The world has lost a beautiful soul

9 Mar

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is deeply saddened by the death of Divina Levrini in Sweden a few days ago. She was a good friend and shipmate to many of us who sailed with her on the vessels  Freedom and Al Awda in 2018 or met her in different ports. Divina was a passionate advocate for justice, a talented musician and gifted communicator who touched many lives. We mourn her early loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

Divina pre-recorded this ‘SOS’ video message that was broadcast on social media after the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla boat, the Al Awda, was illegally hi-jacked by Israeli forces in international waters last year.

The Israeli navy assaulted and injured many of those on board (including Divina and New Zealander Mike Treen), threatened to assassinate the captain, and forced the boat to a port in Israel. All aboard were imprisoned for several days before being deported. Most of their belongings were stolen by Israeli forces. The Al Awda, and the other flotilla boat Freedom, remain confiscated in Israel, and the 114 boxes of medical supplies destined for Gaza, have never been seen since.

Some of the 2018 Freedom Flotilla participants in Messina, Sicily, prior to departure: Chris Graham, Divina Levrini, Lucía Mazarrasa, Mike Treen, Larry Commodore, Mohd Afandi Salleh.

Kia Ora Gaza is a member of the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition. New Zealand’s representative on the 2018 flotilla, union leader Mike Treen, yesterday remembered his time on the Al Awda with Divina: I shared the final leg of the journey to Gaza and detention in Israel. She fought every inch of the way with great courage. One of our other trip participants only got urgent medical attention because she kept shouting at the guards until he was attended to. It makes me angry a soul like hers can’t survive this world.

Christchurch human rights activist, Lois Griffiths paid this moving tribute to Divina, posted on Scoop NZ yesterday:

The World has lost a Beautiful Soul

I was saddened today to learn of the sudden death of Swedish human rights activist, singer Divina Levrini. I became aware of this young woman when researching the background of participants in the Freedom flotilla 2018 to Gaza. She was one of the participants.

It’s fascinating and inspiring too, to learn about people with various backgrounds, from different countries, who share a compassion for justice for the people of Gaza, suffering under appalling, truly inhumane, sadistic even, conditions. The world has looked the other way for far too long.

When challenged by an interviewer as to why she was volunteering Devina Levrini explained, “I have been reading about Palestine since I was a teenager and it touched me. This conflict is different from many others because it’s a modern day apartheid and a genocide that never should be accepted. I am a mother of two children, who have to live in this world and it’s up to us, adults, to change it for the better. The children of Palestine are no different and should be able to live as freely as my children in Sweden. This trip is a humanitarian and peaceful act to raise awareness, and if it makes politicians act, then we have succeeded in many ways.” Palestinians of Gaza ” need to be remembered. They need the world talking about them.” “I risk a lot by going, but it is an action I must take. I can’t sit by and watch the genocide of Palestinians. The world has been through this before and has succeeded in ending a lot of occupations. The amount of support we have received on our way is overwhelming and shows there is support for Palestine. I believe that without human rights activists nothing will change, but as I said during our trip “maybe you are the change you have been waiting for.”

Divina Levrini was actually a crew member for the entire 2½ month Freedom Flotilla campaign, starting in Scandinvia. She crewed on the Freedom as far as Palermo and then the Al Awda from Palermo. In other words she was a colleague of Mike Treen’s. She witnessed the violence inflected on the young Norwegian captain and then on Mike and others.

Her eyewitness account after returning to Sweden, can be found via the freedom flotilla website: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/

And now I learn that this lovely, passionate, caring, humane young woman has died.

Although I never met her, I would like to do something positive, something she would have approved of, in her memory. I would like to demand that Israel release the medical supplies that it stole from the Flotilla boats, medical supplies that were meant for hospitals in Gaza. That seems so weak though. I’d really like to be able to demand that the Israeli Embassy be expelled. What kind of a country would steal basic medical supplies meant for hospitals that are barely functioning? That’s another story that needs to be told.

Which raises another point. Why is New Zealand determined to remain silent, i.e. complicit, as Israel continues its obscene oppression of Palestinians, not only, but especially, in Gaza. Is there no red line?

There will be another Freedom Flotilla in 2020. Most sadly, without Divina Levrini.

The world has lost a beautiful soul.

[Ed: For more on the hi-jacking of the flotilla boats, see reports posted in July/August 2018 on kiaoragaza.net and jpf.freedom.flotilla.org ]

One Response to “The world has lost a beautiful soul”

  1. Vasaire March 11, 2019 at 9:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on Vasaire.

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