Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie whose life ended abruptly on March 16, 2003.
Rachel was a young lady with a passionate heart for the poor and oppressed throughout the world. As you will hear in a short speech she gave back when she was only in 5th grade, Rachel Corrie obviously had a deep calling and empathy for children living in poverty and the cruelties of war.
At the age of 23, this college student from Olympia, Washington ventured to the Gaza strip with an international peace organization known as Solidarity International. While there, she learned and wrote back home about the oppression of the Palestinian people and their deplorable living conditions in what has often been described as the largest open-air prison in the world.
She was welcomed by the people and made many friends as she learned, experienced and briefly lived within the other side of the story of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The illegal settlements that continue to be built by the Israeli government are in bold defiance of international agreements. How these settlements are able to be built has long been achieved by the sheer might of bulldozers coming into lawful Palestinian neighborhoods with the heavily armed Israeli Army and literally demolishing their homes while Palestinians are still lawfully inhabiting them.
Rachel had become close to a Palestinian Doctor, his wife and their three children. It was this family's home that she was trying to protect on that tragic day. Clothed in bright-colored clothes, she stood in front of the bulldozer in an attempt to stop the illegal demolition of their home. The Israeli soldier would not stop even though she was making her presence known and trying to stop the bulldozer from destroying the home. When it was clear that the soldier seemed to have no intention of stopping, Rachel tried to get away from it to safety and was not able to. She was not only run over the first time but the driver had stopped, backed up and ran over her a second time according to witnesses and video footage of the tragic event. When bystanders were able to get to her, she was still alive and transported to the hospital. Rachel Corrie was pronounced dead shortly upon her arrival.
Two days before her tragic death, she gave an interview to Middle Eastern Broadcasting Company about the horrors she witnessed throughout her stay in Rafah, Gaza and can be viewed here. It did not at all paint a rosy picture of the Israeli government's actions in the region.
Throughout the years, her parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie have made numerous attempts to urge Congress to open-up an independent investigation into their daughter's death. Congress has refused. They eventually brought a civil suit against the Israeli government. In a photo in the slideshow is the reaction of her parents upon hearing the verdict in that case which was delivered on August 28, 2012. The court ruled that Israel was supposedly not responsible for Rachel's death and called it a "regrettable accident."
Although Rachel Corrie may not have accomplished her dream of ending children's hunger while alive, through her death she has touched millions of people around the world with her passionate pleas for peace. Her heroic efforts to try to stop injustice of the oppressed will obviously be remembered for many years to come.
Her story has been retold in the play, "My Name is Rachel Corrie." It has been surrounded by controversy in a likely attempt to try to keep her story buried for the sake of inconvenient political correctness. What a shame.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.