"MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE"


Actually it is no anniversary to her death and nothing in particular happened which would make me write about her. A short while ago I was going over the website of the “ISM” (International Solidarity Movement) and suddenly came upon her name … and, while reading her story for the umpth-time, remembered this wonderful and charismatic young woman who was killed while defending the lifves and human rights of Palestinians in Rafah/Gaza Strip in spring 2003.


Her memory MUST stay alive. She was one of those fantastic folks who did not worry about her own life first … it was more important to her to be there for and defend the rights of these people who were seemingly forgotten by the rest of the world while facing, armed with stones at best, the mightiest and technically most advanced army in the world. It is a tribute to a young woman who courageously stood up against injustice and brutality while defending human rights … and paid the ultimate price!


Here is her story …

Raised in Olympia, Washington, Corrie was the daughter of Craig Corrie, an insurance executive, and Cindy Corrie, an amateur flautist. She graduated from Capital High School, then attended “The Evergreen State College”(TESC). She initially joined the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, then in her senior year the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Following her graduation, she travelled to the Middle East to participate in ISM-organized demonstrations in Rafah.

During one of her activities there she was run over by a Caterpillar D9 when she and her friends tried to obstruct the bulldozer operating in a Palestinian residential area of Rafah, next to the border with Egypt, destroying the home of Dr. Samir Nasrallah.

For those of you who have no clue what a D9 looks like … here you go together with a few data to get an idea …
It weighs 48,784 kg and is a 8,1 m long, 4 m wide blade, 4 m high monster which can move forward at the speed of 11,9 km/h and reverse at 14,7 km/h. Bare that in mind when you read on …

Two ISM eyewitness accounts

The following account is from Joe Carr, an ISM activist from Kansas City, Missouri, who chose to use the assumed name of Joseph Smith during his time in the occupied territories.

“[Between 13:00 and 13:30, activists] noticed that two Israeli Army bulldozers and one tank [had] entered onto Palestinian civilian property near the border and [were] demolishing farmland and other already damaged structures. The military machine was severely threatening near-by homes, so the 3 activists went up onto the roof of one home, and then called for others to come.


“[Between 13:30 and 14:00], I arrived, and one of the three activists in [sic] the house joined me on the ground … [W]e began to disrupt the work of the bulldozers … At this point, Rachel and the two other activists joined us … Rachel and a British activist were wearing jackets that were fluorescent orange and had reflective stripping [sic] … [Between 14:00 and 15:00], Rachel and two other activists began interfering with the other bulldozer, which was attempting to destroy grass and other plants on what used to be farmland. They stood and sat in its path, and though it would drive very close to them, and even move the earth on which they were sitting, it always stopped in time to avoid injuring them … [Between 15:00 and 16:00], one bulldozer pushed Will, an American activist, up against a pile of barbed wire. Fortunately, the bulldozer stopped and withdrew just in time to avoid injuring him seriously, but we had to dig him out of the rubble, and unhook his clothing from the wire. The tank approached to see if he was ok. One soldier stuck his head out of the tank to see, and he looked quite shocked and dumbfounded, but said nothing …



Corrie immediately after being injured

“[Between 16:45 and 17:00], [o]ne bulldozer, serial number 949623, began to work near the house of a physician who is a friend of ours … Rachel sat down in the pathway of the bulldozer … [It] continued driving forward headed straight for Rachel. When it got so close that it was moving the earth beneath her, she climbed onto the pile of rubble being pushed by the bulldozer. She got so high onto it that she was at eye-level with the cab of the bulldozer … Despite this, he continued forward, which pulled her legs into the pile of rubble, and pulled her down out of view of the driver …


We ran towards him, and waved our arms and shouted, one activist with the megaphone. But [he] continued forward, until Rachel was underneath the central section of the bulldozer … Despite the obviousness of her position, the bulldozer began to reverse, without lifting its blade, and drug [sic] the blade over her body again. He continued to reverse until he was on the boarder [sic] strip, about 100 meters away, and left her crushed body in the sand. Three activists ran to her and began administering first-responder medical treatment … She said, “My back is broken!” but nothing else …”

Joe Smith said: “Rachel had two options. When the bulldozer started to dig in the dirt pile, the pile started to move, and she could have rolled sideways quickly or fallen backwards to avoid being hit. But Rachel leaned forward to climb to the top of the dirt pile. The bulldozer’s digging drew her downward, and its driver could not see her anymore. So without lifting the scoop, he turned backward and she was already underneath the blade.”


ISM activist Tom Dale was standing just yards away from Corrie. He told journalist Joshua Hammer, Jerusalem bureau chief for Newsweek:

“The bulldozer built up earth in front of it. Its blade was slightly dug into the earth. She began to stand up. The earth was pushed over her feet. She tried to climb on top of the earth, to avoid being overwhelmed. She climbed to the point where her shoulders were above the top lip of the blade. She was standing on this pile of earth. As the bulldozer continued, she lost her footing, and she turned and fell down this pile of earth. Then it seemed like she got her foot caught under the blade. She was helpless, pushed prostrate, and looked absolutely panicked, with her arms out, and the earth was piling itself over her. The bulldozer continued so that the place where she fell down was directly beneath the cockpit. I think she would have been between the treads. The whole [incident] took place in about six or seven seconds,” (Mother Jones, Sept-Oct 2003).

Her photograph has been used in protests, including in Rafah, against Israel’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank. On July 15, 2003, the Chicago Tribune reported that “to the people of Rafah, Rachel Corrie will always remain a very special martyr, their American martyr.”


The Irish folk-singer Christy Moore dedicated his 2005 album entitled “Burning Times” to the memory of Rachel Corrie.

My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play composed from Corrie’s journals and e-mails from Gaza and directed by British actor Alan Rickman, was presented in London in early 2005. It was later revived in October 2005. The play was to be transported to the New York Theatre Workshop, but when it was postponed indefinitely, the English producers denounced the decision as “censorship” and withdrew the show.

It finally opened off-broadway on October 15, 2006, for an initial run of 48 performances.

The play has since been published as a paperback, also entitled “My Name is Rachel Corrie”.

(The whole biography you can find under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Corrie)

~ REST IN PEACE RACHEL – WE LOVE YOU!! ~

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