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only yesterday

Yesterday I watched a father lead his two tiny children out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded. I was terrified to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house. I was really scared that they were all going to be shot.

If any of us back in the USA had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy [our livelihoods] --- do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained?

...I really value words. I really try to illustrate and let people draw their own conclusions.

:Rachel Corrie, 23, American ISM activist in Rafah.
Seventeen days later she would be dead.

================

Sections of her E-mails have been painted into artwork panels by Peter Schumann, the German-American artist / actor / musician and founder of The Bread and Puppet Theater. The major feature of each of the five panels are five larger-than-life sculptures of Rachel's corpse surrounded by her words in dripping red paint. With Peter and his crew, I helped set up the installation for a current citywide art show we are having here.

Regardless of where our audiences fall on the political / religious spectrum of responses to the Israel - Palestine problems [and they fall everywhere, let me tell you] --- it is a profoundly powerful emotional experience to engage with the presences of a girl who at ten committed herself to end world hunger and who developed into a woman who risked her life for what she believed in, and gave it.

Death by accident or by IDF crime is not my point.

Commitment is.

Although Rachel said "I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers", she was haunted by doubts that she couldn't effectively communicate to those in her family who grew up in a "life of privilege" who never did -- or would -- experience the world of fear and want and hunger she was plunging herself into. There's just a perception barrier there for millions of Americans --- including, I suppose, me too.

For example, I'm sitting inside a $500-million dollar medical building writing this ... five minutes away from lots of cheap good food ... thinking of millions of hungry families with children, some of whom will die tonight ... thinking of that with some pain, with some empathy, and a full tummy.

Much of her life and doubt has been dramatized in the show "My Name Is Rachel Corrie", produced in London, New York, Olympia [Washington State, USA], and elsewhere. She was hardly a Saint Joan galloping around on horseback wearing chainmail. "I am really scared for the people here." Of whom, of course, she was one.

And that is also what deserves to be honored and remembered about Rachel.

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