Messages for Michael

Australian Freedom Waves to Gaza delegate Michael Coleman returned home to Sydney on Friday 11 November after 5 days in an Israeli gaol. We have received the following messages of support for him. If you’d like to send him and the campaign a message of support please leave a comment on the bottom of this page, or click here for more ways you can help support the campaign.

John Pilger, author and journalist:
For Michael Coleman … Michael, try not to be deterred by the rogue regime that illegally detains you. They kidnapped you and your comrades because they fear the growing moral outrage of the world; all criminal regimes harbour this dread of a known truth. Be assured the great majority of humanity is with you in spirit; I personally am grateful to you for what you have done and for your courage. All power to you.

Jarrod McKenna, Christian preacher and peace activist

As a young Christian leader from Australia I want to thank you personally for your costly witness that is drawing attention to the oppressive human rights abuses people are experiencing at the hands of current policies of the Israeli government. How deaf we are to the message of the Jewish prophets and the cries of the people of Palestine. Last week I returned from meeting with Christian leaders in Palestine who are nonviolently working for what they called a “healthy future of dignity for all people without occupation.” I am haunted by the generosity of one of the Christian leaders statements; “Occupation is not only demoralising for Palestinians but for Israelis also… I am not asking the world to be pro-Palestine, only pro human rights, pro decency, pro humanity.” So we thank you for being pro decency, pro humanity and pro human rights. Please know we hold you in prayer with all people working for an end to this injustice through nonviolence. As Martin Luther King’s words read on the Wall near the Bethlehem checkpoint, “no lie can live forever.” Your actions have again highlighted Desmond Tutu’s words that I was reminded of by an Israeli peacemaker, “Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can only be built on justice.”

Antony Loewenstein, author and independent journalist:
While the illegal and immoral siege on Gaza continues, enforced by Israel and Egypt, and condoned by the Australian government, I stand in solidarity with Michael Coleman for daring to challenge this outrage. History is written by actions of the committed majority, and the Australian government should demand Israel release him immediately. The silence of the political and media elites over both Michael’s imprisonment and the suffering of the Gazan people proves how Zionist ideology has corrupted our democratic process.

Stuart Rees, Director of Sydney Peace Foundation:

Thank you for your courage and your sense of justice. Without brave and principled citizens taking a stand – as you have done in being part of the freedom flotilla for Gaza – politicians and other ‘leaders’ will continue to think that brute force must be the hub of domestic and foreign policies. But you and other courageous people have shown there is a human rights based, non violent alternative to the continued violence by those governments and armies which remain indifferent to human rights.

With gratitude and admiration for your values and your actions,

In solidarity,

Best Wishes,
Stuart Rees,
Director, Sydney Peace Foundation.

Lee Rhiannon, Greens Senator:
It is the Israeli Defence Forces that have acted illegally as the boat Mr Coleman and other Freedom Waves participants were on was in international waters when intercepted.

University of Western Ontario Professor David Heap has reported that he and Mr Coleman were transported to prison in handcuffs and leg shackles. I understand Professor Heap was tasered.

I know Mr Coleman and congratulate him for his work in highlighting the destructive Israeli blockade of Gaza.

I have spoken to Mr Coleman’s father who told me he is pleased with the contact he has had with DFAT but does request that every effort is made to have his son released immediately as he has done nothing wrong.

Mr Coleman and his colleagues are to be commended for their efforts to deliver $30,000 worth of medical aid to Gaza.

Associate Professor Jake Lynch, Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies:
Michael Coleman took action in default of any semblance of respect by our government for international law or concern for the human rights of the Gazan people. For Israel to indulge in acts of piracy and illegal imprisonment is typical of its responses to any attempt to exert internationally recognised norms in this conflict. The least the Australian government can now do is to take action to secure Michael’s release.

John Kaye, Greens NSW MP:
Some people just cannot sit still when they witness injustice. Michael Coleman is one such hero who finds intolerable the discrimination and disenfranchisement visited on the Palestinian people on a daily basis. He left his day job in Australia as a youth worker who educates and empowers young people at risk of homelessness and joined a ship to be part of the nonviolent challenge Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza.

Last Friday the Israeli military boarded the boat Michael was on while it was in international waters. He was taken to an Israeli prison where he remains detained. I understand that Michael has faced mistreatment by Israeli authorities including being denied contact with his family until Sunday evening.

Michael’s sole crime is to care deeply about human rights. He embodies the best of the grand traditions of nonviolent action against repression and racial and religious discrimination. He is to be congratulated for his peaceful activism for a people who live under the constraints of colonialism.

Rather than detaining people like Michael, a real democracy would welcome their commitment to the values of social justice.

I join with Michael’s supporters in calling on the Australian Government to act for Michael’s immediate release. The Gillard government should further condemn Israel’s detainment of Michael and its ongoing occupation of Gaza.

John Kaye
Greens NSW MP

Father Dave,  Holy Trinity Church:
The thoughts and prayers of your community at the Holy Trinity in Dulwich Hill are with you, brother!

David Shoebridge, Greens NSW MP

Your persistence and courage in promoting the rights and struggle of the Palestinian people are an inspiration.

Standing up to the incessant pressure, heavy-handed lobbying and personal vilification constantly brought to bear on those who are peacefully working for justice for the Palestinian people is a genuine personal challenge. I know that doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing to do.

I thank you for your ongoing bravery and commitment. Peaceful and non-violent activism such as yours will continue to draw the world’s attention to the ongoing injustices suffered by the Palestinian people.

My thoughts are with you. I add my voice to the call for the Australian government to act immediately to deliver your release.

In solidarity,

David Shoebridge
Greens NSW MP


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  • Michael Brull
    November 7, 2011 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Israel’s barbaric siege on Gaza needs to be ended. Experience has shown that outside pressure has worked better than anything else in doing so – from when John Kerry complained about the pasta ban, to the international outcry following the massacre on the Mavi Marmara. We who regard the Palestinians as human beings greatly admire your courage, which is so desperately needed, in trying to allow the Palestinians in Gaza the dignity and basic freedoms they deserve.

  • Michael Brull
    November 7, 2011 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Israel\’s barbaric siege on Gaza needs to be ended. Experience has shown that outside pressure has worked better than anything else in doing so – from when John Kerry complained about the pasta ban, to the international outcry following the massacre on the Mavi Marmara. We who regard the Palestinians as human beings greatly admire your courage, which is so desperately needed, in trying to allow the Palestinians in Gaza the dignity and basic freedoms they deserve.

  • November 7, 2011 - 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Hey Michael; I just wanted to let you know that we are all standing with you and everyone on the #freedomwaves flotilla! You are doing what’s right with incredible courage! Stay strong my friend and we’ll see you on the flip side soon! Soha

  • November 7, 2011 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

    As much as Coleman is to be commended for his brave and principled stand – and doing something about it! – the Israelis stand condemned for their actions. The complicity of silence by Western governments, including the Australian one, in allowing the intolerable and inhuman conditions in Gaza to continue – and allow Israel to act as it wishes in relation to Gaza – is shameful.

  • November 7, 2011 - 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Dear Michael & all those illegally detained by apartheid Israel,

    We were horrified to hear of the unjust treatment you have received, from leg shackles to one of your fellow flotilla activists being tasered, all for peacefully supporting the people of Gaza.

    The brutal mistreatment you have received – and the ongoing horrors faced by the Palestinian people – will only strengthen our resolve to act here in an emergency fashion to ensure you are all rapidly released, and that pressure continues to grow on the unjust Israeli occupation.

    You have been incredibly brave and selfless, our solidarity is with you all 100% – look forward to a heroic welcome back to Australia and the continuation of the free Gaza, free Palestine campaign!

    yours, Paul Benedek and all at Sydney Socialist Alliance.

  • Fay Waddington
    November 7, 2011 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Michael, your experience, take heart, is another incremental step in bringing justice to Palestinians and shame to Israel and the conga line of suckholes like Gillard who support that dangerous Nation to world peace. Think of the children in Israeli jails and let them give you courage

  • Dr Coral Wynter
    November 7, 2011 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I support you totally. It is a very brave thing you have done. I hope you can come home soon. We are all watching what the Israeli military are doing and this is another exposure, if one is needed, of Israeli acts of terrorism.
    Coral Wynter

    • haskell
      November 7, 2011 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Good on you Michael! Fantastic work. You have done better than I could and you have done it for all of us as well as for the Palestinians.

  • Kathleen McLeod
    November 7, 2011 - 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for crossing an ocean to deliver our compassion and solidarity Michael (even if you were forced to reach an Israeli prison instead of Gaza). Australia is better for brave citizens like you.

  • November 7, 2011 - 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Your courage and that of those who sailed with you sets an example, not only for those who are active for the cause of our beloved Palestine – but indeed an example for humanity as a whole. It teaches present generations that the value of justice is of such global importance, that it deserves the bravery of ordinary citizens from anywhere in the world.

    You literally went out of your way to show that injustice, even if it is happening in a place so far away from your own home, concerns not only those directly suffering from it, but indeed concerns us all.

    Our thoughts are with you as you face imprisonment and interrogation by the brutes of the modern world. You have the support of uncountable people from all over this planet!

  • Mariam Barghouti
    November 7, 2011 - 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks and love goes your way Michael! Thank you for taking a stand, thank you for helping in giving the people in besieged Gaza a voice! You have not acted in anyway wrongfully, it is the Israeli Forces that have done you harm. Nonetheless you are still appreciated. And your efforts will not go to waste! Bless you and stay strong!

    Peace&love fromPalestine

  • Moammar Mashni
    November 7, 2011 - 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to Michael and the other international peace merchants who have bravely sailed to Gaza. The Palestinians need every voice to speak out, every journalist to scribe the inhumanity, every photographer to snap the brutality and every politician to rise and condemn the crimes of Israel.
    When the tide finally turns, those who remained silent will be judged for their inaction and the courageous who did act will never be forgotten.
    From this dispossesd Palestinian living in diaspora – I SAY THANK YOU.

  • Sheree Joseph
    November 7, 2011 - 10:47 pm | Permalink

    No occupation or military can match the stubborn willpower and determination of a compassionate human being.

    There will be few lines dedicated to the flotilla activists in history books. And yet they will change the course of history, even if we are the only ones to realise it.

    I commend Michael for his bravery. We will not be silenced.

    ‘Aturem L’holocaust a Palestina’

  • Anni Tokatlian
    November 7, 2011 - 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Supporting all the courageous and highly ethical activists who acted with you on the flotilla to reiterate the inhumanity of the apartheid regime called Israel and its attempts to eradicate Palestine through a gradual genocide with actions such as the Gaza blockade. The world is not blind and your courage is a further enlightenment on the atrocities.

    Justice must prevail.

  • Joop Hoekstra
    November 8, 2011 - 12:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your efforts. The good people of this earth try to get to a reasonable solution for the conflict. If we all keep working together we must be able to stop the Israeli maffia. Support for them is dwindling. Australia and the Netherlands (my country) are some of the last collaborators. We have no choice but to keep doing the right thing in a decent way and sacrifice a bit while doing that.

  • November 8, 2011 - 12:41 am | Permalink

    The stand you, Michael, and other fabulous Freedom Waves humanitarians have taken to highlight the collective punishment and illegal blockade which Israel perpetrates against the people of Gaza significantly highlights the fact that people will not cease from challenging oppression in solidarity with the oppressed. The waves of freedom will continue to wash over Israeli apartheid until it is swept away.

  • Duncan Shipley-Smith
    November 8, 2011 - 1:07 am | Permalink

    I and my family would like to send a message of love and support for you in this difficult time. Your courage and commitment is an example to all of us and be assured your suffering at the hands of a rogue state, (the misnamed ‘only democracy in the middle east’) will be an important story that will be told again and again by your fellow Australians. This in itself will awaken more people to the injustice of the exceptionalism enjoyed by Israel as it flouts international law while the world looks on. The gradual erosion of Australian complacency, ignorance and indifference to the plight of the people of Palestine will be helped by your actions and the unwavering support for Israel expressed by the major political parties will, as a result, be subject to closer scrutiny. The influence over Australian politics by Zionist lobby groups will gradually be crippled by brave and principled people such as yourself but most importantly, your actions bring hope to a desperate and dispossessed people. For that alone I salute you and wish you a speedy and safe return.

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  • Adam
    November 8, 2011 - 6:36 am | Permalink

    Wether its the FLOTILLA OR OCUUPY or the many other paths THE PEOPLE HAVE CHOSEN, we know NOW that justice and real change comes from GRASS ROOTS.

    The only path to transformtion, real change must come from people like Michael and from everyone who dropped a note on this site.
    It is time Israel is made accountable for its crimes past and present.

    While US imperialism has invaded and violated four countries in four months libya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Isreal is annexing the whole of Jerusalem, suppressing and oppressing the people of Palestine it is at the same time strongly WARning that it will assault, attack Iran.

    The courage of the flotillas and the audacity of the BDS are just the beginning, let us spread this version of the people’s (yes we can) to the 99%

    No terror no torture just truth

  • Rosamine Hayeem
    November 8, 2011 - 7:27 am | Permalink

    Your courage and tenacity do much to highlight the absurdity and brutality of the Israeli regime and the complicity of Australia and the UK in the crimes that Israel carries out daily against the Palestinians. Our thoughts are with you.

  • Stewart Mills
    November 8, 2011 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Michael

    And to all those who have dedicated themselves to bringing about a better future for the people of Palestine and Israel.

    What a tragedy the Australian Government is mute to the continued blockade of Gaza and the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territory.

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  • Pip Hinman
    November 8, 2011 - 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Michael, we salute you for again shining the light on the terrible plight of people of Gaza.
    It’s no surprise, unfortunately, that PM Julia Gillard has remained silent on your illegal imprisonment by Israel. After all, she even condoned Israel’s murderous air stikes on Gaza in 2008-2009. And since becoming PM, she has been a global cheer leader for Israel’s apartheid-like policies towards Palestinians.
    But the Arab Spring has fuelled the desire for real and fundamental change and exposed the hypocrisy of Western “leaders”.
    It has given Palestinians so many reasons for hope.
    Rest assured that we won’t give up until you, the other Freedom Waves activists and the people of Gaza are free.
    Stay strong!

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  • Cathy Peters
    November 8, 2011 - 11:54 pm | Permalink

    As the days that you are in detention extend, you continue to expose the injustice and illegality
    of this detention. You and all those from the Freedom flotilla, are great ambassadors
    and I thank you for your courage and determination. Keep strong Michael – and see you soon
    I hope.

  • Michael Goldstein
    November 9, 2011 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    I endorse the actions of the Free Gaza movement and wish to add my name to those in the above list.
    Michael Goldstein

  • November 9, 2011 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear, dear Michael, we salute you for all that you are doing for humanity with your great big loving, courageous heart. Big hugz m’dear, Vivienne

  • Ahmad bin Abdullah
    November 10, 2011 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    SubhanAllah Mick… yer a good sport and yer doing what all of us shud be doing and that’s riding the waves into Gaza. Yer time in Israeli chains will provide you with grit fer the rest of Eternity as Allah knows what you have done … not just for Gaza, Palestine, and peace, but for humanity itself.
    Masha Allah Michael Coleman

  • Arthur Mckerron
    November 10, 2011 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Well done Michael, you and all the others are an example of courage to all people everywhere who oppose injustice. Good Luck.

  • November 10, 2011 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks Michael for your courage and dedication in standing up for the oppressed people of Gaza who have no voice.
    Wishing you a speedy reunion with family and friends.

  • November 10, 2011 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Julia Gillard should resign so you can have her job.
    We need some decent leaders in this world.

  • George Jereley
    November 10, 2011 - 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Dear Michael,

    Stay strong.
    You are incarcerated because the Israeli Government is afraid. It is afraid of the opinion of the majority of people in the world.. This also includes the people of Israel.
    I admire your commitment and brave actions.
    Israeli Government action is this and other matters are unconscionable.
    Julia Gillard and her Government is weak and continually looks to USA for directions.
    We, the majority of the people are with you and your friends.
    My thoughts are with you.

    George Jereley.

  • Hadi Chammah
    November 11, 2011 - 12:24 am | Permalink


    Hearing Jihan Hafiz’s description of your courageous defiance of the illegal boarding and subsequent kidnapping was inspiring. It is your spirit of standing up to injustice that this world needs more of. I wish I were with you in that cell, it would be my honour.

    In Solidarity,

  • Amanda Atlee
    November 11, 2011 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for your courage and passion in the face of tyranny. Do not let the bastards get you down! You are strong and you have a multitude of support. Our thoughts are with you.

    With the utmost respect


  • Breanna Lepre
    November 11, 2011 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’m only a student from a Sydney High school but thankyou for doing what so many fail to do, make their voice heard for those that cannot speak out about the injustices that occur in this cruel World.

    Breanna Lepre

  • Michael Coleman
    November 14, 2011 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    A heart felt thanks for all the messages of support – I am truly overwhelmed and they are a great source of inspiration to me to continue the struggle for Palestinian human rights to be up held : ]

    I would also like to publicly acknowledge all the hard work of the Free Gaza Australia home team – much love and respect.


  • kerry
    November 14, 2011 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Michael, Thank you for your courage, you represent so many of us who did not have the strength to do what you have done. We note our Government’s lack of support & will remember it next time there is an election. In the meantime, my thoughts and admiration are with you. May the changing winds of Arab Spring bring pressure to release you.

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