Remembering Rachel Corrie
THE CALL came at about 3 p.m. on March 16, 2003. A Caterpillar bulldozer operated by the Israeli Defense Forces was on its way to destroy another Palestinian home in Rafah, Gaza.
Rachel Corrie, an American activist, along with two other members of the International Solidarity Movement left their position defending a well in Rafah and hurried to the scene. Rachel stood directly in front of the bulldozer wearing an orange fluorescent jacket and holding a megaphone.
According to witnesses who were standing 10 to 15 meters away, the bulldozer operator could not have failed to have seen Rachel. Nevertheless, he ran over Rachel twice, crushing her to death.
On the weekend of March 16, friends and other supporters of Rachel gathered in her hometown of Olympia, Wash., to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death. On Friday night, the Olympia Film Society hosted a film by and a discussion with Fida Qishta a Palestinian journalist from Rafah and a survivor of Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-2009 attack on Gaza by the Israeli military.
On Saturday, a rally was held at a local park. Craig Corrie, Rachel's father, gave the opening address in which he connected the fight for Palestinian rights to the struggle against all oppression in the world.
"This is not just about Rachel," he said, adding that injustice exists on every continent. Other speakers pointed out that the trauma of military attacks isn't the only form of oppression in Gaza. Palestinians face an endless list of daily injustices, such as the inability to get clean drinking water.
The culmination of the rally featured a lively Arab traditional dance by a troupe of four dancers from different Middle East countries. Following the rally, additional programs were held into the evening at nearby hotel.
Participants agreed that the weekend events were an empowering way to honor Rachel's memory.