It is hard to believe that we lost Rachel Corrie in March 2003. Our pain makes it feel like only yesterday especially when this week a consistently biased lying Israeli judge justified his unjust verdict exonerating her killers by vilifying the International Solidarity Movement (see links below). As a Palestinian who happens to also hold a US passport and most importantly as a human being, I found the silence of the Obama administration on the murder of a US citizen particularly revealing. Such occasions make us cry but also because we start to remember others: the first three that came to my mind were Vittorio Arrigoni, Bassem and Jawaher Aburahma, then to be followed by a flood of faces and names. When will this injustice end and the murders stop?
As for hundreds of years, colossal injustices must be and are answered by people. Not just in the case of Rachel but the tens of thousands of civilians murdered since the beginning of the Zionist invasion of Palestine. In a short while we commemorate the massacres of Sabra and Shatila where over 1300 Palestinian refugees and Lebanese were brutally murdered by mercenaries of the Israeli state in 1982 (see http://qumsiyeh.org/sabraandshatila/ ). In the subsequent 30 years, with US direct and indirect support, the killing spree continues and the ethnic cleansing continues. 7 million of us are now refugees or displaced people. In the middle of this darkness always come bright lights like Rachel and thousands of others.
Rachel lived her ideals and taught us to live based on these ideals. In our last fleeting thought before we die, we never consider that we should have worked for more money or more power but we do think that the good that we do in life must have meant something. Rachel reminded us of this. Rachel's good deeds and memory will live long after her killers and the Israeli judge die in obscurity. Her memory will live long after apartheid ends in Palestine and we have return and freedom. In that future, Muslims, Christians, Jews and others will join hands and hearts to remember this young girl and all the other martyrs along the way to equality and justice.
A poem I wrote March 16, 2008
People get shot, Rachel spoke
I am afraid, she wrote
Want to Dance
I can't believe
and so many of her remain
in the world
in her words
in our hearts
But today, with a lump in my throat
what paces in my thought
That strange phrase from a holy book
"they plan but God is the best of planners"
Nervously I ask it to slow down
explain yourself to a refugee spirit
what do you plan for the wretched souls
Why Hiam and Marwa?
Why Faris and Al-Durra?
And who is this divine?
In us all?
Do I learn something on this fifth anniversary
of death of another innocent
Is it misery and pain?
Love and action?
Questions or answers?
Or will all I am left with is that smell of the air of Palestine
and the soil, that soaked soil
that Rachel's last breath took in
to give us the Spring
of our understanding.
Rachel’s mother: Clearing the Israeli army in this murder is a bad day for :my family, for human rights, and for humanity” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/9503207/Rachel-Corrie-ruling-a-bad-day-for-humanity-says-her-mother.html
Video shows it was cold blooded murder
Jewish Voices for Peace deplores verdict
ISM response http://palsolidarity.org/2012/08/isms-response-to-the-rachel-corrie-verdict-bds/
Worthewhile rereading Rachel’s letters http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/rachel/emails
Commentary by Michael Gillespie
What has become of our nation? Netanyahu regime has destroyed our livelihood, dreams, values and future; turned Israel into racist, violent state by Yael Gvirtz
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD