Image by ISM-NC via FlickrToday is the 6th memorial day for Rachel Corrie, an American non-violence activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the town of Rafah in Gaza, March 16 2008. (thanks to Nina for the reminder)
The story, in short: Rachel came to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement, like many other young americans and people of other nationalities. Many of them, btw, are jewish.
She was killed when she tried to prevent a bulldozer from demolishing a house. Personally, I believe the story of the driver who said he was not able to see her. Usually the Israeli army has people standing outside to direct the bulldozers, but at that specific event they were afraid of Palestinian snipers and thus did not do that.
I once met her parents. Very kind and good people. I hope that they find some comfort in the support they get from around the globe (and from many Israelis too, as they assured me).
Stories like this happen all the time. Only last week another American citizen was critically wounded by Israeli fire.
What do I do about it? I ask questions, attend a play (maybe), and mainly, support Lora (who's Lora? read or pick at the end).
Let's start with the questions, I'm good at it. Billy Bragg wrote a beautiful tune with plenty of questions. One of them is: Is Rachel more important than 100 Palestinian kids we never hear of?
Bradley Burston made me think again about responsibility (English and Hebrew). The army is there to protect population. If it were an Israeli citizen, most certainly a soldier would have had to go out and make sure everybody is safe. Why was this not the case here? As Chava Alberstein asks, "The love of the homeland is a natural thing, but why should the love stop halt at the border?"
The play My Name is Rachel Corrie plays today and on the 29th in Pittburgh. The play also made some noise when the director of the original theater in NYC canceled the production a few weeks before it was scheduled to air. No reason for the censorship was given. However, shortly after it found a new home.
Last and most important is a new journey of a brave American. This time I talk about my good friend Lora, who is so many things. She is so compassionate to want go to Gaza, so brave to actually do it, and so smart to be able to go in (the Israeli governmeht still puts Gaza under blockade. Somehow Lora was able to break in.)
You can read her fascinating updates here and can follow her twits.
And most importantly, you can donate here. All money goes to rebuilding Gaza.
Thanks to all of you, to Lora, and to Rachel; love, and non-violent energy!