Dear Editor,

Only a few days before she paid the ultimate price, Rachel Corrie told reporters,” I feel like what I’m witnessing is a very systematic destruction of people’s ability to survive.”

Who was Rachel Corrie anyway? Who was she talking about? And why was she killed?

Rachel was 23 years old, an Evergreen State College student from Olympia,WA.

Rachel was a member of International Sorlidarity Movement (ISM) serving in Rafah, Palestine, a city located next to Egypt.

ISM is a group of international volunteers who partake in non-violent direct action resistance to the Israeli occupation. Members of the group live in Palestinian communities and get a first-hand account of the violence to which they are subjected every day by the Israeli military.

Rachel Corrie shared the Palestinian suffering and took some of the risks they are unfortunately forced to live with. It was important for her to show that the world has not forgotten these people, and that individuals from all over the world are willing to interrupt their comfortable lives to come and risk themselves for the sake of the Palestinians and draw international attention to their plight.

Rachel was aware of how dangerous Rafah is. Infact, more people have been killed per-capita in Rafah than any other place in Palestine. It is also one the poorest and most dangerous places in the world. Due to the absence of an International Peace Keeping Force and international media, Rachel left straight to Rafah. While there, she acted as a human shield to water wells and electrical workers. It is dangerous for these workers to work near the border, as Israeli tanks patrol it and will often shoot at any Palestinian in sight, including civilian workers and children playing. Rachel also helped Palestinian children with their homework and English language. She was setting up a sister-city relationship between her home town Olympia and Rafah. Sadly, her dream vanished on March 16, 2003 when her life was cut short in a savage way.

According to 21 year-old eyewitness Joseph Smith, an ISM member from Missouri:

“On that tragic day, Rachel stood in the pathway of an Israeli military bulldozer attempting to demolish the house of a Palestinian physician who was a friend of Rachel and her group, and in whose house Rachel and other activisits often stayed.

Rachel was wearing a flourescent-orange jacket with reflective stripping and armed with a megaphone. Rachel sat in the pathway of the bulldozer. She was 15 meters in front of the bulldozer and began waving. The bulldozer continued driving forward, headed straight for Rachel. When it was so closed that it was moving the earth beneath her, Rachel climbed onto the pile of rubble being pushed by the bulldozer. She got so high onto it that she was at an eye-level with the cab of the bulldozer. Her head and upper torso were above the bulldozer’s blade. The driver and co-operator could clearly see her.” Rachel was crushed to death under the 10-ton U.S.-made machine.

Israel claimed first that the bulldozer was removing bushes, so the operators were unable to see Rachel. The next day, Rafah residents flew the U.S. flag for the first time during a memorial service held in honor of Rachel. Even that did not stop Israeli soliders from raiding and disrupting the service.

Twenty years ago, a Marine captain with rare courage at checkpoint in Beirut, Lebanon stopped an Israeli tank column from entering the city. He told the tank commander, “you can enter over my dead body.” The Israeli soliders retreated. Capt. Charles Johnson was sighted for bravery by the Defense Department, and Israel accused him of being a drunken solider.

America acted in cold-blood in the death of Rachel, but screamed bloody murder to the kiddnaping and death of Jewish- American report Daniel Pearl who worked for the Wall Street Journal. I remember the outrage, public condemnations, and call for justice. Mr. Pearl was equally killed in a brutal way by Al-Qaida.

Every red-blooded American should have been outraged by the death of Rachel Corrie. He picture never made it to the front page story, and even a Maryland newspaper cartoonist depicted her as a stupid girl. The truth of the matter is, Rachel was a brilliant and brave American who stood for peace and justice. And as her former teacher said,” She has a big heart that is hard to carry. Rachel Corrie deserves the Presidential Medal of Honor.”

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