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Rachel Corrie: In her own words

Rachel was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver on March 16, 2003 in Rafah. This is a communique from Rachel to her parents in February of this year. "Many people want their voices to be heard, and I think we need to use some of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard directly in the US, rather than through the filter of well-meaning internationals such as myself. I am just beginning to learn, from what I expect to be a very intense tutelage, about the ability of people to organize against all odds, and to resist against all odds."
Rachel Corrie: In her own words
Rachel Corrie: In her own words

Rachel Corrie: In her own words
Rachel Corrie, writing from Rafah, occupied Palestine
17 March 2003

American peace activist Rachel Corrie (23) from Olympia, Washington, was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver on March 16, 2003 in Rafah. Rachel was in Gaza opposing the bulldozing of a Palestinian home as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement.

Excerpts from an e-mail from Rachel Corrie to her family on February 7, 2003

Rachel Corrie

I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States--something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me, "Ali"--or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me "Kaif Sharon?" "Kaif Bush?" and they laugh when I say "Bush Majnoon" "Sharon Majnoon" back in my limited Arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.)

Of course this isn't quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: Bush mish Majnoon... Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say "Bush is a tool", but I don't think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago--at least regarding Israel.

Nevertheless, I think about the fact that no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can't imagine it unless you see it, and even then you are always well aware that your experience is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli Army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and, of course, the fact that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown. I have a home. I am allowed to go see the ocean. Ostensibly it is still quite difficult for me to be held for months or years on end without a trial (this because I am a white US citizen, as opposed to so many others).

When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting half way between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpoint?a soldier with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I'm done. So, if I feel outrage at arriving and entering briefly and incompletely into the world in which these children exist, I wonder conversely about how it would be for them to arrive in my world.

They know that children in the United States don't usually have their parents shot and they know they sometimes get to see the ocean. But once you have seen the ocean and lived in a silent place, where water is taken for granted and not stolen in the night by bulldozers, and once you have spent an evening when you haven't wondered if the walls of your home might suddenly fall inward waking you from your sleep, and once you've met people who have never lost anyone-- once you have experienced the reality of a world that isn't surrounded by murderous towers, tanks, armed "settlements" and now a giant metal wall, I wonder if you can forgive the world for all the years of your childhood spent existing--just existing--in resistance to the constant stranglehold of the world's fourth largest military--backed by the world's only superpower--in it's attempt to erase you from your home. That is something I wonder about these children. I wonder what would happen if they really knew.

As an afterthought to all this rambling, I am in Rafah, a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60 percent of whom are refugees--many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Rafah existed prior to 1948, but most of the people here are themselves or are descendants of people who were relocated here from their homes in historic Palestine--now Israel. Rafah was split in half when the Sinai returned to Egypt.

Currently, the Israeli army is building a fourteen-meter-high wall between Rafah in Palestine and the border, carving a no-mans land from the houses along the border. Six hundred and two homes have been completely bulldozed according to the Rafah Popular Refugee Committee. The number of homes that have been partially destroyed is greater.

Today as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, "Go! Go!" because a tank was coming. Followed by waving and "what's your name?". There is something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids: Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what's going on. International kids standing in front of tanks with banners.

Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously, occasionally shouting-- and also occasionally waving--many forced to be here, many just aggressive, shooting into the houses as we wander away.

In addition to the constant presence of tanks along the border and in the western region between Rafah and settlements along the coast, there are more IDF towers here than I can count--along the horizon,at the end of streets. Some just army green metal. Others these strange spiral staircases draped in some kind of netting to make the activity within anonymous. Some hidden,just beneath the horizon of buildings. A new one went up the other day in the time it took us to do laundry and to cross town twice to hang banners.

Despite the fact that some of the areas nearest the border are the original Rafah with families who have lived on this land for at least a century, only the 1948 camps in the center of the city are Palestinian controlled areas under Oslo. But as far as I can tell, there are few if any places that are not within the sights of some tower or another. Certainly there is no place invulnerable to apache helicopters or to the cameras of invisible drones we hear buzzing over the city for hours at a time.

I've been having trouble accessing news about the outside world here, but I hear an escalation of war on Iraq is inevitable. There is a great deal of concern here about the "reoccupation of Gaza." Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents, but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here, instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. If people aren't already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope they will start.

I also hope you'll come here. We've been wavering between five and six internationals. The neighborhoods that have asked us for some form of presence are Yibna, Tel El Sultan, Hi Salam, Brazil, Block J, Zorob, and Block O. There is also need for constant night-time presence at a well on the outskirts of Rafah since the Israeli army destroyed the two largest wells.

According to the municipal water office the wells destroyed last week provided half of Rafah's water supply. Many of the communities have requested internationals to be present at night to attempt to shield houses from further demolition. After about ten p.m. it is very difficult to move at night because the Israeli army treats anyone in the streets as resistance and shoots at them. So clearly we are too few.

I continue to believe that my home, Olympia, could gain a lot and offer a lot by deciding to make a commitment to Rafah in the form of a sister-community relationship. Some teachers and children's groups have expressed interest in e-mail exchanges, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of solidarity work that might be done.

Many people want their voices to be heard, and I think we need to use some of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard directly in the US, rather than through the filter of well-meaning internationals such as myself. I am just beginning to learn, from what I expect to be a very intense tutelage, about the ability of people to organize against all odds, and to resist against all odds.

Thanks for the news I've been getting from friends in the US. I just read a report back from a friend who organized a peace group in Shelton, Washington, and was able to be part of a delegation to the large January 18th protest in Washington DC.

People here watch the media, and they told me again today that there have been large protests in the United States and "problems for the government" in the UK. So thanks for allowing me to not feel like a complete polyanna when I tentatively tell people here that many people in the United States do not support the policies of our government, and that we are learning from global examples how to resist.


CORRIE MURDER ISRAEL FASCISTS MUST ACCOUNT 17.Mar.2003 09:57

Michel Foucault

From everything I have read this was cold blooded murder designed to deter protection of civilians by "internationals" especially Americans such as Corrie.

There is hardly any press on this in my area of Oregon...we must contact and shake Democrat politicians, boycott Israeli products, and not let this be swept under rug of public attention. Yes, hundreds of innocent Palistinians have been also murdered by these Nazi thugs. But here is an idealist and committed American hero also murdered. If it doesn't make your hair stand up, go back to your consumerist pipe-dreams and wait for Bush/Sharon Nazi troopers to run bulldozer over your neighborhood and your children...and you will deserve it.

Yes, call to action! 17.Mar.2003 11:40

bov

I posted news and bay area politicians contacts on the SF imc site.

I called a few offices, plus the media, and pointed out a couple of things

1. PELOSI
Pelosi sure had LOTS to say about Congressman Moran for saying the wrong thing about Jews - for which he later apologized and then lost his committe postion - but she sure has NOTHING to say about Israel murdering an American Citizen! This is an OUTRAGE! You can easily compare anything meaningless that your congressperson is spending time on to this tragedy and call them on their silence.

2. THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT
The government in general is saying nothing, even though our local Channel 2 showed the pictures of her (!!!) standing on the pile of sand and they noted that she had a BRIGHT colored jacket and that it was unlikely that she wasn't seen. Channel 4 tried to defend Israel, so I immediately called to complain. You can remind your congressperson that local news stations are broadcasting the situation as it was, and it's clear this was no accident. They don't seem to be aware of this and need to know that constituents know from their own local news stations, not just the internet.

3. SADDAM
If Saddam had done this it would be all over the news. Why is it not something worth mentioning when Israel does it? They need to hear us ask this question.

Murderers Become Israeli State Heroes 17.Mar.2003 13:25

Stop Funding Israeli State Terror

Compare and contrast the nonviolent efforts of Rachel Corrie with an Israeli mass murderer lauded as a "hero" in Israel. This is the sort of Israeli state terrorism U.S. tax dollars pays for.

 http://www.newkach.org/special/baruch/02.htm

excerpt from site:

"On the Feast of Purim (February 1994), Dr. Baruch Goldstein, dressed as an army officer, entered the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and shot to death 29 Arabs and wounded approximately a hundred more. It is our great misfortune that Dr. Baruch Goldstein may G-D avenge his blood, who was brutally murdered by the Arabs is no longer with us."

Murderers Become Israeli State Heroes
Murderers Become Israeli State Heroes

Another Day of Blood in the Gaza Strip 17.Mar.2003 13:42

global indymedia team

On March 16, there were three more deaths in the Gaza Strip. An American activist that was with the International Solidarity Movement was killed by an Israeli bulldozer. One Palestinian man in Rafah and an adolescent in Khan Yunis were killed as well.

This time the IDF's brutality has done what every peace activist visiting Palestine has anticipated it would do. Rachel Corey, a 23-years-old from Olympia, Washington, a student at Evergreen College that was to graduate this year, was been killed by an Israeli bulldozer that ran her over during the demolition of Dr. Samir Masri's house at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. There were eight protestors at the site; four from the U.S. and four from the U.K.

"Corey was killed in the al-Salam neighbourhood when an Israeli bulldozer covered her with sand as she stood in front of a bulldozer," said Dr Ali Musa, a doctor from the al-Najar hospital in the southern Gaza Strip. He said she died from skull and chest fractures.

"Rachel was alone in front of the house as we were trying to get them to stop," he said. "She waved for bulldozer to stop and waved. She fell down and the bulldozer kept going. We yelled 'stop, stop,' and the bulldozer didn't stop at all. It had completely run over her and then it reversed and ran back over her."

On March 1st Rachel helped compile a report on women's non-violent resistance to the Israeli Occupation. In the US Rachel worked with Olympia Movement for Peace and Justice. Starhawk, who is also in Palestine with the ISM, has writen a short call to action in response to Rachel's killing.

Read: CFL Alert | Seattle IMC feature | Interview with Tom (ISM UK activist) | Corporate Media Coverage

More coverage in: French, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch

Israel IMC | Seattle IMC | International Solidarity Movement


from the Electronic Intifada 17.Mar.2003 17:20

sickened

more on this - warning: graphic photos

 http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1248.shtml

May Rachel's loving soul rest in peace...

That's Life in the Big City... 17.Mar.2003 18:19

The Black Asp

While I feel bad for the families of this girl, it still has to be said. Spoiled American protesters who think that Isralie troops are as soft as local and state police who allow tree huggers and WTO protesters to chain themseves to anything they want, are mistaken. It looks like this young women learned the hard way that the Isralie military don't give a fuck about whining American liberals.

here she is burning the US flag 17.Mar.2003 21:23

gw

flag burner...
here she is burning the US flag
here she is burning the US flag

here she is dead 17.Mar.2003 21:41

salah

from the palestine chronicle
here she is dead
here she is dead

NO shame for anyone-dehumanized BLACK ASP 18.Mar.2003 00:37

ouch

Words that hurt, and why why do you do it. What are you afraid of? What is the point of saying thats what you get she learned the hard way? Is it to disrupt and destroy the site, or endorse your decadent lifestyle, or maybe your just loaded on some anxiety disorder drug. Soo sad to hear such words from you. You cry WHINY and SPOILED when you really do not know. SOMEONE IS DEAD.... DEAD......what ever it takes to make you change, grow, become human again I dedicate myself to that cause. I really have no more words

she was used. 18.Mar.2003 07:58

ffc

she was used as a tool in gods monkey house (the middle east).

I feel sorry for her parents.

ISRAEL: RACIST, EVIL, and VILE 18.Mar.2003 21:47

JA

Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to declare about the, then, apartheid state of South Africa: "Apartheid is immoral, apartheid is evil, apartheid is wrong." The very same thing is true about the Zionist apartheid state of Israel. Indeed, Desmond Tutu said that if you substituted the words Black for Palestinian and South Africa for the political and physical conditions in Israel, you almost wouldn't know that you weren't reading about, then, Apartheid South Africa. Nelson Mandela, upon his release from prison, proclaimed in his American cities speaking tour before stadium audiences in the tens of thousands (60,000+ in the S.F. Bay Area), that: "The Palestinian cause in my cause!"

Israel is just as racist, evil and immoral as apartheid ("Jim Crow") America was; ISRAEL is just as RACIST, EVIL and VILE as apartheid South Africa was; Israel is just as racist, evil and immoral as Nazi Germany was up until 1942 (long after the Nazi persecution began in the early 1930's, ironically, of the European JEWS, but before the death camps started in the last few years of the war, 1939-1945). Only world public opinion keeps Israeli Jews from commencing "THE FINAL SOLUTION" to "THE PALESTINIAN PROBLEM." The majority of the Israeli public already supports the complete ethnic cleansing--total population transfer--of Palestinians from Palestine.

The Israeli flag belongs in the pantheon of evil flags--right along side to the Confederate flag, the old apartheid South African flag, and the NAZI flag, as well as any other such flags. (I'm sure that Native Americans would put the American flag right up alongside there too.)

For those so-called "liberal/progressive" Zionists who recoil at my bluntness, it is time for you to WAKE UP and realize the fact that Israel IS a RACIST, EVIL, WICKED and IMMORAL state whose RACIST ideology needs to be abolished right along with other racist ideologies.

The courageous Bay Area Jewish-American veteran photojournalist, pro-Palestinian human rights activist, and anti-Zionist public speaker, Jeffrey Blankfort confronted some Zionist Jews at the Saturday anti-war protest rally in Jefferson Park in San Francisco, and told them that the Israeli flag that they had wrapped around themselves is just as "RACIST" as the Nazi flag was in Germany.

I am sickened to hear of Rachel's death, and the many more innocent Palestinians who are killed by Israel every day, and my heart goes out to Rachel Corrie's family, as well as to all those Palestinian families whose loved ones are killed by the state of Israel too. Rachel was a courageous person, because she didn't have to be there, bearing witness, trying to protect innocents, and doing Peace.

to those speaking against Rachel here- 20.Mar.2003 00:09

kevin

i can't imagine the sadness in your life.

are you tring to say "she should have known better"? i haven't seen such callous statements in a long time...hope someday you start to value human life.

the history of every culture is punctuated with the poor decisions of young men trained to kill. this was another barbaric act committed by a state military. regardless of the contextual politics, it is simply indefensible.

OSU 29.Dec.2003 20:29

DIKUM dikum@asianetindia.com

WE are going to give an Award to her Family Members . The award is organised by Mas Oyama Fondation , & the award name is "The Godhand" for her courage & brave ..Please Give Rachel Corrie' family's address

My E-mail address is  dikum@asianetindia.com

http://www.geocities.com/kyokushinkaikankarate
0091-471-2448551
Kyokushinkaikan, Sree Chitra, Beach.P.O, Kerala, India

Do something 31.Dec.2003 19:59

Zak

Its easy to just sit there and pass judgement. How many of you have ever got off you fat asses and actually do something about it, be it for or against the issues. Realize that she paid the ultimate price for what she believed in. It is typical of you masses. Go on and continue to listen and then spew the same rhetoric. Live and breath the Propoganda you bunch of ignorant Lemmings. "Read the headlines....knows the complete story"...Morons.