I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Rachael Corrie; I certainly hadn’t until well after her tragic death in the Gaza strip in 2003. Late fall of 2006, I went to see an off-Broadway play called Hello, My Name Is Rachael Corrie not realizing what the subject matter was. I came away from that evening’s performance more moved, speechless and horrified than I can ever recall having reacted to a show. I feel it is fair to point out that the show is only presenting her point of view, through transcripts from her diaries and emails to friends and family. There is obviously a fair amount more to the story but many people are so vehemently charged over this topic that it is difficult to discern what is going on between Israelis and Palestinians. I was fortunate enough to have attended the show on a night when they offered a talk-back with a mediator and representatives from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Sadly, the two well-spoken and intelligent guest’s debate did not provide much clarification on the matter.
I have no doubt that there is foul play from either faction. I have no doubt that plenty of innocent by-standers from both sides have been caught in the cross-fire being exchanged. I have no doubt that our American government supports all kinds of these “regrettable accidents” through providing much of the machinery, arms and money to people on both sides.
In today’s economy with the job market and the stock market dwindling, it is easy to forget that we are still in the middle of a war. It is easy to imagine that life can’t be all that bad elsewhere but it makes me nauseous simply knowing that American people and other internationals willingly give up comfortable, privileged lives to physically place themselves between destruction and what seems to be people’s right to exist let alone to put food in their bellies or to have a job. How can we not be offended by the way some of these people are treated? How is it that we, the United States, support so much of this violence and prejudice?
Despite a lack of media coverage when the incident occurred, many conflicting opinions and reports have been posted in response to the play if not to her untimely demise. Although I cannot pretend to be eloquent on these subjects, I think you will find that Rachael Corrie writes with a great deal of eloquence about her experiences in the midst of these abhorrent events. She is one woman who gave her life in an effort to affect the world for the better. I can only hope that even in her death, she can inspire us to better inform ourselves and to not take for granted the fact that- despite our myriad issues- the US is an incredible place to be fortunate enough to exist. In her own words, “We should be inspired by people… who show that human beings can be kind, brave, generous, beautiful, strong-even in the most difficult circumstances.”
http://www.rachelcorrie.org/ for some of her correspondences
http://rachelcorriefacts.org/default.aspx for another point of view