On the tenth anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death her parents urge supporters to take action, change US policy in Israel/Palestine

Ten years ago today American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she tried to protect a Palestinian home from demolition in Rafah, Gaza. Her death, and selfless act of heroism, has galvanized and inspired millions worldwide in the decade since her death.

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Rachel Corrie

For me her death will always be intertwined with the rush to war in Iraq. Coming at the height of the second intifada, it was a moment that helped shape me and draw connections between militarism and occupation, between resistance and solidarity. I never met Rachel but her life has influenced me profoundly. Here is a report from a protest I helped with at the time in the days just before the U.S. attacked Iraq. It’s amazing to think that was ten years ago and of everything that has transpired since then. Although much has changed in that time, the situation Rachel was protesting when she was killed remains very much the same. 

Throughout the last ten years Corrie’s parents – Cindy and Craig – have been a bedrock for the Palestine solidarity movement in the U.S. They were somehow able to take their loss, their pain, and build a flourishing movement for justice and accountability, not just for Rachel but also for the people of Gaza. In August, on the eve of an Israeli court decision in the Corrie’s civil lawsuit against the state of Israel, I wrote, “the persistence, strength and grace of the Corrie family has a power all its own, and has moved everyone who has had the chance to meet them.” They have never exploited Rachel’s death, or their own pain, but rather picked up Rachel’s baton and took on her struggle as their own.

As the Corrie’s surely will use this anniversary to grieve, they are also using it to say thank you and urge all those touched by Rachel to continue struggling. Yesterday her father Craig Corrie shared a request for President Obama as he heads to Israel/Palestine next week. Writing in The Hill Corrie says ‘ten years on I want answers for my daughter Rachel Corrie“:

On March 16, 2003, my daughter Rachel Corrie was crushed to death under a bulldozer driven by an Israel Defense Forces soldier. The bulldozer was manufactured in the United States by Caterpillar, Inc. and paid for by U.S. foreign military financing aid. My tax dollars paid for the machine used to kill my daughter . . .

What then would I ask President Obama to do as he makes his way to Israel and Palestine this month? Assure Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas alike that we will stand with them for the just aspirations of all their citizens, including the equal recognition to their right to be free of threats to their homes, families, farmland, and future. Explain that the U.S. will no longer support financially or diplomatically the apartheid system embodied in the occupation of Palestine and in the treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Remind them that security cannot come at the expense of the other, but only with the participation of both. Rather than giving license to a government’s most violent instincts by repeating endlessly that Israel has a right to defend itself – ignoring that Palestinians also have that right – call instead for the courage of each side to live by the ceasefires negotiated but left unsigned or ignored.

President Obama should refuse to continue U.S. military and diplomatic support until Israel gives truthful answers to our questions, not just for U.S. citizens like Rachel and Furkan Dogan, but for all the civilians killed or maimed using U.S.-funded weapons. Use this trip to a deeply troubled and divided place to remind the world that Americans believe all people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Then, make this first principle of America’s existence the foundation of his foreign policy for the next four years.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged

{ 25 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    It must be very hard to lose a child. And even harder to read the lies about how the child was killed.

    link to irishtimes.com

  2. Citizen says:

    The long, expensive trial shouldered by Rachel’s parents in Israel was such a travesty of justice (with the Corries seeking $1 in compensation). And the US government has done nothing about it, although it is on record as telling the Corries Israel’s investigation left much to be desired. Ditto re Furkan Dogan (or less).

    Rachel said BDS was huge, and I bet she’s in heaven if there is one, watching it grow, reminding herself how drastically long it took for the US government to get behind the similar movement against apartheid S Africa.

    The clean, clear goodness and humanity of the Corries and their cause just outshines everything same as we see with Ms Korotzer here: link to mondoweiss.net

    If the US mainstream press would allow them to speak on cable TV news, directly to the American people, things would change much more quickly. I think the American mainstream press is a total disaster, nothing but a propaganda arm for Israel’s worst instincts. Partnering with our campaign finance system, I can see why one would run up the American flag up-side down.

  3. Citizen says:

    Please go to The Hill and register a comment. Lots of congress critters read The Hill.

  4. Kathleen says:

    What dedicated parents who sought and are still seeking justice for their daughters murder and now so deeply involved with seeking justice for the Palestinian people. They are trying to wake people up.

    I had the great honor of walking down the street holding hands with Cindy Corrie at one of the Move over Aipac now occupy Aipac gatherings in D. C. I spent about 20 minutes with her, She is has the aura an essence of a radical truth telling angel on earth with a soft, clear, concrete message about the illegal occupation, During the event someone asked her “are you sorry your daughter was protesting the occupation that day” Cindy “no I am sorry we were not all there with her standing for justice.”

    Had a great success getting one of the Aipac attendees Micheal from Columbus who had been over at the protest across the street with us interacting with Medea etc (who gave him a spot on the speaking stage as well as other Aipac attendees) to interact and talk with Cindy Corrie when we were across the street in front of the D.C. convention center where the conference was being held. I saw Micheal and asked him if he would like to come and have a chat with Cindy Corrie (explained to him what had happened to Rachel) and he agreed. I made introductions stayed for a minute or two and walked away so they could talk. Micheal looked earnest while (I kept looking over from a distance trying to read the body language) listening to Cindy she of course could tame a wild horse and had him spell bound with her truth telling. If he really listened to Cindy it had to change his life

  5. yourstruly says:

    on yet another people?

    syrians this time?

    u. s. of a. to use drones?

    is there anyone left who still believes that america isn’t into empire?

    oh but it’s never (better, hardly ever) been into colonies, settlements & such?

    why would it?

    drones more than suffice?

  6. yourstruly says:

    of, for & by the people?

    some sort of joke?

    how do they get away with it?

    deep down most everyone knows?

    something about not wanting to rock the boat?

    but if only everyone were to just say no?

    smooth sailing ahead?

  7. Blake says:

    FACT SHEET: The Killing of Rachel Corrie: Ten Years Later
    IMEU, Mar 15, 2013

    link to imeu.net

  8. Blank State says:

    “…..take action, change US policy in Israel/Palestine”

    When your President, his cabinet, Congress, and the high members of both parties are shameless advocates and criminal co-conspirators for Israel, what “action” can we possibly take to change the inertia of our increasingly destructive foreign policies in the middle east? Our government is NOT representative to the citizens of the United States. It ceased being so long ago. There IS NO “action” we can take. As the election of Barack Obama proved, our vote is useless, as these criminal pieces of shit simply lie, tell us what we want to hear, then dictate policies that are polar to thier promises. Obama is FAR worse than Bush. With the monkey Bush, we knew what we were getting, and voted against him in the majority, only to have the Supreme Court intervene on his behalf, setting the stage for Afghanistan and Iraq. With Barack Obama, we sought to turn around the damage Bush had done, and change the course of our nation, only to find that he is a lying scheming fraud, who, in his policies in the Middle East, is Bush on steroids. Signing statements and executive orders are now commonplace and unmentioned in the media. Drones will soon be policing our cities. You can be held indefinitely as a prisoner of the state by simply being labeled as an enemy of the state. You, an American citizen, can be assassinated by the state simply by virtue of a label.

    Welcome to the end of the road. This grand experiment is OVER.

    • Citizen says:

      And Huckabee is on his show tonight, as I type here, talking to his stupid audience and directly at the camera, reciting absolutely pure hasbara–it all actually sounds reasonable, logical–so long as the viewer is totally ignorant of the history and facts of what Israel has been doing for so many decades now. The nub of his reasoning is that if even one katusha rocket landed on US soil, we’d rise up and defend ourselves, and we would build a wall too, to stop human bombs from blowing up our kids in our pizza parlors. And we Americans would not treat lightly anyone who denies our right to exist, who leaves America of their maps; and so Huckabee tells his sincere ignorant audience, Israel should “build, build, build!” And the least we Americans can do is support Israel with all we got. He knows, he’s “been to Israel many, many times.”

      Of course his special guest is Lindsey Grahm, telling us what’s happening with Obama at home. Followed by Dr Marc Siegel, of Fox News Medical A Team, telling us how bad Obamacare is.

  9. Krauss says:

    I know I’m going to get hate for this but honestly, I don’t think they should be pimping their daughters death like this.

    It’s one thing to be engaged on the isuses, and it’s pretty understandable that they are passionate on the issue on which Rachel’s life was – literally – sacrificed for, but her death should be dignified. Instead of being trotted out in this cynical way for their own attempt to get publicity for their political campaign. Even if that campaign’s values are noble, it’s still a pretty cynical thing to do.

    • i don’t hate you for what you said krauss, it’s very revealing and tells us about who you are and what you choose to see.

      trotted out in this cynical way for their own attempt to get publicity for their political campaign.

      it’s not the corrie’s political campaign. they are not running for any political office.

      Throughout the last ten years Corrie’s parents – Cindy and Craig – have been a bedrock for the Palestine solidarity movement in the U.S. They were somehow able to take their loss, their pain, and build a flourishing movement for justice and accountability, not just for Rachel but also for the people of Gaza.

    • “I don’t think they should be pimping their daughters death like this.”
      Oh, please!

    • Sumud says:

      Dumb Krauss.

      You should view some of the many interviews with the Corries that are posted on youtube and various other web sites such as Democracy Now before making silly comments such as above.

      Go do that, then tell me if they strike you as cynical or exploitative people, or political campaigners. I think not.

    • Taxi says:

      But… “honestly”, krauss, your accusations are truly despicable.

    • talknic says:

      @Krauss The Holocaust, when G-d was AWOL, gets more than its fair share of airing when justifying Israel’s illegal acquisition of non-Israeli territory.

      The Corries are seeking justice, not justification.

  10. just says:

    Blessings winging their way to the Corrie family. Your angel, Rachel is with you and all of us who pray for peace and justice.

    I love and respect you and your message : “Use this trip to a deeply troubled and divided place to remind the world that Americans believe all people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Then, make this first principle of America’s existence the foundation of his foreign policy for the next four years.”

    This is precisely the truth that Mr. Obama needs to take to I/P.

    You are great humans and wonderful parents to Rachel. May she rest in the arms of angels forever and ever, with God’s gentle gaze caressing her.

  11. Cheryl says:

    February 2003
    oh rafah. aching rafah.
    aching of refugees
    aching of tumbled houses
    bicycles severed from tank-warped tires and aching of bullet-riddle homes
    all homes worm-eaten by bullets and then impregnated through bullet holes
    by birds.

    oh rafah, aching fingers of rafah.
    children born without fingers
    and fathers unable to travel the twenty or thirty miles
    to Gaza to repair their children’s fingers.
    clawed knuckles from old gunshots
    bandaged fingers
    and slimy small poking fingers between puffy lips of children
    slobbery and wondering and blinking like all children
    but fingers patting and tapping at strange big
    hands
    amidst the music of shelling
    and the constant anonymous night-vision
    telescope of murder
    above and beyond and around and even inside.
    fingers
    cracked crusts of spackle concrete fingers
    of the endless rebuilding of things crashed: home.

    home. oh rafah. aching homes of rafah. home of the rafah camp
    rafah grown permanent with the names of the countries that paid
    for the neighborhoods still attached. home of rafah unleavable.
    homes stickered with glow-in-the-dark stars in teenagers’ rooms.
    homes constructed over a lifetime and unraveled in the night.
    ache of rubble and weedy rebar craning out of concrete boulders.
    ache of ghost homes
    looming without volume without mass
    straddling this wall and this wasteland the wall demands.
    ache of dinners
    knees and haunches kneeling dinners spread over floors
    in the music of gunfire the irregular heartbeat of the border
    and living-dead homes waiting immobile
    for bulldozers and tanks and the shattering of tea glasses the bending of rebar
    the tumbling of concrete and the ejection of people: baby. grandmother.
    small girl curling her entire small hand around one big finger.
    teenage boy with teenage boy legs and teenage boy laugh ejected into rubble
    and homelessness and scattered if not killed

    oh rafah. aching rafah.
    children of rafah exploded. children of rafah deafened:
    deafened to tank wheels
    deafened to explosions
    gunshot music
    shocking claps
    drones.

    Rachel Corrie from Let Me Stand Alone The Journals of Rachel Corrie

  12. Real Jew says:

    Couldnt have said it better myself. Right on all accounts except the part where Bush is better then obama. Bush jr is by far the worst president in US history

  13. German Lefty says:

    I just found this:
    MSNBC host Alex Wagner: Fear of anti-Semitism charge inhibits ‘robust discussion’ about Israel
    MSNBC midday host Alex Wagner believes that there is an element of “trepidation” that inhibits a “robust discussion” about Israel in the American media.
    “Look at our secretary of defense’s nomination process – that was hugely incendiary and complicated in large part because of comments that he made about Israel and the power of the Jewish vote in America,” Wagner said. “To be honest, I think it’s difficult for some people to figure out how to talk about that and if they are critical, how to do so in a respectful fashion and in way that doesn’t end up being a conversation about anti-Semitism.”
    Wagner, an up-and-coming star of the left-leaning news network and the host of the daily “NOW with Alex Wagner” program, said Israel is a “very important and potent subject that people are genuinely curious about, but are perhaps not educated enough about it or are trepidatious about tackling it.”
    “I think it’s incredibly tricky to talk about this unless you are incredibly fluent on the issue and you have a nuanced and comprehensive grasp of what’s going on,” she said.
    link to haaretz.com

  14. Kathleen says:

    Just used the White House contact page to send the Corrie’s message to President Obama on. Hope you do too
    link to whitehouse.gov

  15. just says:

    And may our best spirits hold Mr. Philip Munger up for his kind and beautiful tribute and cantata to dear Rachel.

    “The Skies are Weeping”

  16. RE: “Ten years ago today American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she tried to protect a Palestinian home from demolition in Rafah, Gaza. Her death, and selfless act of heroism, has galvanized and inspired millions worldwide in the decade since her death.” ~ Adam Horowitz

    MY COMMENT: Sickeningly, “some people” actually like to blame Rachel Corrie for her own death. In particular, Mr. Daniel J. Friedman who was ‘Mr. Congeniality’ NOT at the University of Maryland at the time of Rachel Corrie’s death created an editorial cartoon for the campus newspaper that was particularly obnoxious.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Rachel Corrie]:

    [EXCERPT] . . . According to The Boston Globe, “Corrie… has been praised as a heroic martyr and denounced as a misguided, ill-informed naïf.”[50] In a review of Simone Bitton’s documentary “Rachel”, Salon noted that Corrie was subjected to “shocking verbal abuse” on right-wing bulletin boards and Web sites, including “grotesque sexual fantasies and elaborate conspiracy theories”.[51]
    Journalist and Middle East commentator Tom Gross has referred to “the cult of Rachel Corrie.” In an article called “The Forgotten Rachels” republished on his website, Gross refers to six other women called Rachel, Jewish victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict whose deaths, he wrote, received little, if any, coverage outside Israel.[52] Gross went on to argue that “Partly thanks to the efforts of Corrie and her fellow activists, the flow of explosives from Egypt into Gaza continued – and were later used to kill children in southern Israel.” The article prompted a National Review editorial arguing that “Corrie’s death was unfortunate, but more unfortunate is a Western media and cultural establishment that lionizes ‘martyrs’ for illiberal causes while ignoring the victims those causes create.”[53]
    In March 2003, the University of Maryland, College Park’s campus newspaper “The Diamondback” published an editorial cartoon by Daniel J. Friedman, depicting Rachel Corrie sitting in front of an approaching bulldozer, with two definitions of the word “stupidity” from the American Heritage Dictionary, along with an additional self-created third line “sitting in front of a bulldozer to protect a gang of terrorists,” resulting in student sit-ins and protests at the University of Maryland the Wednesday after the cartoon appeared.[54] The group Palestine Media Watch published the e-mail addresses and phone number of Diamondback editors, urging readers to contact the newspaper to secure an apology,[55] and thousands of e-mails and hundreds of phone calls were received by the paper in protest. Describing the cartoon as “indecent and anti-American,” over 60 student protesters staged a sit-in at the newspaper’s offices (with 10 staying overnight), demanding that the paper apologize and “publish an article honoring Corrie’s life”.[56] The newspaper refused to apologize, “though many staff members objected to the cartoon’s viewpoint” while “the newspaper had received thousands of e-mails and hundreds of telephone calls protesting the cartoon”, citing the First Amendment. While Friedman did not return the telephone call and e-mail by The Associated Press, editor-in-chief Jay Parsons (who had initially objected to the cartoon when it was first submitted) commented, “The decision was about freedom of speech, and that made the decision easy.”[54] . . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

  17. Taxi says:

    I love you so much, Rachel Corrie.

    Hero of a million child.

  18. MK_Ultra says:

    I can’t help but compare Rachel’s life and death to those of the underachievers, all-around losers and certified war criminals who pull the joysticks on the drones that blow innocent women and children to pieces. Yet, they are the ones being awarded medals and hailed as heroes. There is no shame in this racket on either side.

  19. JZukowski says:

    I started a petition on the White House petitions site that may help address some of this. Will you sign it? link to wh.gov