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‘Flotilla’ was flying: Our horse at Meydan

Israel/Palestine
on 45 Comments

In the Godolphin Mile, Flotilla, no. 9, came from the back of the pack to finish a hard charging third, falling short only a length.  She has a white shadow roll and is ridden by French jockey, Christoph Lemaire who is wearing a blue jersey with white stars and a blue and white cap.

Thoroughbred horse racing has always been closely bound with the imagination.  Seabiscuit, a horse with humble roots who became a champion, represented hope to millions of racing fans suffering the economic hardships of the Great Depression.  In the 70s, the ill-fated filly Ruffian was a symbol to many who identified with the feminist movement.  She seemed to embody the idea that females could compete on an equal basis with their male counterparts.  Just this weekend, the three-year-old colt California Chrome reminded us that sometimes from humble beginnings great things come.

The four-year-filly, Flotilla, is such an iconic horse.  To me she represents the aspirations of the Palestinian solidarity movement and the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activism. They both are flying under the radar, have had some recent setbacks, but are poised for great success.

Flotilla is owned by Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani,  a member of the Qatari ruling family.  Just ten days before Flotilla’s stunning victory in the Breeders Cup, the then ruler of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, became the first head of state ever to visit Gaza.  Qatar, despite its cordial relationships with the United States, is a supporter of Hamas and plays host to Khalid Mashal, the exiled head of the Hamas political bureau.

It seems very likely that the filly was named after the flotilla movement, in which a series of boats, some successful, attempted to protest the siege on Gaza by challenging the Israeli naval blockade.  On May 31, 2010, the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara was part of one such attempt to enter Gaza by sea, but tragically the Israeli Navy boarded the ship in international waters and killed nine of the activists on board.  One of those killed was Furkan Dogan, an American citizen.

I first saw Flotilla in the 2012 Breeders Cup and cheered wildly as she unleashed a furious come from behind run to win the Juvenile Fillies race going away.  She rewarded her supporters handsomely at the betting windows and for the few of us who are bettors  and activists her victory was doubly sweet.

Horse racing, of course, is not all in the imagination and some of the realities do not always measure up to the pristine storyline the player may imagine for his champion steed.  The Khalifas, I imagine, are a far cry from what believers in liberal democracy would want in those who govern.  And the whole endeavor of racing horses, especially the use of illegal drugs, has generated much bad publicity for an industry which badly needs meaningful reform.

Still, horse racing, when the horses are treated with the respect these beautiful animals deserve, can be a thing of beauty.  And the pleasure they give us is immense.

Last year was not a good one for the filly Flotilla.  After a promising victory at Longchamp, she ran poorly in her only two other appearances at her home base in France.  This poor performance and few races is a sign that the horse had injuries that compromised her campaign.

But this season will be different.  The filly had shown signs of returning to her 2012 championship form in two prep races at Meydan racecourse in Dubai before she ran in the Godolphin Mile on March 29.  It was the day of the Dubai World Championship races, which are the richest races of the year anywhere, and is capped by a 5 million dollar turf race and the 10 million dollar dirt championship.  Some of the best race horses in the world ran that day.

Flotilla appeared in one of the earlier less prestigious races with a purse of only 2 million dollars!  The competition was stiff.   She was ignored by the bettors, going off at 9 to 1.

In the stretch she unleashed the kind of electrifying stretch run which won her a Breeders Cup Championship two years ago.  Just failing to win the race by one length, Flotilla gave knowledgeable racegoers a hint of her bright future by easily passing the two horses who beat her shortly after crossing the finish line.  Even the announcers took note of how full of run she was at the finish and how bright her future looks to be.

She finished only a length and a nose behind the winner.  That was a fantastic performance.  A indication that Mikel Delzangles [the trainer] and Christoph Lemaire can look forward to some pretty big races to be tackled in Europe this year.

Flotilla’s fantastic finish and post finish line run, plus  more of the announcer’s analysis of her performance.  The post race analysis starts at 5 min 50 sec.

Hopefully, Flotilla will be flying in some big races in the upcoming European racing season and maybe she will even return to the Breeders Cup Championships in the U.S. in the fall.

Flotilla is our horse and I predict she, like our movement, will win some startling victories in the not too distant future.

Ira Glunts
About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

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45 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    May 5, 2014, 11:02 am

    People who Google “Flotilla” may learn a little something?

  2. Shuki
    Shuki
    May 5, 2014, 11:25 am

    Yes, we can only hope with continued struggle and perseverance that Israel will become as progressive as Qatar and treat homosexuals, minorities and migrants as well as his honor does.

    • amigo
      amigo
      May 5, 2014, 12:01 pm

      “Yes, we can only hope with continued struggle and perseverance that Israel will become as progressive as Qatar and treat homosexuals, minorities and migrants as well as his honor does.”shuki

      “Lately there has been suggestion, after suggestion, after suggestion meant to send messages to the Arab public – ‘this is not yours, this is not your country,’ and there are even those who say ‘we will soon transfer you to a Palestinian state.’ The Arab citizens are constantly reminded that they do not belong, and yet we demand loyalty from them,” Meridor added.

      The cabinet voted Sunday by a majority in favor of the amendment, which was submitted by Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman. But ministers had been divided on the issue since it was first raised.

      The amendment is one of the promises Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s ultra-nationalist party Yisrael Beitenu in the coalition agreements. Since coming into government Yisrael Beitenu has advanced a long list of “loyalty” laws, which many consider to be discriminatory against Israel’s non-Jewish citizens”Merridor

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-should-treat-its-minorities-the-way-we-always-wanted-to-be-treated-1.318403

      Well , it certainly would be a place to start from but I doubt Apartheid Israel is capable of being anything but what it is?. A racist oppressive and supremacist colonialist human rights abuser.

      Try comparing yourself to a real Democratic society .See how that works for you.Or are you happy to keep company with rogue regimes.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        May 5, 2014, 12:33 pm

        Isn’t it sad that they have to point fingers, or comparing themselves with, non democratic (Islamic) nations to make themselves look a weeee bit better? The usual “we deserve a medal, we are the best out of the worst” narrative from a brutal occupier with documented crimes a mile and a half long!

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 6, 2014, 1:54 pm

        “… or comparing themselves with, non democratic (Islamic) nations”

        True that conditions for migrant workers in Qatar could be much better and abuses exist, especially for the Nepalese labourers working on the Mondial sites but this is because Qatari officials haven’t been on the ball monitoring working conditions but things are changing for the better now. But foreigners that make up over 93% of the country’s population of 2 MM are living under generally good conditions and surely better than those under which Palestinians and Africans are living under in Israel, especially in Israel’s Haredi segregated towns, roads, busses and so on.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      May 5, 2014, 12:03 pm

      Oh Israel is” progressive” all right, maybe His Honor learned a thing or two from the only democracy in the Middle East. Qatar does not have a good record for gay rights, but hey, sometimes the hypocrisy in human rights violations is obvious when it comes to Israel, it has been found to be guilty of human trafficking, organ trafficking,
      and abusing migrant workers, by the UN and it’s agencies.
      Minorities
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-new-israeli-apartheid-poll-reveals-widespread-jewish-support-for-policy-of-discrimination-against-arab-minority-8223548.html

      As for migrants:
      http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2014/01/plight-african-migrants-israel-201411081017590510.html

      Now back to the horse story….

      • amigo
        amigo
        May 5, 2014, 12:30 pm

        “Now back to the horse story….” Kay 24

        Yes indeed, now we have dealt with “The Ass”.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        May 5, 2014, 1:05 pm

        The only way to deal with the hasburros is to link the truth, easily found over the internet. There is plenty of information out there, to make their fairy tales look lame.

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 6, 2014, 2:51 pm

        About information on “his honor’s” country making Israeli fairy tales lame, some numbers and comparisons in link below on Qatar’s innovations in the field of health care development in comparison to Brazil, England, India, South Africa, Spain and the US as compiled by the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College, London.

        BTW, of Qatar having the highest income per capita in the world, only 50% of its GDP is generated by the gas and oil. Looks like they’re doing something right.

        http://www.gdhi-im.com/#qatar

    • eljay
      eljay
      May 5, 2014, 1:05 pm

      >> Yes, we can only hope with continued struggle and perseverance that Israel will become as progressive as Qatar and treat homosexuals, minorities and migrants as well as his honor does.

      Once again, a Zio-supremacist looks to acts of injustice and immorality elsewhere to justify his supremacist state’s past and on-going acts of injustice and immorality.

      The mantra, as usual, is “Why strive to be as good as the best when you can simply be less bad than the worst?”

    • talknic
      talknic
      May 5, 2014, 1:45 pm

      @ Shuki “..we can only hope with continued struggle and perseverance that Israel will become as progressive as Qatar…”

      Is that the same Qatar that hosts the largest American military base of any Arab state?

      BTW Qatar’s treatment of homosexuals, minorities and migrants doesn’t seem to worry Israel’s staunchest veto wielding apologist state.

    • talknic
      talknic
      May 5, 2014, 1:50 pm

      After the first post
      Shuki deflects
      Beating the other apologists by a long shot

  3. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    May 5, 2014, 12:36 pm

    ” To me she represents the aspirations of the Palestinian solidarity movement..”

    To me she represents a lot of horseshit.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      May 5, 2014, 12:56 pm

      “To me she represents a lot of horseshit.”

      That’s funny. To me, that’s what Zionism is, represents and is motivated by: horseshit.

    • just
      just
      May 5, 2014, 1:04 pm

      And you are uniquely capable of judging that excrement, Jackdaw. Well done!

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        May 5, 2014, 1:06 pm

        Lol good response. Nice. :))

    • amigo
      amigo
      May 5, 2014, 2:23 pm

      Such an apt moniker for a zionist!!!.

      “noted for its loquacity and thievish propensities”

      “The small, crow-like jackdaw has an unusual fondness for visually intriguing things and things it has never seen before, from shiny stones to crinkly candy wrappers. Its curiosity, however, has long gotten it into trouble, so much so that “noted for its loquacity and thievish propensities” once appeared under the definition of jackdaw in the Oxford English Dictionary.”

      http://www.sciencefriday.com/blogs/08/20/2012/the-fabled-jackdaw.html?audience=2&series=2

    • talknic
      talknic
      May 5, 2014, 10:43 pm

      After the first post
      Shuki deflects
      Beating the other apologists by a long shot
      While Jackdaw brings up the rear end

  4. just
    just
    May 5, 2014, 1:04 pm

    Ira– many thanks for this. An awesome and exciting exhibition of heart and come- from- behind grit and strength! Go Flotilla!

    1S1P1V!

  5. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    May 5, 2014, 2:49 pm

    what a joke to be talking up the owners of Qatar to denigrate Israel. Normally its called scraping the bottom of the barrel. But I am certain the people here have a much different reality to base there bigotry upon.
    And I can just imagine what the animal rights activists would have to say about horse racing in general.

    And then imagine if the horse were israeli owned, everyone here would be clamouring for bds while kissing the butts of so-called ‘great’ sheiks who love the Palestinian people so well.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      May 5, 2014, 3:18 pm

      “what a joke to be talking up the owners of Qatar to denigrate Israel.”

      LOL. Well, say what you will about the Qataris and their ruling family but at least their state isn’t based on the theft of a country by a horde of invading Europeans who were alien to the land, like the Israelis.

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 6, 2014, 9:07 am

        Woody, lolling aside, those berating Qatar are behind in the news, almost 1 year behind. There’s a new Emir, a new Prime Minister and many other new faces running Qatar and they all promise major improvements on human rights issues.

        The problem with the old Qatar was it had gotten too close to the “Brothers” and had been funding rebellions in other Arab states accordingly. The new Emir is already distancing himself and Qatar from the Brothers by opening a second all-news Arabic satellite network out of London to be run by Azmi Bishara having as its main vocation to act as a counterweight to the al-Jazeera that’s staffed wall-to-wall with Brothers and whose viewership is down by 5 million since it started taking sides in the so-called Arab springs.

        Other than its wrong calls on Libya and Syria, Americans could remember the former Emir’s contribution of $100 million to rebuild some of the damage caused by Katrina. After the downfall of Mubarak and the Saudis having flatly turned down the bankrupt Egypt’s call for cash, Qatar rushed in with a $4billion loan. After Israel had destroyed most villages in Lebanon’s south in 2006, Qatar rushed in with a $400 million grant to help rebuild. And no other country has pumped money into Gaza as much as Qatar since it was blacklisted by the Arab states in 2007. It was the only Arab state that sent help to Gaza after Cast Lead. Naming the horse “Flotilla” is part of what Qatar is doing for Gaza. Qatar is hosting a meeting between Abbas and Meshaal in Doha today.

      • just
        just
        May 6, 2014, 9:18 am

        Thanks for that Walid.

        Facts. So refreshing.

      • just
        just
        May 6, 2014, 11:20 am

        Qatar also provided Gaza with fuel during the storm/flood/freezing of Dec. 2013………..

    • eljay
      eljay
      May 5, 2014, 3:23 pm

      >> what a joke to be talking up the owners of Qatar to denigrate Israel. Normally its called scraping the bottom of the barrel.

      The article appears to be talking up a horse as an analogue (I think that’s the correct word) for “the aspirations of the Palestinian solidarity movement and the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activism.”

      “Scraping the bottom of the barrel” is what Zio-supremacists do when they point to acts of injustice and immorality committed by others (Saudi Arabia, Mali and African “hell-holes”) to justify their and their supremacist state’s past and on-going acts of injustice and immorality.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        May 5, 2014, 4:31 pm

        elj & tanaka
        “at least…” ?
        still scraping the bottom of the barrel and defending the owners of qatar. typical
        short-sighted and bigoted thinking

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 5, 2014, 5:46 pm

        >> still … defending the owners of qatar.

        Are you suggesting that Qatar is owned by a horse named Flotilla?

        If ‘yes’, I guess anything’s possible, seeing as how “Jewish State” is owned by an ass named Bibi.

        If ‘no’, please quote the section of my post (link) in which I “defend the owners of qatar”.

    • talknic
      talknic
      May 5, 2014, 10:53 pm

      After the first post
      Shuki deflects
      Beating the other apologists by a long shot
      While Jackdaw brings up the rear end
      followed by DaBakr riding strawman

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        May 5, 2014, 11:15 pm

        Yes, thanks to Phil Weiss. THIS is what MW has become.

        A troll festival for loser, Zionist keyboard warriors.

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 6, 2014, 2:58 pm

        Speaking of Phil, why not ask him about his impressions on Qatar; he was invited there a couple of years or so ago.

    • talknic
      talknic
      May 5, 2014, 11:12 pm

      DaBakr “And I can just imagine what the animal rights activists would have to say about horse racing in general “

      Uh huh. Maybe things like …

      “Horse racing, of course, is not all in the imagination and some of the realities do not always measure up to the pristine storyline the player may imagine for his champion steed. The Khalifas, I imagine, are a far cry from what believers in liberal democracy would want in those who govern. And the whole endeavor of racing horses, especially the use of illegal drugs, has generated much bad publicity for an industry which badly needs meaningful reform.”

      Meanwhile, competitiveness and running are as natural to horses as lying and duplicity are to Israel’s apologists

  6. Donald
    Donald
    May 5, 2014, 3:05 pm

    “The Khalifas, I imagine, are a far cry from what believers in liberal democracy would want in those who govern. And the whole endeavor of racing horses, especially the use of illegal drugs, has generated much bad publicity for an industry which badly needs meaningful reform.”

    So what exactly was the point of this bizarre piece?

    • just
      just
      May 5, 2014, 3:42 pm

      For me, after watching and reading, it’s about hope and strength and beauty and endurance and grace. Think allegorically. Think Flotilla.

      • Donald
        Donald
        May 5, 2014, 5:35 pm

        “Think allegorically.”

        On human rights issues I’d rather think literally. Qatar has a crappy human rights record. I don’t give a damn about some member of the ruling family of Qatar having a horse named after the flotilla, unless he’s doing something about Qatar’s own human rights violations.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 5, 2014, 5:57 pm

        >> Donald: On human rights issues I’d rather think literally. Qatar has a crappy human rights record. I don’t give a damn about some member of the ruling family of Qatar having a horse named after the flotilla, unless he’s doing something about Qatar’s own human rights violations.

        Well said, and I agree.

      • tree
        tree
        May 5, 2014, 7:03 pm

        Having followed Ruffian in my youth, and then devastated by her death, I understand what just is staying. The story is not about “some member of the ruling family of Qatar having a horse”, anymore than the story of Ruffian was about her actual owners. Its about the horse itself, and what she is seen as standing for in the minds of the public. In the allegorical sense the story and the horse are about an idea and the “owners” in this sense are those who root for her.

        Maybe allegories are just too “bizarre” for you to get?

      • Donald
        Donald
        May 5, 2014, 10:46 pm

        Allegories belong in the realm of religion. I never really cared for it there either–“Pilgrim’s Progress” is rather a bore. And yeah, I’d much rather people deal with facts, rather than symbols, especially rather dubious symbols like a horse owned by a member of the Qatar elite. If this horse somehow makes a tangible difference in the plight of the Palestinians, great. I think it unlikely. Otherwise, when one points to one owned by a member of the ruling family of Qatar called “flotilla”, the question that leaps to my mind is what he is doing about the plight of migrant workers in Qatar. Maybe he has named a foal in their honor.

        Basically, what bothers my literal head is something Chomsky wrote–it’s hardly surprising to learn that the Soviet government used to condemn the crimes of Southern segregationists or of South Africa or that the US apparatchiks would write about the crimes of the communists. But who cares what people like that think? So Qatar supports Hamas and this horse is named after the flotilla. Same thing. It’s what the hasbarists do, just in the other direction.

        Eljay–thanks.

      • Light
        Light
        May 6, 2014, 12:33 am

        Thank you Donald for your thoughtful analysis. I agree completely. This article is bizarre and it really doesn’t belong on Mondoweiss.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        May 5, 2014, 10:33 pm

        He is doing the same as what Bibi and his government does, when it comes to halting human rights violations against Palestinian farmers and civilians, by settler terrorists – absolutely NOTHING.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        May 6, 2014, 12:36 am

        I’m with Donald on this. A horse called “Flotilla” runs in a horse race. Whoop-de-doo. That’ll bring justice for the Palestinians.

        “Seabiscuit, .. represented hope to millions of racing fans suffering the economic hardships of the Great Depression. ”

        Gave them jobs? Paid the rent? No. Just “hope”.

      • American
        American
        May 6, 2014, 9:02 am

        Throughbreds run on’ heart and legs’—is the saying.
        So I think the story is appropiate.
        A quarter horse is faster than a throughbred for a quarter of mile (hence the name ‘quarter horse’) but a throughtbred has ‘staying power’ and will outrun the quarter horse in a mile race.
        Think of the Palestine as the throughbreds in I/P.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        May 6, 2014, 9:33 am

        Hope for people under occupation, blockaded, attacked by terrorist settlers, homes demolished, life through various check points and being killed by brutal state forces? I am sure they will love to have at least that, to get them through the endless nightmare.

    • talknic
      talknic
      May 6, 2014, 1:09 am

      To the detractors… the article is quite clear that the story is a simple analogy

      Thoroughbred horse racing has always been closely bound with the imagination . Seabiscuit … represented hope to millions of racing fans suffering the economic hardships of the Great Depression. … Ruffian was a symbol to many who identified with the feminist movement. She seemed to embody the idea that females could compete on an equal basis with their male counterparts. Just this weekend, the three-year-old colt California Chrome reminded us that sometimes from humble beginnings great things come

      Seems quite an apt symbolic expression in respect to the Palestinian position under the thumb and financial strangulation of 66 years of occupation and being offered bullsh*t peace deals by the oppressors

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        May 6, 2014, 8:46 am

        @ talknic
        Informative comment!

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder
      May 6, 2014, 1:37 am

      So what exactly was the point of this bizarre piece?

      I loved it, Donald, since it triggered memories of Britain and Ireland and horse races. All the expertise wasted on me to see me choose according to one criteria only, I had to love the name and it had to be an outsider. Flotilla quite possibly could fit that criteria. Forget about cut, give in the ground or soft going, jockey stats, horse rating this season, in other words never once one of the favorites. Although it seems he may well be. ;)

      Besides, Ira’s main theme was optimism. Wasn’t it? And it feels that fits perfectly well into MW.

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