It continues to strike me as a sign of the great sickness of America that Rachel Corrie is not remembered, except by those who mock her.
She had a true story of heroism, and it is ignored, or spat on and distorted—this tells you the American heart.
Look at Jessica Lynch (born in *Palestine,* WV). The Military Media Complex tried to make a *star* out of her. . .Jessica Lynch, a wrong turn in an ugly, pointless war. . .and the Military Media Complex tried to make her into a Princess Warrior—because they have set the American heart on violence.
It would be fair to say Rachel Corrie died in vain—but how will most of us die?
If not in shame, perhaps we will die in utter insignificance. . .70, 80, 90 years old, useless eaters, who accepted everything without question, in exchange for a comfortable, trifling existence? Perhaps dying in a *nursing* home, as an amusement for the next generation of useless eaters?
Of course, if she died without Christ, the difference is merely aesthetic. No, not *merely* aesthetic. . .*only* aesthetic. At least there was some art to her life. Rachel Corrie had the good taste to die young and fit, living a romantic adventure, while most of us will live long gray lives. Picture the Western masses as sheeple choked in a long, long runway, slowly inching toward death.
I did this interview with a friend of Rachel Corrie’s five years ago:
For those unfamiliar with the events of 16 March 2003 here is a summary, recently written by Rachel's cousin Elizabeth Corrie:
On March 16, 2003, an Israeli soldier and his commander ran over Rachel with a nine-ton Caterpillar bulldozer while she stood - unarmed, clearly visible in her orange fluorescent jacket - protecting a Palestinian home slated for demolition by the Israeli army. The death of Rachel Corrie, and the response that her case has - and has not - received, reveal several disturbing, indeed immoral and criminal, truths.
First, Rachel died while attempting to prevent the demolition of a home, a common practice of the Israeli Army's collective punishment that has left more than 12,000 Palestinians homeless since the beginning of the second uprising in September 2000. This practice violates international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Second, Rachel was run over by a Caterpillar bulldozer, manufactured in the United States and sent to Israel as part of the regular U.S. aid package to Israel, which amounts to $3 billion to $4 billion annually, all of it from U.S. taxpayers. The use of Caterpillar bulldozers to destroy civilian homes, not to mention to run over unarmed human rights activists, violates U.S. law, including the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits the use of military aid against civilians.
Third, the self-acquittal of the Israeli army for Rachel's death and the resistance of the state of Israel to an independent investigation into this case reveals both the Sharon administration's unwillingness to take responsibility for the death of a U.S. citizen and the Bush administration's cowardice in allowing another nation to attack U.S. citizens with impunity.
The sickness of Amerika is reflected very well in the shabby treatment of the Corrie death. The corporate media and the government swept the ugly crime under the rug. . .the fringe media that commented on the case did so mainly to mock the poor 23 year old girl. . .a true hero. . .a young woman who honorably represented her country. The reprobates who insulted the bravery of Corrie shamefully smeared the victim. . .they tried to shift the focus from Corrie's murder to Corrie's *treason*. . .and what were Corrie's great treasonous crimes? A photograph was discovered which showed Corrie burning a fake American flag at a protest rally, and she dared to play a female David to the zionist Goliath. For this, the reprobates reasoned, Corrie deserved to die. . .and to have memory of her scorned.
But let us not to belabor the seamy religious/political implications of the slander of Rachel Corrie. . .why further dignify these sordid calumnies by giving them additional consideration? Better to remind readers of what the Lord Jesus Christ said:
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. . .
Of course, Rachel Corrie was not perfect. . .no one is. . .yet it is apparent she was an increasingly rare person of conviction. .. .and decided to follow her beliefs to their bitter end. For this, 7000 miles from her home, she was treated like a pile of garbage that needed to be cleared from the path of destruction.
Let it not be thus in America. . .so I emailed a young artist who knew Rachel. . .let his memory of her be heard above the din of slander:
Question: How did you meet Rachel Corrie? What was it about her that you found attractive?
Josh Simmons: I met Rachel when I moved to Olympia, Wa. in the fall of 1997, I believe. She was attending Evergreen, and I lived right next to the school for a little while, so we'd go to the same parties, knew the same people and so on. She was a pretty girl, in a kinda off-kilter way, I've always liked girls who were attractive in a kinda strange way.....She was pretty wild back then, drinking a lot and running around naked and talking about how she was gonna save the world and write the great american novel and all this....
I'm sort of a grumpy bitch, so sometimes I find myself attracted to people who are really outgoing and exuberant and curious about a lot of things....Although I never much cared for her whole activism angle on things, or activists in general, I gotta say, she sure wasn't half-assed about it, and that I do admire. Even back then when she was running around half-crazed and just seemed like any young girl who didn't know what she wanted to do with her life, she was still volunteering her time and really involved with social issues, it seemed, I don't know, I was mostly just interested in her romantically.
Question: People who know of Corrie only through the events of her death might assume she was a *fanatic radical* who lived and breathed political activism 24 hours a day. . .can you recall any specific anecdotes that would soften this image? For example, did she have a Chris Cornell poster on her bedroom wall?
Josh Simmons: The thing about her though, this image people have of her as a fanatic or radical is just ridiculous. Couldn't be further from the truth. I mean she always had her beliefs and all, but she was just a funny, crazy girl when I knew her. We'd both make sick jokes and so on, she definitely wasn't some uptight nelly, preaching at people left and right for any supposed transgression. I think, although a lot of it did seem a little naive to me at the time, she ultimately had the right attitude about being an activist.
No Chris Cornell poster, she was into surrealist painters, and books like 100 Years of Solitude and Milan Kundera and some other purple prosed type stuff, most of which I don't really care for, but it beats reading romance novels or some shit. Anyway, I was pretty infatuated with the girl for a while, but she was just too scattered and running around kissing other boys and stuff, so I left town.
Question: No one acts out of a purely altruistic motivation. .. .do you have any idea why she would leave the comfort of the soft American life and go to Palestine to help those poor people? For example, did she read too many Joe Sacco comics?
Josh Simmons: She probably did read a few too many Joe Sacco comics, Noam Chomsky tracts, whatever....And even though she didn't have perhaps the most common sense in the world for heading over to a war zone, a skinny, strange white girl who grew up in a relatively sheltered, stable home and environment (I grew to hate Olympia and it's liberal misguided gay softness), what she did took balls, and I respect that. Whereas 95% of peoples will never do anything with their lives that requires a tenth of the courage it took to do what she did, she put herself at risk, and I like to think, at least, that she had a somewhat "meaningful" death, or an exciting one anyway!!
I don't really care for the whole martyr thing, and I don't mean to sound crass or glib, but while most folks are just gonna whither away living their safe little lives and get gobbled up by cancer and old age and liver disease and so on, Rachel got murdered by a bulldozer of the Israeli army. All politics and my personal attachment aside, I just find that really absurd. And kind of admirable.
Question: I am sure there are some who suspect Corrie of anti-Semitism. . .did you ever detect any trace of anti-Semitism in her?
Josh Simmons: Anti-semitism? Of course not, that's fucking ridiculous, just the sort of spin the media might put on it. I've read enough about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to see for myself why it's depicted certain ways and who it benefits to put it that way. I've read the Sacco comics, and I read an article in Reader's Digest recently wherein the Palestinians are depicted purely as the "enemy", the "other", "terrorists", with no agenda other than that they hate freedom and freedom-loving peoples, or some such other Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader fairy tale like the chimp who "runs" our country would have us believe.
Question: Corrie is mocked by some as naive, a stooge of terrorists. . .others revere her as a heroic, even saintly defender of the weak and oppressed. . .from what you know of Corrie, do you find one of these extreme views to be closer to the truth than the other?
Josh Simmons: The two extremes you mention, Rachel as a stooge of terrorists, and as a heroic defender of the weak and oppressed, both seem pretty far off to me....She was just a girl who had some ideas about how she felt people should be treated, and did her best to bring that about in the world. She came from something of a position of privilege, where she had the luxury to do that, but that beats acting completely selfish and disgusting, as people are wont to do, wouldn't you say?
Question: How did the news of her death affect you?
Josh Simmons: I learned of her death when a mutual friend's mother called to tell me, just completely in tears and broken up....at first I didn't know which Rachel she meant, I was sort of confused and had just woken up, so the whole thing was just pretty unpleasant. Of course I was pretty upset by it, but to be honest I hadn't spent too much time with the girl since I'd lived in Oly 5 or 6 years previous. We'd kept in touch though, and I'd see her maybe once a year or two, and had spent a week or so with her the summer of 2002. It was hard, but there was some distance there......
Thanks to Josh Simmons for putting a human face on the martyr Rachel Corrie. . .from Josh's words, we see a Rachel Corrie who obviously enjoyed life, had youthful exuberance. . .maybe an American wild child. . .yet she had the ability to empathize. . .as Josh wrote:
She was just a girl who had some ideas about how she felt people should be treated, and did her best to bring that about in the world. She came from something of a position of privilege, where she had the luxury to do that, but that beats acting completely selfish and disgusting, as people are wont to do, wouldn't you say?
Yes, I would say so. . .and let Josh’s words serve as a reminder, at least to the few who will stop and read, that this girl (not an angel, nor an example of perfection, but a flawed human being), used non-violent tactics to try to help those less fortunate than herself. . .and that, even though her charity was likely as imperfect as herself, she deserves to be remembered kindly for her noble ambitions. . .and not as garbage fit only for contempt.