Risking It All in Palestine

Revolutionary Worker #1194, April 13, 2003, posted at rwor.org

Dear Revolutionary Worker :

Last summer we went to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement to support the Palestinian Freedom Summer. Our experiences are still vividly fresh in our minds. There's not a day that goes by that we don't think about Palestine. We remember the people there and their struggle. We were all in the mix of all the death and destruction brought down by Israel and we witnessed the Palestinian people's resistance to their oppression. On Sunday, March 16, we received the news of Rachel Corrie, who had been murdered by an Israeli bulldozer for standing against injustice. This news hit us hard, and the picture of her face has stayed with us. We will always remember Rachel's courageous stand with the Palestinian people.

Rachel, a 23-year-old student from Olympia, Washington, was staying in Rafah, Gaza, where she resisted Israeli Occupation. That Sunday, she was protesting the demolition of people's homes. She stood in clear sight of a bulldozer to get the driver to stop the unjust destruction of people's homes. The driver dropped sand on her and with the bulldozer, pushed her to the ground, where it ran over her and crushed her. The crushing weight went completely over her and backed up over her again. The bulldozer fractured Rachel's skull, and she later died in the A-Najar hospital.

When people in Gaza held a vigil for Rachel Corrie, the Israeli Occupying Forces attacked it by shooting tear gas and rubber bullets. The people built a memorial for Rachel, which was run over by another bulldozer. As if Rachel's murder wasn't enough, the bulldozer that was used in her killing was paraded through Rafah the following day.

The Israeli Army attempted to pin the fault on Rachel, saying she ran in front of the bulldozer, but she had been in sight of the bulldozer as it headed toward her. The army then said that they are "dealing with protesters, who are putting everyone in danger," but the Israeli Occupying Forces have been escalating their attacks on activists (especially the International Solidarity Movement), journalists, and humanitarians there to support the Palestinian people. They attack anyone who resists the Israeli/U.S. government's occupation, while trying to make themselves the victims. No, they are not the victims, they are the oppressors. The U.S. government supplies Israel with bulldozers like the one used to crush Rachel, as well as the weapons used to mass-murder Palestinians. Israel and the United States are the real terrorists.

The life and death of Rachel Corrie was truly courageous. Through Rachel's experience in Palestine she realized that the people had to resist their oppression by whatever means, she wrote in one of her e- mails to her mom, "I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about Palestinian violence not helping the situation... I think it is maybe official now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world... Then bulldozers come and take out people's vegetables farms and gardens. What is left for people? Tell me if you can think of anything. I can't."

"If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours--do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained?"

Rachel also spoke of wanting to return home, to her family. She spoke of nightmares of bulldozers crushing her home. Rachel spoke of the world that we live in, where people are being wiped out by this global system. Rachel Corrie was then taken from us. Rachel Corrie is a martyr in the fight against injustice. We will always remember her courage.


This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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