22 months, normally this amount of time would sound like an eternity to me. To make me wait for 22 months for just about anything would be untenable to a high energy, if not hyper active guy like me. But I’ve come to realize it is all about context. Over the last couple of months, as preparations for the 2018 Golden Globe Race Around the World heat up, I’m starting to take a different view. How quickly the days pass and critical dates approach! Events have been moving at such a pace that keeping my nose above the waves has become a struggle and a constant challenge.
The task of entering a race like this, while maintaining a full time job and personal obligations, is daunting. Researching boats, arrange schedules, talk to boat yards about expensive refits, all this before we even get to any publicity events, fund raising, and attracting media attention to the underlying goal. This goal, it should be stated clearly, is twofold. Firstly, I’m hoping to raise enough money to replace the several sailing dinghy’s that were gifted to kids of Gaza, and subsequently destroyed by the Israeli Air force. Taking one of the few things of pleasure from the beleaguered population, for no other reason than to break their spirit and the need to bully someone is unacceptable. I will not stand idly by, neither should you. Secondly, to raise awareness to the fact that Gazan sailors are prohibited from competing in International sailing events, while the Israelis freely send their own teams to compete. Their fear of being dominated on the International Race Circuit is very real and not imagined, but it’s still no excuse to bar from competition the people’s whose land they occupy.
This being the first of my blog entries, I hope to keep you abreast of the progress of this ambitious undertaking. This is far from a team of One; you are all part of Team Palestine. Not idle members either! There is a part for all of us to play in this epic project! There is already a group of people emerging that have contributed their time, skills, and support. Alaa Batayneh grabbed the reins of the technology side of the project. With masterful skills and that rare ability to make seemingly impossible tasks come off as simple, my gratitude knows no bounds for his help. My sister Soraya Amra has been there for me at every turn of the way. She has shown a zeal for the project (which surprised me!) and has pretty much become the team manager. I would be lost without them. Without friends and family like this, the project would have been stillborn, before it ever began.
This weekend I’ll kick off the fund drive at the Al-Bireh Convention in Chicago. Al-Bireh is the town my family hails from in Palestine. I’m hoping that the news of the race will be warmly received. I can’t wait to fill you in on the outcome of this first effort! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to send me your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them all. Whether the questions are about sailing, Palestine, the race specifics, the race boat or whatever tickles your fancy. I’m not shy, and neither should you be!
Until next time my friends,