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Friday March 16, 2012

Rachel Corrie, 9 Years On

Posted by Omar Baddar at 1:53 pm

It’s hard to believe that it has been 9 years since Rachel Corrie was killed in Gaza. 9 years since she bravely stood in the face of an Israeli bulldozer attempting to demolish the home of a Palestinian family in Rafah, and 9 years since the driver of that massive D9 Caterpillar bulldozer disregarded her humanity and literally drove over her. 9 years on, and the despicable campaign to tarnish her memory with baseless accusations of sympathy to terrorism is still ongoing. But most dishearteningly, 9 years on and there is still no justice for Rachel. Nonetheless, Rachel’s bravery continues to inspire Palestine-solidarity activists 9 years on.

Far more important than remembering Rachel’s tragic death is remembering her inspiring life. Seldom in life do we come across someone with the extraordinary commitment to justice that Rachel possessed. In an email she wrote her mother shortly before she was killed, Rachel described life with Palestinians like this:

When I am with Palestinian friends I tend to be somewhat less horrified than when I am trying to act in a role of human rights observer, documenter, or direct-action resister. They are a good example of how to be in it for the long haul. I know that the situation gets to them - and may ultimately get them - on all kinds of levels, but I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to defend such a large degree of their humanity - laughter, generosity, family-time - against the incredible horror occurring in their lives and against the constant presence of death. I felt much better after this morning. I spent a lot of time writing about the disappointment of discovering, somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we are still capable. I should at least mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances - which I also haven't seen before. I think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will.

And when speaking about what Americans should be doing about the injustice in Palestine, she said:

This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world.

If only Rachel could see how she has inspired so many in this country to demand justice for Palestinians, including her parents who have become outspoken critics of the occupation their daughter protested years before. For more information or to support the work her family is doing in her honor, visit the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

Tagged as Issues, Palestine, Gaza, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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