1,000 gift baskets to the women of Gaza. We were -- and continue to be -- very grateful for your support.
At this year's end, we have organized a march of nearly 1,400 international citizens to come together and march with the families of Gaza on the anniversary of the terrible 22-day Israeli invasion. We know you share our painful feelings about the human rights violations in Gaza -- violations which must be all the more painful for their proximity to you. We appeal to your compassion for those women, men and children and the conditions in which they live. The delegates on this march are bringing winter jackets for children, as well as children's medicines and school supplies.
We once again ask you to intervene on our behalf. Please help us travel to Gaza from December 29-January 2 to deliver much-needed aid and to march hand-in-hand for justice and human rights for all.
With deepest thanks and respect,
Jodie Evans, for the CODEPINK Women's Delegation and the Gaza Freedom March