Rachel died as she lived, her short life snuffed out at age 23, her body put on the line against Israeli injustice toward Palestinians - risking death for supporting their fundamental rights, victimized by Zionist barbarism.
Thirteen years ago on March 16, a soldier-operated giant armored Caterpillar bulldozer used to smash Palestinian homes crushed her to death.
She tried stopping a Rafah refugee camp home demolition from proceeding. She tried reasoning with the driver, knelt meters away, blocking its path with her body - in clear view of its operator.
It lurched forward. Activists screamed for it to stop to no avail. It crushed Rachel’s body the way it smashes homes, at times with defenseless victims inside.
Making sure she was dead, the soldier-operator ran over her twice, remaining unaccountable for premeditated murder to this day.
Israel honors its killers, punishes their victims, wages slow-motion genocide against the entire Palestinian population.
Rachel was a pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member. She died for what she believed in passionately - peace and justice denied a long-suffering people at the hands of ruthless occupier, an Arab-hating police state showing Palestinians no mercy.
The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice continues what she began, reflecting “her vision, spirit and creative energy,” supporting fundamental “human rights and social, economic and environmental justice…prerequisites for world peace” - preserving the memory and vital work of a glorious human being, murdered for doing the right thing.
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.”
Rachel came to Gaza during the height of the second intifada, fulfilling her senior college year assignment to connect her home city of Olympia, WA to Rafah, part of a sister cities project.
She died less than two months after arriving during a peaceful demonstration for justice.
ISM eyewitness activist Joe Carr recounted what happened, saying:
“Still wearing her fluorescent jacket, she knelt down at least 15 meters in front of the bulldozer, and began waving her arms and shouting, just as activists had successfully done dozens of times that day…”
“When it got so close that it was moving the earth beneath her, she climbed onto the pile of rubble being pushed by the bulldozer…”
“Her head and upper torso were above the bulldozer’s blade, and the bulldozer operator and co-operator could clearly see her. Despite this, the operator continued forward, which caused her to fall back, out of view of the driver.”
“He continued forward, and she tried to scoot back, but was quickly pulled underneath the bulldozer. We ran towards him, and waved our arms and shouted, one activist with the megaphone.”
“But the bulldozer operator continued forward until Corrie was all the way underneath (its) central section,” too late to save her body from being crushed.
An Israeli investigation whitewashed the crime. Legal battles in Israeli rubber-stamp courts up to its highest ended in failure - absolving its defense ministry on grounds of performing “wartime activity,” ignoring the high crime of cold-blood murder, an Israeli specialty.
Rachel’s dedication to justice and humility showed 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.”
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