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kiota and rachel

When I left Boston for Olympia it was mainly to find out some things about Rachel.
It was easy to set up the trip because there were book events on 4/8 downtown and 4/9 on campus, where Rachel had been a student and Kiota was also: R a senior, K a freshman. It was easy because the book events were definite and planned.

Rachel Corrie was a Palestinian Rights Activist who had been killed in Gaza in 2003 doing what she believed in --- defending human rights of civilians in a war zone.

I wanted to get all the sense I could about why Rachel had decided that she needed to get an in-your-face perspective on the situation of the families whose lives are being destroyed. I got some clues about why she had decided: I met her bookstore manager at Orca, the staff there; her sister, mother, faculty adviser, one of her teachers, students who had known and worked with her in Olympia. This wasn't just saying Hi, it was getting into discussions. Of course if this was all just about buying a book, I could have done that at a New York appearance or just gone downtown to Borders for 50 cents on the bus. Or to Amazon.

It wouldn't have been the same.

The family wanted to share Rachel's writing, artwork, journaling, in their new book, more of her life, because as they said, the world knows how Rachel died and we know how she lived her life as an artist. That's more important to share now.

I didn't actually know, really, if Ki would even be there, or available: one day, one message, one day, another. Possible that she had dropped out, been suspended, gone on a field trip, whatever. College here and there in the middle of a forest. Things get loose. So I had a "backup" plan for 4/10 and 4/11 in case she didn't turn up.

So our meetings turned out to be amazing and kaleidoscopic and insightful, and they are still keeping all their own joys even if April 13 had never happened.

Ki was even asked, many times, how she felt about the conflict at home: the answer was all the same, she was against terrorism and against governments taking life in any form but didn't feel really connected to the conflict --- even though she had grown up in the West Bank.

I remember her explaining to me back in 2005 why she needed to take bulletproof buses to get around in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv -- and the one time she was really freaked out was when a drive-by shooting had taken place which killed three people -- two twentysomething women and an eleven-year-old boy, all Israelis -- at the very same bus stop where she always picked up her ride into town, it is called Gush Etzion and it's located next to an empty army checkpoint. She had missed the trip that day on the bus they all were waiting for. One of the women had the same last name as hers. Common in Israel, sure. Coincidence. She never wrote about it again.

Honoring Kiota's creative work will be as important to us as honoring Rachel's is to her family. I wrote about going to Olympia to find out .. well, whatever I was supposed to find out as a new direction in my personal life. And I did.

It's comforting to me, beyond belief, that we shared some art time together --- talking about figure drawing and sharing ideas about some of her sketches which she [shyly] showed me, then next day going back to the store to buy more art supplies for the class --- amazing how fast charcoal pencils wear down --- all of which had NOTHING to do with talking about rape survivorship, pain, suicide, loneliness, all of the above.

She wants me to remember that. For me. To share with you too.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
kala_ayule
Apr. 22nd, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad she was able to enjoy her art, at least. Thanks for sharing.
silverplate88
Apr. 22nd, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kala. It's two of us doing the sharing.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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kiota too late for the stars
silverplate88
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