Remembering Gale Courey Toensing

gale during interview 2011 (31K)

Gale Courey Toensing, former Vice-Chairperson of the Middle East Crisis Committee, passed away in February 2018. She was selflessly dedicated to the Palestinian people. As a professional jounalist she worked at the Waterbury-Republican and was an award winning journalist at Indian Country Today. She also had a popular blog "Corner Report", ostensibly about the northwest corner of CT, but mostly about Palestine. She was for a time a member of a Board of Education and worked as an EMT volunteer. She is survived by her husband Craig; her daughter Liz and and her son Seth.

Her first trip to Palestine was in 2001 along with the Christian Peacemaker Team. In 2002 she returned as she said "just in time for the Israeli re-invasion" of the West Bank.

She was especially affected by the assassination of peace activist Shaden Abu-Hijleh and bought a memorial ad for her in the Hartford Courant. It was "controversial" among some.

She was interviewed by Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui (a professor at Wesleyan University) in 2007 on the radio program "Indigenous Politics".

In 2011 she volunteered to be part of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, the "Audacity of Hope", an attempt to break the Gaza siege. It took a lot of guts. In the 2010 attempt called the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla", Israeli commandos attacked the vessel and killed 10. (Nine activists were killed immediately, one died months later). Gale did this video interview shortly before joining the boat. She flew to Greece where the boat was being readied. On board were other luminaries like the authors Alice Walker and Henning Mankell, Medea Benjamin, former diplomat Ann Wright and others. Because of Israeli/U.S. pressure the boat was never given permission to leave Greece. It made a run for it, but was turned back by the Greek navy. In this interview with Dr. Kauanui, Gale talks abut her experiences.

Our Secretary LouAnn Villani dedicated our last event "Palestinian Resilience" to Gale with these words:

Recently we also lost our dear friend and supporter Gale Courey Toensing . Many of you may not have known Gale, but she was also a long time MECC member and our Vice-President for many years. A staunch supporter of Palestinian human rights, she traveled to the West Bank, and refugee camps in Lebanon. She bravely took part in the last attempt to put together a flotilla to Gaza, getting all the way to Greece before the boat was sabotaged. She generously opened her home to the children of the Al-Rowaad theater when they toured Ct. When I think of resilience, I think of those children and how happy they were just being children, enjoying the fresh air and green country side of Gale’s backyard. To us at MECC, she was our rock & inspiration. Our gatherings at her home revived us each time, making it possible for us to move forward with our work. In the words of her husband,” a fitting tribute to Gale would be to continue your efforts regarding the Middle East”. Gale, we will miss you, and we will continue. Tonight, we dedicate this event to her.

A message from Abdelfattah Abusrour, General Director of the Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society in Aida Camp

Thank you for the follow up on this Mazin and I am deeply sad to hear about the passing away of our dear friend Gale. My deepest condolences to you Craig and to your son and daughter for your loss. I hope to see you someday soon in Palestine
With love and prayers
Abdelfattah and Alrowwad team
Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem

Here colleagues at Indian Country Today published this piece about her. An excerpt "Toensing was nothing short of a powerhouse,” writes Napolitano. “She regularly published more than 100 articles per year on a variety of subjects where, with each report, she demonstrated mastery of the complexities of issues in Indian country.”

The writer includes a poem Gale wrote about her mother in 1997.

This is a tribute to Gale published on the site "Defying Silence" by Gulamhussein Abba. An excerpt:

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