By Yvonne Ridley
good news story
As a journalist I love being first with the news so when I was handed
a red hot exclusive story a few hours ago I could barely contain
I already had
a captive audience having just finished a live broadcast for Press
TV in front of scores of members of the Viva Palestina convoy which
is currently making its way through Morocco.
up everyone," I shouted as they walked towards their hotel
from the car park where Press TV's outside broadcast vehicle was
and gathered around and then the words came tumbling out: "Ten
minutes ago police released the Burnley Three without charge and
they are heading our way to hook up with the convoy."
I never get to see peoples' reactions to my exclusive news breaks,
but this time I did and the "wow" factor was amazing.
convoy members jumped up and down for joy and shouted "Allahu
I was referring
to the three men who had been arrested as part of an anti-terrorist
operation which just happened to be performed on the eve of departure
for the history-making convoy led by George Galloway.
Of course the
so-called anti terror raid made huge headlines in the British media
which had, until that moment, shown little or no interest in Viva
I wonder if
the convoy gets the same amount of newsprint and airtime devoted
to this good news story to redress the balance. I doubt it.
I didn't get
a chance to see George Galloway's reaction, but as the leader of
the 110 vehicle British aid convoy bound for Gaza, he has now spoken
of his anger at the high profile Lancashire Constabulary police
action which led to the arrest of nine innocent men who set off
to join the Viva Palestina convoy last Friday.
Six of the
nine were released without charge some days ago and are now heading
for Tunisia in three vehicles laden with humanitarian supplies for
the people of Gaza.
But three more
were detained in custody for almost a week before being released
without charge this afternoon.
publicity which the arrests attracted had a knock on effect and
Viva Palestina organisers said that there was a drop of 80% in donations.
Sadly the media
continues to give Viva Palestina a wide berth, with a few notable
exceptions including Press TV.
This is a real
shame because they've really missed out on some excellent stories
members saving the lives of20 Moroccan policemen after a near-fatal
road crash near Fes.
mother-of-six battling cancer continues her mercy mission for the
sake of the children of Gaza.
*History in the making as Morocco and Algeria open their land borders
for the first time in nearly two decades to let the mercy convoy
Of course most
of those making the headlines are Muslims and as we know, the Islamophobic
media in Britain prefers to write about Muslims in a negative way.
But this flawed
news judgment reflects badly on them and not the Viva Palestina
crew who come from all parts of Britain - they might not have been
born in the UK but they are doing their adopted country proud.
Ridley is on board the Viva Palestina convoy with award-winning
film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani - her website is www.yvonneridley.org