Delay may end up denial
On March 16, 2003, an Israeli bulldozer driver murdered Rachel in cold blood.
Trying to stop a Rafah refugee camp home demolition, eye witnesses said she climbed atop the giant Caterpillar tractor, spoke to the driver, climbed down, knelt 10 - 20 meters in front in clear view, and blocked its path with her body.
With activists screaming for it to stop, the soldier-operator deliberately crushed her to death. To be sure, he ran over her twice.
Rachel's family wants justice. So should everyone. The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice (RCFPJ) supports it. Its mission and guiding principles state:
The Foundation continues what Rachel began. It reflects "her vision, spirit, and creative energy...." It supports "build(ing) understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities."
"The foundation encourages and supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice, which we view as pre-requisites for world peace."
Its guiding principles include:
- challenging injustice and resisting oppression;
- teaching justice and peacemaking skills;
- advancing "human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice for all....;"
- seeking creative ways to achieve these goals; and
- committing to people and places the way Rachel did, especially those most disadvantaged and repressed.
Rachel was 23 when murdered. She believed in nonviolent direct action. She supported oppressed Palestinians. It became her life's struggle. She gave it doing what's right. What greater sacrifice than that!
In her own words, she said:
"I’m here for other children.
I’m here because I care.
I’m here because children everywhere are suffering and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger.
I’m here because those people are mostly children.
We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.
We have got to understand that they are us. We are them.
My dream is to stop hunger by the year 2000.
My dream is to give the poor a chance.
My dream is to save the 40,000 people who die each day.
My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there.
If we ignore hunger, that light will go out.
If we all help and work together, it will grow and burn free with the potential of tomorrow."
Her dedication and humility came out in comments like "I can't be Picasso. I can't be Jesus. I can't save the planet single-handedly. I can wash dishes."
From Occupied Palestine, he emailed often. Her comments showed dedication. They're inspirational for others. They reflect a spirit vital to be kept alive. The Foundation, Rachel's family, friends, and kindred spirits do it.
What better life's mission than supporting peace and justice. Rachel died for it. It bears repeating. What greater sacrifice than that!
Rachel's Family Lawsuit
In 2005, representing Rachel's family, attorney Hussein abu Hussein sued the State of Israel. It bears full responsibility for her death.
On March 10, 2010, oral testimonies began. Fifteen court hearings were held. Twenty-three witnesses testified. They included four International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activists with Rachel when she died. They saw what happened close up. Over 2,000 court transcript papers were produced.
US embassy officials attended each hearing. So did Rachel's family members, as well as numerous international legal and human rights organization observers.
On July 11, 2011, proceedings concluded. Judge Oded Gershon scheduled dates for both sides to present written summations and closing arguments. He also set April 23, 2012 for his ruling. Multiple delays along the way postponed it.
Rescheduling hasn't been set. The longer it's delayed, the more likely justice will be denied. Whatever the ruling, Rachel's lost life can't be restored.
In her absence, her inspirational spirit motivates others to continue her important work. Helping others and pursuing justice defines it. The Rafah City/Rafeh refugee camp Rachel Corrie Clinic and Children's Center performs vital services in her name.
The Rachel Corrie Memorial web site provides information about her and what everyone can do. The best way to honor her is follow her example. Support peace and justice issues. What's more important than those.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|