Sunday, June 6, 2010

'We are not the real heroes', says volunteer

By Rahmah Ghazali
SEPANG: Although the 12 Malaysians and volunteers on board the aid ship attacked by Israel while on its way to Gaza have been called 'heroes', they feel they do not deserve such accolades.
Noorazman Mohd Samsuddin, who was among those held by the Israeli army since Monday's deadly attack on their humanitarian flotilla MV Mavi Marmara, said: "We are not the real heroes.
"The real heroes are the ones who prayed for us, those who helped to free us. They are the heroes," he told a packed press conference at KLIA after arriving from Istanbul, Turkey.
Noorazman also said that their freedom was "not the real issue" although they went through the "most difficult times" of their lives.
"We were handcuffed for more than 15 hours and not allowed to go to the toilet. Their guns were always pointed at our heads. We were not given food or drinks for almost 24 hours.
"But the people in Palestine are in a worse situation than ours. They are constantly being confronted by the Israeli army who are prepared to kill at any time," he said.
Noorazman, a lead delegate for NGO Lifeline4Gaza, expressed his gratitude to Malaysian and Jordanian government for their efforts in securing their freedom.
The 12 who survived the deadly Israeli attack which took nine lives and injured many others were on their way to send humanitarian aid to Gaza and sailing on international waters.
Attacks came without warning
Recalling the tragic incident, Noorazman revealed that several Malaysians were also shot, but with rubber bullets. According to him, the attack came without warning.
"We were on international zone, 74 nautical miles from Gaza. They were no warnings before they raided our ship using a helicopter. We didn't know who they were.
"We were instructed to defend the ship and ourselves. Before the first raid, they threw smoke bombs and flash bangs to blind us temporarily," he said.
"Three commandosm abseiled down a rope from the helicopter on to the ship but before they could set foot, we managed to hold them so they could not shoot us
"The helicopter left the area following the swift reaction from the volunteers," added Noorazman.
The second attack caught them off guard as it happened too quick."The commandos started shooting first before coming down. A journalist from Turkey was shot in his head and died soon after.
"During that attack, four to five people were shot dead in front of our eyes," said Noorazman.

The volunteers arrived at KL International Airport from Istanbul at 6.10am and were greeted by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, government representatives, family members and members of NGOs.

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