Rachel Corrie: A Modern Day Hero

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie

A couple days ago marked the sixth anniversary of American Rachel Corrie’s death. She was run over in Palestine by an Israeli run Caterpillar d9r armored bulldozer. Rachel was a simple activist involved with the honorable International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who was in Palestine trying to aid some of the most oppressed people in the world. Here is an email that she sent to her mother a little over a month before she was killed:

“I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what’s going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don’t know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me – Ali – or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me, “Kaif Sharon?” “Kaif Bush?” and they laugh when I say, “Bush Majnoon”, “Sharon Majnoon” back in my limited arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn’t quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: “Bush mish Majnoon” … Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, “Bush is a tool”, but I don’t think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago.” Full email as well as other emails.

Because of her views on Palestine and Israel (watch the interview of her on YouTube) and because of the ISM’s great activities in the occupied lands, the Israeli government was forced to claim that her death was only an accident. But, there were eyewitnesses who claimed different:

Eyewitness account by Joe Carr: “Still wearing her fluorescent jacket, she knelt down at least 15 meters in front of the bulldozer, and began waving her arms and shouting, just as activists had successfully done dozens of times that day… 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… Her head and upper torso were above the bulldozer’s blade, and the bulldozer driver and co-operator could clearly see her. Despite this, the driver continued forward, which caused her to fall back, out of view of the diver.[sic] He continued forward, and she tried to scoot back, but was quickly pulled underneath the bulldozer. We ran towards him, and waved our arms and shouted; one activist with the megaphone. But the bulldozer driver continued forward, until Rachel was all the way underneath the central section of the bulldozer.”

Eyewitness account by Richard Purssell: “As the bulldozer reached the place where Rachel was standing, she began as many of us did on the day to climb the pile of earth. She reached the top and at this point she must have been clearly visible to the driver, especially as she was still wearing the high visibility [fluorescent orange with reflective strips] jacket. She turned and faced in my direction and began to come back down the pile. The bulldozer continued to move forward at [5-6 mph]. As her feet hit the ground I saw a panicked expression on her face… The pile of earth engulfed her and she was hidden from my view.”

Amnesty International also condemned her murder in this statement: Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today condemned the killing of Rachel Corrie and called for an independent investigation of her death. The organization also renewed a call for a suspension of US transfers to Israel of military equipment, including bulldozers, which have been used to commit human rights abuses.  Full statement

The thing that is amazing for me is that this woman was not even a Muslim, but she was willing to put herself into harms way to defend oppressed people of the world who happened to by Muslims. How many of us Muslims are willing to do anything like that? How many of us even speak out about oppression of our own people, let alone non-Muslims, throughout the world?

As Muslims we are ordained to stand up for the oppressed wherever they are and whoever they are. When our fellow Muslims are being oppressed in Palestine or Parachanar we must stand up and fight against this oppression by educating the masses. I bet if the regular individual in the west knew the facts about the Israeli-Palestinian issue they would take the side of the Palestinians and try to change their government’s actions. But, they do not know and therefore do not take any action.

If we are living in the west we must try to educate our neighbors, our schoolmates, our coworkers, everyone about what is really happening. We can make a difference if we are proactive. But, if we just sit back and do nothing, what will happen? What will be accomplished? How will we be passing the test that Allah is giving us?

In short, I want to use the great Rachel Corrie to motivate the Muslim youth in western countries to start an education campaign. Muslims you must know the facts yourselves and then you must educate the masses – one by one – in order to change the situation.

Comments are appreciated.

Islam Times


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