Flotillas, Iron Bars and Hand Guns.
Having been away for a few days I have come back to a mountain of e-mails and plenty of posts to ponder.
There’s a lot to read about the flotilla and how nine people were shot, but I thought I would put down my initial impressions, which are not set in stone or fixed.
When we originally heard of the deaths connected to the flotilla the figure was said to be 20, now I believe it is about nine.
When I first heard it I was astonished I couldn’t imagine how peaceful activists would be shot. After all, they’re not violent so why should anyone wish to employ violence against them? That was my thinking.
A bit naïve, in the extreme.
Now as far as I can tell there was some six ships, Israelis wanted to inspect the cargo and informed their Captains accordingly. Five ships complied and one didn’t, the Mavi Marmara.
The Israelis then decided to board that ship, a rather difficult task in the middle of the night when the ship was moving.
So some commandos abseiled down ropes, carrying paintball guns, and sometime after, nine people were dead.
I couldn’t understand what was happening until I saw a YouTube clip.
Apparently, as each soldier reaches the deck he’s set upon by eight to 10 men with lumps of wood, iron bars and possibly baseball bats. One of the soldiers is thrown over the side of the ship.
The would-be peace activists continue attacking the soldiers with pieces of wood, metal bars and other weaponry. One soldier in the video aimed his paintball gun at them, but that didn’t do much (you can tell it’s a painball gun because of the lump above the barrel). More soldiers come down and more are attacked.
I imagine what happened is, that eventually Israeli soldiers realised that paintball guns weren’t much use against iron bars and conceivably fearing for their lives use their pistols to defend themselves.
That is my assessment which could, of course, be wrong and I am open to alternative reasoned explanations of the video clip.
It seems to me that when grown men attack armed soldiers with iron bars and lumps of wood, then you’re going to have casualties.
Likewise, if a 60-80 strong group of British football hooligans decided to attack a few French gendarmes in a similar fashion then it seems probable what the French police would do, shoot at the hooligans.
That’s what people do when they have guns, are attacked and they fear for their lives.
I wonder what Turkish troops would have done in a similar situation and how big the fatalities would have been?
Slightly more than nine, I will wager.