Henning Mankell, the Swedish author of the highly respected Kurt Wallander series, was aboard the flotilla attempting to break the three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel. Israeli forces attacked the flotilla, killing at least nine people, and detaining the rest. Henning Mankell was among these protesters and supporters on the flotilla and, after being detained, was offered the choice of being deported or arrested. He took the former and was put on a plane back to Europe this morning.
Mankell has been deeply critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, which was one of the reasons he took part in the flotilla. He saw a lot of this treatment first hand after attending a Palestinian literary festival in May of 2009, writing about it afterward in a piece called Stopped by Apartheid, and, admirably, has sought to maintain his involvement after his direct encounter.
His reflections and reporting on the recent incident will, I have no doubt, be extremely interesting.