Ann Wright, longtime activist and critic of the ongoing siege of Gaza, took part in the Freedom Flotilla that was attacked by Israeli Navy commandos on May 31. A retired US Army colonel and a former high-level diplomat, Wright has served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Afghanistan, which she helped to open after the US invasion of 2001, as well as in several other countries, including Sierra Leone, where after helping to evacuate several thousand people during that country’s civil war she received the State Department’s Award for Heroism in 1997.
Wright’s distinguished career came to a sudden end in 2003 when she publicly resigned from the State Department to protest the invasion of Iraq. Since then, she has campaigned against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for human rights for Palestinians. After working with CodePink to organize several humanitarian missions to Gaza to break the Israeli blockade last year, Wright joined the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, only to see the activists’ humanitarian mission terminated by Israel’s raid. On June 9 she visited The Nation and gave this account of what she and her fellow activists experienced.