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News and reports

March 31, 2006 | Page 11

Remember Rachel Corrie
By Brian Jones

NEW YORK--About 1,000 people gathered at Riverside Church in Harlem March 22 to protest the cancellation of a play based on the letters of an American activist murdered in Palestine.

My Name is Rachel Corrie came here after a critically acclaimed run in London last year. But earlier this month, the producers abruptly "postponed" the production, citing the concerns of "certain communities."

From the moment she set foot in Palestine, Rachel Corrie's letters to friends and family in the U.S. burned with outrage and horror at the slow genocide being committed against the indigenous population. In 2003, an Israeli bulldozer crushed Rachel to death as she stood in its path attempting to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.

Organizers brought together artists and activists to speak out against the silencing of this powerful voice for justice. James Zogby, Amy Goodman, Anthony Arnove, Suheir Hammad and countless others spoke eloquently about the meaning of Rachel's work, the role of Israel's occupation in America's imperial designs and the struggle of the Palestinian people for justice. The audience was treated to videotaped statements by Maya Angelou, Eve Ensler, Patti Smith and others.

Most of the audience remained riveted to the three-and-a-half-hour program and were moved to tears by the passionate speeches given by Rachel's parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie.

By video, a remarkably articulate 10-year-old Rachel spoke to the audience about the need to identify with the poor and oppressed all over the world. In Rachel's words, "they are us, and we are them."

Protest Ann Coulter
By Erika Claich

CHICAGO--More than 250 people rallied at Loyola University March 23 to protest Ann Coulter, Fox News' bigot extraordinaire, and Loyola's decision to pay her more than $20,000 for her appearance.

Coulter is a right-wing nut notorious for racist diatribes against Arabs and Muslims. "Conventions of civilized behavior, personal hygiene and grooming are inapplicable when Muslims are involved," Coulter once said.

The "Counter-Coulter Rally and Rebuttal" brought students and other activists from the city together under the banner Chicago United Against Hate, with more than 14 student groups signing on to organize the event, including the Loyola Coalition Against Bigotry, Loyola Antiwar Network, Muslim Student Association and Hillel.

"This rally is more significant than any hate speech or one person," said Megan Burke, an organizer of the event. "We are not about dividing the student body--we are about uniting in opposition to racism and hate. Chicago will not tolerate [Coulter's] marginalization of Muslims, women, LGBT, people of color and the poor."

After the rally, activists went to the site of Coulter's speech to confront her directly. Speaking of liberals, she said, "They're always trying to act like they're oppressed, so let's oppress them...let's burn their books," and she spoke about "how to make Howard Dean's death look like an accident."

Some students turned their backs on Coulter to show their opposition while others heckled her and loudly chanted "Ann, you're a racist!" Coulter's thugs, at her request, ousted several protestors, three of whom were arrested and charged with misdemeanors. The meeting was thoroughly disrupted and Coulter was forced to leave the stage during the question-and-answer session.

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