Piles. Of. Things. Sit everywhere in Paidraig’s West Ravenswood abode. He has high hopes for the flotilla that just set out for Gaza. “One of them’s from Ireland—The Rachel Corrie!” He enthuses. The ship is named for the 23-year old American activist killed by an Israel Defense Forces bulldozer while attempting to level the home of a Palestinian man in 2003. “They thought it got sabotaged, but it’s under way. Under sail, as they say. I have this video—the live stream. . .” The ship was one of six carrying humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, a flotilla attacked on May 31, a few days after we spoke, resulting in nine deaths.
The lanky activist and computer programmer clicks off the video and shuffles into a back room. “I’m not doin’ so good,” he calls out, referring to a recent surgery that’s left his knee in poor condition.
Let me just get my pretzels, here.
How involved in Palestinian/Israeli issues are you?
Me? Much as I can. I grew up in a super Jewish neighborhood. Some of my closest friends were not Irish—they all wanted to drink and fight. I’m only half Irish I guess, because it just didn’t appeal to me. You know what I mean? So I had more Jewish friends than Irish friends when I was growing up.
Being half French, I’m really more of a blend.