A woman who was on the aid flotilla attacked by Israeli soldiers last May plans to be on board a new flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip this spring.
Paveen Yaqub – a former pupil of the former Greenhead High School – was on the Mavi Marmara ship when Israeli troops boarded it and shot dead nine Turkish nationals.
Many others were injured, including one Turkish man who remains in a coma more than seven months later.
Paveen, who has given up her local government job to become a full-time humanitarian activist, said she definitely wanted to participate in a new sea-borne mission to Gaza. The tiny Palestinian enclave, which is home to more than 1.6 million people, has been cut off by Israel and Egypt since 2007.
Ms Yaqub said its inhabitants were dying because of shortages of essential supplies.
She said the bloodshed that occurred on last year’s flotilla would not deter her.
“I often get asked if I feel frightened,” she said.
“Right now I’m not thinking about that because it’s easy to be controlled by fear.
“When you’ve seen the level of criminal brutality that I’ve seen, against which there was no protection, you’d be crazy not to feel fear.
“But the passion I have for wanting to do the right thing is more powerful than that.
“My friend and eight other people were killed and their deaths must not be in vain.
“I have a strong faith and I believe the way in which I will die has already been written.”
Ms Yaqub still has many relatives in Keighley. She lives in Holmfirth but will soon move to Manchester.
In autumn of last year she spent three weeks in Turkey, during which time she saw the family of Furkan Dogan.
He was an 18-year-old American-Turkish national who was shot dead by the Israeli soldiers as he filmed their assault.
Describing the visit to his relatives she said: “It was really meaningful and obviously very poignant.
“I met his parents and looked at lots of photographs of Furkan from when he was a child.
“I got to know more about what he’d been like.
“He was sweet and shy and very much into serving humanitarian causes.”
She also spent time with the family of a man who is still in a coma after being shot in the head on board the Mavi Marmara.
She said she had come across Suleyman Ugur shortly after he was critically injured and did not want his ongoing plight to be forgotten.
She added that in December she went to Istanbul for an event commemorating those who died last May.
She said the Mavi Marmara itself was present, along with aid activists from all over the world.