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Flotilla passenger on why she's sailing to Palestine
Published Tuesday 28/06/2011 (updated) 30/06/2011 12:34
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Megan Horan, 33 is among the youngest passengers on the US Boat to Gaza
[MaanImages, Mya Guarnieri]

ATHENS, Greece (Ma'an) -- At 33, Megan Horan is one of the younger passengers on the US Boat to Gaza. She admits that she is also a newcomer to the issues surrounding Israel and the Palestinians.

After attending an interfaith conference last summer, soon after the Israeli raid on the flotilla that left nine activists on the Mavi Marmara dead, Horan's interest was peaked by a Palestinian speaker who mentioned the attempt to break the blockade. Ann Wright who spoke of her experience on last year’s US boat, the Challenger 1.

“When I returned to Seattle, I started to really dig,” says Horan, who works in hi-tech.

Because it was important to Horan to get a “balanced” look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she explored many sources on different sides of the issue. Haaretz reporter Amira Hass’ "Drinking the Sea at Gaza" was particularly influential, Horan says, as was the work of an American rabbi, Michael Lerner.

She recalls being “shocked” by what she learned. “I was very pro-Israel, I never questioned Israel. Quite honestly, I didn’t think of Palestine -- which sounds horrible, but it’s true,” she says.

Asked why, Horan responds, “Because I’m American and they’re our ‘friends.’” She explains that she wasn’t raised to be pro-Israel, per se. It was something she absorbed from the American culture.

In the US, "we are taught in school about how the Jews were persecuted but we don’t learn about the Palestinians.”

She also feels that the mainstream media is problematic.

Pointing to her own experiences, Horan says that the majority of Americans are “very blind” and “don’t understand” what’s happening in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Once she began reading about the issues, Horan began to give a critical eye to American foreign policy. “Where are our tax dollars going?” she asks, referring to the $3 billion that the US gives to Israel in the form of annual military aid.

Horan, who maintains that she is still a part of the "mainstream," says that she has gotten some friends interested in the issue.

But, as would be expected whenever one begins to challenge a society’s long-cherished beliefs, she has found herself at the center of debates about Israel.

Since deciding to join the second Freedom Flotilla, Horan says, “I’ve had a lot of people ask me, ‘Don’t you think Israel has a right to exist?’”

Her answer: “Absolutely! But within their own borders -- they don’t have a right to control the air space, the sea, and the land" of the occupied territories.

Despite her commitment to breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, “I would not be considered a bleeding-heart liberal,” says Horan, the youngest of 10 children, with a laugh.

She also shies away from the label of Democrat or Republican: “It depends on who is running. At times, I lean more Republican,” she says. “I think that’s dangerous to identify yourself with one party.”

Horan explains that her parents, who are Catholic, strongly encouraged her brothers and sisters to be free thinkers. She brings this approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict too.

“We have to stop identifying ourselves as a nationality,” she says, adding that for her, the flotilla is “not a nation thing.”

“It’s a human thing.”
1 ) John / USA
28/06/2011 21:56
Thank you for being a wonderful human being!

2 ) izzy / usa
28/06/2011 23:16
"But within their own borders "
i dont get it.. israel pre 1967 was attacked. the land taken was land they qchieved through military gain. Majority of countries that exist toda was formed with this very concept.

3 ) Anna / USA
28/06/2011 23:28

“It’s a VERY FOOLISH thing”, to put your young naive self between
a rock (Israeli commandos) and a hard place (IHH-like "activists"),
and Ms Horan may be joining Ms Corrie (crushed by bulldozer in Gaza)
very soon, if she too is NOT very careful about being used as a pawn !!!!

4 ) Travis / USA
29/06/2011 02:45
Thank you Megan Horan! The more attention that can be brought to this issue the better.

5 ) Malone / Hfx
29/06/2011 03:35
Another "useful idiot".

6 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
29/06/2011 03:42
I hope Ma'an News interviews her again after this flotilla trip is over [BTW, When in the hell are they really going ??? ... All this "pre-launch" media coverage is probably going to last longer than the flotilla voyage itself. Attention: (Captain ?) Ann Wright (if you're on board the U.S. Audacity of Hope): GO ALREADY !!!.] Although she says she is a newcomer to the Israelite-Palestinian conflict and has read current books about it, she seems to be very open-minded. Good personal report.

7 ) Julie / USA
29/06/2011 04:34
#3 - thank you Anna!!!! for finally admitting that israel MURDERED Rachel and how they MURDER other innocent civilians, it's about time the zionazis admit the TRUTH of their CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY!!!! way to go Anna, blatantly threatening to KILL!! wow, you take the cake on THREAT TO LIFE!!!! just like all the other zionazi blood-bathing terrorists!!

8 ) Impidel / USA
29/06/2011 05:35
She was an innocent, not even a Democrat! and she just happened with no knowledge to attend an "interfaith" conference where Ann Wright was speaking. She just happened to do that. And she "dug" to get a balanced view, so she read -Amira Haas! That is balance! Did Miss Innocent learn anything else? She learned nationalities are not important (but I suspect she will call the US embassy if arrested). So no, I don't consider her a bleeding heart, I consider her to be a liar.

9 ) Impidel / USA
29/06/2011 06:22
To continue: Horan must be aware who runs the Gaza strip and they are not "interfaith". She claims to support Israel's right to exist but wants to open a corridor to those who would destroy Israel. She claims that in the US no one is taught about the Palestinians when standard high school history books mention them with sympathy. She claims to be part of the mainstream - when she is heading to an entity that the US considers terrorist. Perhaps she is naive but it would seem deliberately so.

10 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
29/06/2011 08:19
Once you start to "dig", it does indeed transform your perception of the situation. One good way to learn more is to visit Israel and Palestine, for example with Fred Schlomka's Green Olive Tours. Another way is to read. One recommended book : "Occupied Voices" by Wendy Pearlman (PhD Harvard University).

11 ) Paulette Schroeder / U.S. A
29/06/2011 08:26
Thanks Megan. Working in the West Bank, one needs to be here about 5 minutes to see the horrible injustices of Israel toward the Palestinians. Thanks for not identifying with nationality but with the fact we are all human. I shall be praying and hoping for you and all the people on the flotilla. Your sense of personal responsibility toward helping this world become more human is commendable.

12 ) Matthew / USA
29/06/2011 08:39
Great that some of the passengers on the flotilla are getting coverage. The international campaign to end Israeli apartheid has really been gaining ground, between the flotilla and international boycott actions, and so I hope that activists like this one will bring international pressure force Israel to change its policies towards the Palestinians and Arab Israelis.

13 ) Azam / USA
29/06/2011 10:01
@izzy, after WWI Westerners fixed the map, divided the countries among themselves, & said even after war the borders shall NOT change. You can check it out in the International Laws/war Laws & The UN & all these kind of garbage.
Look at the world's map & let me which country expanded or shrunk because of war. Some countries gained "independence" from the mapped countries, but non by occupying. zionist entity, israel, is the only military in the world since WWI that broke this rule.

14 ) To Izzy / US
29/06/2011 16:26
Izzy, the problem with your logic is that in taking territory you also take people. Unless you are advocating ethic cleansing then you have to recognize that your idea of Israel keeping all of the territory it took in 1967 guarantees that Israel will cease to exist in its current form due to it having an Palestinian (not Jewish majority) after along period of Apartheid. So Israel can keep the territory but it won't remain Israel if it does... but perhaps that isn't a bad thing.

15 ) joe johns / U S A
29/06/2011 18:38
the truce in the 1967 war stipulated that all parties must return to their original borders. isreal ,egypt,jordon,syria all signed. Isreal is the only country that did not return to their borders. they suckered the world again. HOW MANEY PEOPLE MUST DIE BECAUSE ONE COUNTRY HAS NO SHAME???????????????

16 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
29/06/2011 19:46
@ 13) Azzam / USA, You are right about how the West divided up European territories and fixed borders after WW I and nations not expanding on land they temporarily gained during WW II (and since then). Those of us in Israel (and those who agree with us elsewhere) who strongly believe in holding on to West Bank land do so for completely different reasons based on our Torah. We who believe so do not necessarily equate post-war results of the non-Jewish world's wars with what WE do in OUR wars.

17 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
29/06/2011 20:02
Again, @ 13) Azam / USA, If we DID always think according to what is "logical" or "right," (according to people who agree with you) we'd never have conquered the Canaanites and expelled them from Canaan 3300-plus years ago in the first place. After all, it WAS "their" land in the beginning, RIGHT ??? ... @ 14) To Izzy / US, You're absolutely right in my view. That's why ultra-nationalists like me believe the best place for Palestinians is in Jordan which really IS the Palestinian nation.

18 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
29/06/2011 20:16
@ Izzy / USA, Thank you for your support of us but, in fairness, I ALSO have to be fair. We were NOT physically attacked first in 1967. We DID attack first (Egypt) but that's because we had clearly told then-Egyptian President Nasser that any blockade of the Straits of Tiran we would consider an act of war (even despite the fact that probably way back then only a relatively small amount of sea trade passed through it to us). Nasser refused to re-open it. So we bombed Egyptian air fields.

19 ) Mel / Gaza
29/06/2011 22:04
We hope you'll make it to Gaza! Good Luck and hopefully we'll see you here soon!

20 ) liz Benard / USA
29/06/2011 23:05
What an incredible young human being- to have independently researched a world situtation which we Americans seem blind to---

Free Palestine NOW!

21 ) Omar / USA
29/06/2011 23:32
Bravo Megan! she did the right thing. research the Palestinians issue and objectively look at how Israel was created by a band of Zionist terrorists. Zionism is a cancer on humanity and the world is starting to see.

22 ) Erin Leonard / USA
29/06/2011 23:57
Megan is my sister.
@Anna-- Peace be with you too.
@Impidel--my sister is really non political. Truly. This piece is pretty dead on. Except I wouldn't say my mother was still a Catholic, but she is certainly embraces and accepts many religions. Hence, Megan finding herself at an inter-faith conference...vacation with our mother. And the conference was led by Rabbi Lerner. This is dead on true. Most likely you consider my sister a liar, because to believe what she is saying, makes U 1.

23 ) cory / USA
30/06/2011 00:32
Best of luck Megan, I hope you find what your looking for.

24 ) Wayne / USA
30/06/2011 04:26
Just as the American-Indians suffered terribly under European-American settlement so now the Palestinians suffer and unfortunately some turn to violence (which I do not condone) just as American-Indian tribes once did. Peace and justice must be offered to the oppressed and support financially to the oppressor should be stopped just as the world did with South Africa to end Apartheid. The Palestinians are Semitic brothers to the Jews and Americans should stand up bravely against those who would f

25 ) Wayne / USA
30/06/2011 04:27
I ask Americans to consider the needs of the Palestinian Christians and Palestinian Muslims who suffer from occupation, humiliation, and violence on a daily basis by Israel. I ask you to please stand up for peace and reconciliation in the face of strong opposition from Fundamentalist Christian groups who support Israel wholeheartedly at all costs based on their erroneous “violence endorsing anti-Arab” belief in end-time prophecy, and from very biased and powerful pro-Israel lobbyist groups such

26 ) Christer / Sweden
30/06/2011 09:20
Megan, you are a light in the american darkness. (I know you are not alone.) Kudos to you and I wish you good luck!
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